Being a nurse is tough. It’s not only demanding emotionally and mentally, but it is much more physically demanding than many people imagine. Nurses often have to lift heavy patients, walk and even run during shifts for miles, and may sometimes have to restrain patients.
The thing is that many nurses care more about the health of their patients than their own. They end up making poor lifestyle choices as a result. This could not only affect their health but how well they can perform their functions. Let’s take a look at a few health and fitness tips all nurses should follow.
Get the Sleep that You Deserve
The very first thing you need to do as a nurse is get as much quality sleep as you can. Sleep is vital to life, and you will survive longer without food than you will without sleeping. So, you have to make sure that your habits and environment areas are as conducive to sleep as possible.
That means that you will need to adopt a strict sleeping routine every night. You need to get to bed at the same time every night if your schedule allows for it. You also need to make sure that you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night.
If you work the night shift, we suggest you invest in black-out curtains. If you live somewhere that experiences high temperatures, make sure that you have AC and that the temperature in the room is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is important for people who heat their houses during the winter.
Also, you need to stop watching TV or any screen for at least two hours before going to sleep. This is because electronic appliances emit a special type of light that will trip your body’s internal clock. You should try to cover or eliminate any screen you have in your room, even if it’s an alarm clock. And, if you need something to help you sleep, we suggest you switch to recordings instead.
The fuel you put in your body will also be very important. Not only will it help you have enough energy for your shifts, but it will also allow you to focus better, and also react better to stress. For example, coffee might not be the best option for a nurse. While it can be a nice pick me up, you will eventually crash and need more. Not to mention that it can make you more irritable and more vulnerable to stress.
Instead, you want to provide your body with a steady supply of energy. This is done by consuming a lot of complex carbs. Things like whole grain bread, brown rice, and fruits that are high in fiber are all examples of complex carbs. This will give your body and brain the energy it needs to work long hours.
You also have to make sure that you get plenty of healthy protein. Protein will allow your muscles to perform better and you’ll feel less fatigue over time. More importantly, they will give you mental focus and clarity while allowing you to cope with stress better.
Have a Workout Routine
If you aren’t working out right now, you need to start immediately. This is another thing that will allow you to reduce your overall stress levels. But what it could do is help you do your work better and with less effort. When you have a strong body, you are able to stay on your feet much longer. Lifting people becomes less difficult, and you’ll have more overall strength and endurance. You’ll also have a better posture which will reduce the chances of developing aches and you’ll be less prone to injury.
As you are probably getting more than enough cardio work during your shifts, we suggest you focus most of your efforts on strength training exercises during your sessions. These are what will give you the boost you need. Anything that will work your core, posterior chain, and upper body will work here.
Squats are one of the best exercises to build core strength, but also endurance. This will help you walk great distances without feeling tired. Deadlifts are also great for lifting and developing overall strength. Other exercises you need to perform include reverse lunges, barbell rows, and the shoulder press.
Consider Switching Positions
Another thing you should do is see if your current position is too demanding for you and consider making a switch. You could ask to be moved to another unit, for instance, or you could try to get more qualifications so you can work in a less demanding role.
One option could be to go for an online degree while you’re currently working. You could look at online pediatric nurse practitioner programs like those Baylor University offers. You’ll be able to get your qualifications at your own pace and the chance to work in a much easier field. You won’t have to deal with as much heavy lifting and working with children is not as physically exhausting as adults. You’ll also be able to enjoy more stable schedules as well, which will benefit your overall health.
Make Sure to Save Time for Yourself
Your mental health is also very important, and you have to use all the resources that are available to you. If you’re feeling like you’re on the brink of burnout, then you need to contact your health and wellness services immediately.
Another thing you have to do is learn how to separate your work duties and your life. The best way to do this is to focus on yourself and yourself only during downtimes. Take on a hobby, or take that time to do something you actually like. Make sure that the people around you respect that time as well.
If you’re a nurse, you need to invest in your health if you want to enjoy a long and fruitful career. It will also affect how well you perform and how enjoyable your shifts will be.