5 Ways Nurses Can Stay Fit While Working A Hectic Schedule

Nurses have demanding jobs that require them to work long hours. However, working on the front lines offers fantastic rewards and life-changing experiences. Additionally, after working tirelessly, they get frequently stressed and anxious. They often ignore their self-care while focusing on their patients. Nurses must take out time to look after their physical and emotional health. If they are to care for their patients, they must first care for themselves.

American Nurses Association (ANA) defines nursing as a caring-based practice in which processes of diagnosis and treatment are applied to human experiences of health and illness. The nursing process includes assessment, diagnosis, planning/outcomes, intervention, and evaluation. The nursing process is at the core of all nursing acts. It’s worth mentioning that the nursing process was initially designed to care for individuals but has subsequently extended to incorporate family and community care. Nurses are involved in healthcare research, management, and patient advocacy daily. 

Nurses play a vital role in the healthcare industry. Caring for patients, communicating with doctors, administering medicine, checking vital signs, and providing emotional support to patients and their families are just some of their responsibilities. Nurses are just as, if not more, responsible for patient care than doctors. Some nurses may have fixed working hours, and others may not. Those in hospitals may be required to work ten to twelve hours a day and sometimes even work the night shift. 

They are in high demand, and this trend will likely continue. Nurses begin their careers as generalists after completing a four-year curriculum. They can later enroll in higher education. Since it gets hectic for them to study and work simultaneously, they can go for an online education system. For professional growth, they can go for online msn to dnp programs at the master’s level to prepare for specialization in nursing.  

Here are five ways they can stay fit and healthy despite their busy schedules.

Sleep 

Every adult requires a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. It’s essential for brain function and has a significant impact on one’s mental and physical health. Sleep deprivation affects metabolism, mood, memory, attention, stress hormones, and the immune system negatively. Sleep deprivation also weakens the mind’s ability to make quick decisions, increasing the risk of medical errors. Setting a good sleep schedule is crucial for nurses. If they have to work night shifts, they can set up a sleeping environment during the day. Installing blackout shades and purchasing an eye mask and high-quality earplugs can significantly improve their sleep quality and health. 

Exercise

Exercise is good for everyone, but it can be difficult for nurses to include it in their busy schedules. Exercise aids nurses in maintaining the physical stamina needed to perform their duties. Nurses can guarantee that they are strong enough to do demanding jobs like moving and lifting patients without risking injury by exercising. Whether done regularly or once a week, exercise has numerous health benefits, including a longer lifespan, reduced disease risk, weight loss, and a better night’s sleep. Nurses should ensure that they can maintain a regular workout schedule that aligns with their availability. Exercise helps to relieve stress by lowering adrenaline and cortisol levels while simultaneously increasing endorphin levels. It can also help them get a good night’s sleep. They will be more accountable and motivated if you join a gym. 

However, if they are unable to do so, home workouts are also a suitable alternative. Taking the stairs rather than the elevator is a start. Yoga can also aid with memory, concentration, posture, stability, coordination, and balance, reducing joint and back discomfort and increasing immunity.

Nutrition

Eating a healthy balanced diet is of utmost importance for everybody, but especially nurses. 

While it may be tough to find time for healthy meals during your long hours, it is essential. To stay healthy and energized, they should make small changes to their diet and eat nutrient-rich meals like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and so on. To avoid overeating during the day, have a nice, filling breakfast in the morning. Instead of coffee, herbal teas are a great way to get your caffeine fix. Staying hydrated during the day is also essential. Proper hydration will keep their energy levels up and make you feel less hungry throughout the day. 

Mental Health

Maintaining a healthy mind is an essential aspect of staying healthy. It’s crucial to schedule time for hobbies. Do something completely unrelated to your job; try learning a new skill, find a new activity to do. They could consider meditation, which involves focusing your attention on a single thought or activity to create a mentally and emotionally clean state of mind.  Spend quality time with the people you care about to recharge after stressful days at the hospital. Taking care of your mental health will help you avoid burnout, improve your focus, sleep patterns, and better manage your stress levels. You will be able to work productively and efficiently as well. Taking time off work can be beneficial, and it will surely provide them with a fresh mind whenever they return to work.

Establish a Routine

Create a simple routine that aligns with your work schedule. To take care of your mental and physical health, incorporate a proper sleep pattern, exercise, a healthy diet, and fun and relaxing activities. If you want to take care of your patients, you must first take care of yourself. You must ensure a healthy work-life balance. Set your priorities, invest in yourself, ask for help, and have fun. 

Final Thoughts: 

Nursing is a demanding job but ultimately a rewarding career. Every day, you confront tragedy and illness, as well as emotional and physical exhaustion. Nurses spend so much time helping others that they forget about themselves. Nurses must carve out time for themselves.  Exercising and spending quality time with friends and family are two things that might help you unwind and recharge before your next shift. It’s essential to keep an eye on yourself and recognize when you’re feeling overwhelmed or overworked. It’s time to get started right now.

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