Nursing is one of the most prestigious and rewarding careers in healthcare. As a frontline worker, you get the opportunity to improve the lives of several patients while building a secure future for yourself.
Undoubtedly, the financial rewards, job satisfaction, and security that come with a career in nursing are worthwhile.
However, rewarding jobs tend to be demanding as well. As a result, nurses carry a tremendous burden of responsibility while following a tough schedule that gives them little time to take care of themselves.
From taking care of patients to managing healthcare facilities, nurses perform countless tasks throughout the day. However, this can be detrimental to their overall well-being, often leading to burnout.
So, before you begin to take care of your patients, it’s crucial to make sure you’re fit enough to do so. To help you pursue a successful nursing career, here are five tips to stay fit and healthy.
Continue your education
Nursing is an evolving field. With rapid research in the healthcare sector, new and more efficient nursing practices are added over time. Without keeping up with your job, you might start to face difficulties taking care of your responsibilities. Therefore, it’s best to continue your education. Doing so will allow you to handle your career more effectively, reducing workload and job stress. Additionally, gaining further education can refresh your passion for nursing, saving you from a lack of motivation and burnout.
But most importantly, nurses with higher qualifications enjoy better careers that are much less demanding. For example, RNs experience more job difficulty than nurses with degrees such as an MSN or DNP. Online courses are the perfect solution to this problem, as they allow you to learn at your own pace. So, pursue an RN to BSN online degree to upskill flexibly without exhausting yourself.
Sleep well to stay fit and healthy
As mentioned earlier, nurses follow a challenging work schedule. To take care of patients effectively, they are often required to work throughout the night and can be called to work at any time. In such a situation, it’s essential to fulfill your body’s sleeping needs. Without doing so, you will not only harm your physical health, but your mental health will also be at risk. After a tough day of work, it’s a good night’s rest that helps repair and refresh your mind and body and help you stay fit and healthy.
As a result, as a sleep-deprived nurse, you will experience fatigue at work while being unable to make important decisions for patients because of a poorly functioning brain. Consequently, you will be more likely to make mistakes and put patients at risk, leading to increased work stress that can be detrimental to your health.
So, in order to stay fit and healthy for your job, it’s best to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each day. However, as a nurse, it can often be tough to sleep at night because of demanding schedules. If you’re in such a situation, you can always change your sleeping schedule and find the right time for rest. Additionally, you can also take naps during breaks at work.
Maintain a work-life balance
While pursuing their professional lives, nurses often forget to give attention to their personal lives because of the highly demanding nature of their careers. However, spending too much time at work can result in several issues in your personal life that can affect your overall well-being. For instance, overprioritizing work can often lead to poor relationships with family and friends, leading to social isolation and depression. 1 in 5 nurses in the US relies on drugs and alcohol to cope with job stress and depression. Additionally, overworking without reserving time for yourself will increase stress and fatigue, leading to musculoskeletal disorders and severe mental issues. What’s more concerning is that such issues can easily lead to burnout.
You can avoid being in such a situation by maintaining a work-life balance. While you need to work hard for your job, you should never do so at the expense of your personal life. Follow a strict schedule for work and reserve time to spend with friends or family. You can also focus on your hobbies and other passions every few weeks.
Stay Fit and Healthy with Exercise
From assisting patients with mobility to handling heavy medical equipment, nurses perform various physically intense tasks throughout the day. Not to mention, they are given limited time to rest as patients need constant care. As a result, several nurses experience extreme physical exhaustion, leading to chronic pain and musculoskeletal disorders. As much as 73% of nurses have developed musculoskeletal disorders. More importantly, physical issues can hurt your mental health by limiting your job performance.
So, as a nurse, you must enhance your physical endurance and easily cope with the physically demanding tasks you face in your career. For this purpose, performing regular exercise should be your top priority to stay fit and healthy. Even exercising for half an hour daily can help you keep your body physically fit.
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Follow a healthy diet
Due to the nature of their careers, nurses often don’t have enough time to fulfill their body’s nutritional needs. As a result, they often begin to rely on fast food that only serves to fill an empty stomach rather than provide nutrition. Following such a diet can be incredibly harmful to your body as it’s high in fat, sugar, sodium, and other damaging substances. While you may not experience the effects instantly, a poor diet will result in weakness and mental fatigue, making you prone to feeling job stress and exhaustion.
So, if you want to stay fit and healthy, it’s essential to adopt a healthy diet. A balanced diet containing various nutritional sources such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products is best for this purpose. To stay active, have a proper meal each day before going to work. Furthermore, you can also pack your food to work and eat quick meals during breaks.
Undoubtedly, pursuing nursing as a career is one of the best decisions one can take for a successful professional life. However, overlooking self-care as a nurse can make things incredibly tough and lead to serious health issues that can even harm your personal life. Therefore, it’s crucial to make your health a priority as a nurse and take care of yourself and your patients. So, keep in mind the tips mentioned above for a healthy life and a successful career.