Working as a nurse is mentally taxing and can be quite challenging physically. Nurses strive to keep their patients healthy, but ironically, they are usually overworked, stressed, and physically drained. Most of their day is spent moving from one ward or room to another. Their job involves a considerable amount of walking, lifting objects, even patients, and standing on their feet. In addition, most of their time in the hospital is spent making critical decisions, diagnosing, and treating patients.
The amount of physical and mental exertion can take a toll on their health. Working for hours on end drains their energy, leaving no time for them to take care of themselves. But nurses must understand that they cannot take care of their patients if they neglect their health and well-being. In addition, overworking and weariness can increase the rate of error and ultimately impact their productivity.
So, if you are a stressed-out nurse who doesn’t know how to prioritize taking care of yourself, these tips can help you stay fit.
- Take some time out for yourself
Being fit includes physical fitness and mental clarity. Nurses spend most of their time with their peers in the hospital. Though they learn from each other, they also need to engage with people outside their workplace. With online education in full swing, most nurses are enrolled in remote schools and continue their education through online MSN programs, so they don’t find the time to interact with people other than the hospital. Hanging out with friends and family and cultivating healthy relations can significantly improve your mental health. And improving your mental health is always the first step to making lifestyle changes to stay physically fit.
- Make yoga a part of your routine
Yoga has tremendous health effects. After a long 12-hour shift, you need some physical activity to release knots in your muscles and rejuvenate your body and mind. Yoga promises to give you exactly that. In addition, research shows that yoga can improve your mood and cognitive functions, boost your immune system, uplift your spirits, and reduce stress.
Yoga can increase the flexibility of your muscles and improve muscle strength. This will directly help with the physical nature of work in the hospital. With a twenty-minute yoga regime added to your daily routine, your body will be prepared to fulfill your job duties at work.
- Include some fun cardio
Nurses need cardio activities to strengthen their heart health and manage their workload. Walking briskly and running between the rooms during an emergency is part of their work. And let’s be honest, a nurse might be walking for miles during just one shift.
Though dedicating some time for cardio does not mean running on a treadmill for hours on end, you can make it fun. You can indulge in hobbies like swimming, hiking, cycling, martial art, etc., as they are a more fun alternative than the boring walk or running on a treadmill. All your focus gets diverted away from stressful work at the hospital during these activities. They can also clear your mind.
- Eat the right food
Eating the right food is indispensable for staying healthy. But, even more, important is to take out time amidst work and have a proper meal. Skipping your meals might be why you feel sluggish, tired, and sleepy.
Start your day with a healthy breakfast. When you skip breakfast, you experience hunger pangs and crave unhealthy food. A healthy breakfast will give you the energy to face the day with all your energy. Eating healthy must not end at breakfast; instead, it must be adhered to throughout the day.
The best way to eat healthy food is by bringing home-cooked lunch. Take a balanced diet that includes veggies, fruits, protein, and carbs. Make sure to eliminate processed food from your diet. But, that doesn’t mean you can indulge in the usual treat meal. Even if it is impossible to eliminate unhealthy foods, reduce them to the least amount. Also, do not munch on sugary calorie-laden snacks that give you no benefit but only harm. Foods that can increase your stamina include oatmeal, chicken, eggs, meat, fruits, veggies, dairy, etc.
- Stay hydrated
Water is absolutely essential for your health. Water keeps you hydrated, rejuvenates your body, and improves your body functions. Water intake also improves blood flow. The best way to include water in your routine is by keeping a water bottle by your side. A water bottle by your side eliminates your excuse of taking time and going to the water dispenser.
- Stay motivated
You can’t get the rewards of your efforts if you don’t stay motivated or stick to it for some time. To stay motivated, you must do something that you like and enjoy doing. For instance, if someone likes exercising more than yoga, the latter must not be practiced half-heartedly as a punishment. Some of you may like dancing and Zumba; others might prefer running on the treadmill and watching their favorite show.
Another way to stick to your fitness regime is to have a fitness buddy. You can ask another nurse from the workplace and make the team. Working out is more exciting and fun when you are not alone. Time seems to pass very quickly too. Having a friend who shares the same views regarding fitness is helpful because you can encourage each other and stay motivated.
Another way is to develop goals and work to achieve them. For example, it could be covering certain miles in a day or doing some number of lunges or planks. You can also make long-term goals like losing some extra pounds. Whatever goals you make should be attainable; otherwise, you will quickly get disappointed.
Nurses are tasked with taking care of others. But to be fit for their job, they need to take care of themselves too. Having a healthy work routine that includes physical exercise, having meals on time, and spending time with your family can bring positive changes in the life of a nurse. If you feel like you don’t have enough time to dedicate to being fit and healthy, start with these tips to make small lifestyle changes and observe the difference they can make to your mental and physical health.