Here are some great tips for the nurse that is starting to feel a little burned out. I think it happens to all of us at times! The hours are sometimes long and intense, but we enjoy our rewarding career. How do you avoid becoming too exhausted from this high pressure job? Jessica from Vive Health shares a few of her thoughts.
Top Four Self-Care Tips for Nurses
Recent studies show that two-thirds of nurses have considered quitting their job because it’s so stressful.
There’s no question that nursing is a stressful profession, and it’s clearly taking a toll on the women and men who dedicate their days (or nights) to serving others. That’s why self-care for nurses is so necessary.
Read on to learn more about the importance of self-care for nurses and learn some simple strategies that nurses can apply to their daily lives.
Why Self-Care Matters for Nurses
There are a number of reasons why nurses need to prioritize self-care, including the following:
- Reduced stress and improved stress management to prevent exhaustion and burnout
- Enhanced patient care
- Improved safety and fewer mistakes
Self-care is also listed in the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics. The fifth tenet states that nurses owe the same duties to themselves as they provide for others.
Simple Self-Care Tips for Nurses
It’s easy to talk about the importance of self-care for nurses, but it’s harder to actually put it into practice. Below are four simple self-care tips that nurses can implement to reduce their stress levels.
1. Sneak in Exercise
As a busy nurse, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. How are you supposed to fit in a workout when you’re busy running around the hospital, travel route, or doctor’s office all day?
A formal workout might not be possible on days that you work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to sneak in some extra exercise. Some easy ways to do this include:
- Parking farther away from your office
- Taking the stairs whenever possible
- Doing bodyweight exercises like lunges, squats, or calf raise s on your bathroom breaks
During some of your breaks, be sure to also take opportunities to stretch. Nurses often experience a lot of muscle pain and stiffness, and stretching can be great for loosening up tight muscles and relieving tension.
2. Get Outside
Even if you only have five minutes, take those five minutes to step outside, feel the sunshine on your skin, and breathe in some fresh air.
Spending time outside has been proven to relieve stress, boost attentiveness, and foster a calmer attitude which can help you especially on particularly busy days.
If you can’t get outside during your shift, try eating your lunch outside for some peace and quiet instead of heading to a crowded, dimly lit break room. Or, spend a few minutes standing out in the fresh air before you get in your car to head home.
3. Fuel Your Body Properly
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can work wonders for nurses who are feeling stressed out and on edge. You may think you don’t have time to eat healthily, but remember that fueling your body properly is one of the simplest forms of self-care you can practice.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated, either. An easy way to start is to simply focus on including protein and fresh fruits and veggies at every meal. That could be hard boiled eggs on a salad or baked chicken with a side of roasted broccoli and cauliflower.
In addition to helping you avoid weight gain, a healthy diet will also provide you with more consistent energy and allow you to make it through your shift without facing a crash halfway through.
4. Just Breathe
Finally, the easiest thing you can do to practice self-care at work is to make a conscious effort to breathe more deeply. Deep breathing -- whether you practice a specific style or simply take five deep breaths -- can help reduce stress and improve your ability to handle difficult tasks.
The best part, though, is that you can do this anywhere, at any time. Even in the midst of a crisis, reminding yourself to breathe will help you keep a clear head and provide patients with the best level of care possible.
Self-care is a must for nurses and fortunately, it doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to take a spa vacation to practice self-care. All you have to do is take a moment (or even a few seconds) to prioritize yourself and do something that benefits you.
Jessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living healthy lifestyle. Through her writing she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others.