For people with a caring personality who want to use their attributes to their advantage to help those in need, pursuing a career in nursing is a no-brainer. Whether you work with babies, toddlers, children, or adults, using your skills and expertise to make a positive difference can transform patients’ lives and help you get the most out of your nursing career.
Before starting a shift, you must be in the right frame of mind and be ready for any situation. Therefore, prioritizing your mental and physical wellbeing is a must. Whether you’re thinking of going into nursing or need some tips to fulfill your potential, here are ways to keep you mentally, physically, and emotionally happy.
Eat Before Your Shift
If you’re already in a nursing career, you will know how long shifts can be. Depending on the role, you could be on your feet for 12 hours, meaning it’s vital that you fuel your body before getting started. While you will have breaks during your shift, many nurses benefit from eating a meal before the shift gets underway, which will give you energy and stamina to get through the hours ahead.
Find the Right Balance
Many nurses work all kinds of shift patterns that can be early in the morning, late at night, or at weekends. If this sounds like you, having some time for a social life and seeing family and friends can be difficult. However, you need to find the right balance between working and having time to relax and unwind. The last thing you want is to burnout and start resenting your role. Therefore, getting into a routine and allocating time for hobbies and having fun is key for your emotional and mental wellbeing.
To get through your nursing shift, drinking plenty of water throughout is important. Your body needs to stay hydrated, otherwise, you may end up feeling lightheaded or getting headaches that can hinder your productivity levels. When you’re on your feet for hours at a time, you need to get into the habit of drinking water. It’s best to avoid carbonated beverages as they can do more harm than good for your mind and body. Make sure you have a water bottle that you can regularly top up during your shift.
When away from work, exercise may be the last thing on your mind, but when it comes to flourishing in nursing, physical activity can do wonders for your mind and body. When you work out, your brain releases endorphins that can make you feel more positive and upbeat. Whether you enjoy going for long walks, running, swimming, or playing sports, make sure you find an activity that gets your blood pumping. Should you choose something you don’t enjoy, you’re more likely to dread exercising.
Make Sleep a Priority
All past and current nurses will understand the importance of a good night’s sleep. If you’re not well-rested and ready for your shift, this can have an impact on your performance at work, which could have serious consequences if you’re dealing with patients. You need to allocate plenty of time for rest and relaxation, so if you have difficulty falling and staying asleep, make sure you remove any distractions like your smartphone. Also, running a hot bath before bed and having time to de-stress can aid sleep.
Gain New Credentials
While many nurses are happy in their role, others are striving for bigger and better things. If your routine is starting to feel like Groundhog Day, it may be time to look into furthering your career and gaining new credentials. For instance, you can obtain an online ABSN at Baylor University that can open more career doors. What’s more, as you can study online, you can fit your learning in and around your work. Once you learn new skills and knowledge, this can make you more confident in your abilities, especially if you want to enter senior nursing positions.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
If you’re always feeling stressed and rundown from work, there are many relaxation techniques that can help. Nurses across the country swear by techniques like deep breathing and meditation, which can clear your mind and give you space away from your work duties. Many nurses put their hearts and souls into their role and think about others before themselves. However, when it comes to giving the best care possible, you need to get a hold of your stress and be in the right mindset. You can also try yoga, which has positive benefits for the mind and body, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.
Lay Off the Caffeine
For nurses who can’t get through a shift without a cup of coffee, the amount of caffeine you drink can have negative implications, especially when you’re not at work. High levels of caffeine can disrupt your sleep, meaning while you may be full of energy during your shift, when it comes to hitting the hay, drifting off may be a challenge. It’s advised to cut back on the amount of caffeine you consume and stick to water instead.
Speak to Family and Friends
Whether you’re studying to become a nurse or already in a role, having your friends and family around you can be a big help when things get tough. If you’ve had a hard shift, knowing you have loved ones to talk to can take the weight off your shoulders. No matter how experienced you are in nursing, no two days are the same, so if you have dealt with a tricky patient, having friends and family to let off steam to is crucial.
See Your Doctor
If there ever comes a point in your nursing career where you need to seek medical help, you should never feel embarrassed about doing so. After all, your health and wellbeing matters, so if you’re not feeling yourself mentally or physically, make sure you book a doctor’s appointment who will give you advice and recommend treatment options.
A career in nursing offers flexibility, employee benefits, plenty of opportunities for progression, not to forget a sense of accomplishment seeing your patient’s lives transform. No matter what specialty interests you most, the tips above can help keep your health in check, helping you to flourish in your field.