According to a London South Bank University study, around half the nurses are overweight, and a good number of nurses haven’t ever engaged in any form of physical exercise. While this study included students preparing to become nurses, it reiterates that making healthier choices is vital before becoming a registered nurse. After all, a nurse teaches their patients an overall healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, proper sleep, a controlled diet, and properly managing their stress levels.
Yet, for reasons unknown, some registered nurses are unwilling or cannot practice what they preach. As a registered nurse, you need to remain in good health, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will allow you to prevent emotional distress, fatigue and ultimately eliminate burnout. In both the long and short term, doing so will help you work more efficiently and with extra stamina left to enjoy your personal life at the end of the day. Armed with optimism and a positive mindset, we encourage you to follow the tips mentioned below to maintain a healthy lifestyle and power through your shift without feeling burned out.
Consider Online Education
People might say what online education has to do with making healthier lifestyle choices as a nurse. Well, the nursing profession requires lifelong learning, and continuously studying can lead to poor diet choices. Most candidates who acquire further education through a campus-based university are prone to making bad diet decisions. Restricted by time, these nursing students usually prefer to eat something fast and on the go. i.e., fast food such as burgers, fried chicken, and so on.
Suppose you are pursuing your higher education, like a master of science in nursing online degree. In that case, an online program can help them study according to their schedule and have some time left to focus on their health. Or do some physical activity. It is a win-win situation, whatever the case!
Eat Before Starting Your Shift
We have heard this a trillion times, and numerous studies also show that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. According to a Mayo Clinic study, people who eat breakfast may easily regulate their weight. They tend to have improved brain function and have more energy to get through their daily routine. Furthermore, breakfast before starting your shift reduces the urge to munch on leftovers from your previous shift.
Additionally, you can pack your meals instead of ordering. By doing such a thing, you can control what you eat, which allows you to make better diet choices.
Get Some Sleep
Only a handful of nurses can say they get a seven to nine-hour sleep every night. Getting adequate amounts of sleep decreases the chances of experiencing chronic health conditions. Younger nurses might say that they can function with a couple of hours of sleep per day. However, according to numerous experienced registered nurses, as you get older, so does your brain and its ability to function appropriately between stressful shifts.
So, a wise decision is to get some sleep whenever possible. If you are on your break, instead of gossiping with your coworkers, go to the break room and have a power nap to refuel your brain and body.
Lay Off The Coffee
Caffeine is your biggest enemy as a nurse, especially if you consume it on night shifts. Excessive consumption of caffeine can affect your brain and cause sleep deprivation. Unquestionably, you might get the boost you require to stay awake during your night shift. Still, the long-term side effects are pretty detrimental.
According to studies conducted by Wayne State College of Medicine and the Sleep Disorders & Research Center at Michigan’s Henry Ford Hospital, ingesting caffeinated beverages six hours before bedtime can result in decreased sleep quantity and quality. So, stay away from such beverages as much as possible.
Stay Hydrated At All Times
Water is vital to your general health and well-being. According to numerous doctors, drinking eight glasses of water every day will allow you to stay hydrated and promote good kidney function. Furthermore, The Institute of Medicine further states that females must consume 9 cups of water every day while males must drink 13 cups every day.
While such numbers might be difficult to achieve, a few things you can do is keep a refillable water bottle on your workstation or cubicle. You can go one step further and add some fresh fruits such as lemons or grapefruit if you don’t like drinking water on its own. In the end, it is all about getting your daily dose of water any way you can.
Going to the gym after a tiring day or night shift might seem daunting, but it can reduce stress and recharge your batteries. Regular physical activity controls your weight and increases your energy levels—three things you need to perform your job as a registered nurse efficiently.
If boredom strikes you quickly, consider joining an exercise group or a yoga studio to add fun to the mix. Ask a friend to sign up with you so you have the motivation and an exercise buddy who will push you to your limits.
Registered nurses focus mainly on helping and forget that it is crucial to take care of themselves too. Spending quality time with friends and family, exercising, and eating a healthy diet are three things that allow you to feel relaxed and ready for your next shift. However, you must monitor yourself and stop when you feel overworked or overwhelmed. Other than that, consider the tips mentioned above if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle as a registered nurse.
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