Encouraging you to take care of yourself is something we’re passionate about. As nurses, you may often find yourself preaching self-care to your patients and neglecting to do it yourself.
We know self-care is more than insta-worthy bubble baths, face masks, and trips to the spa! We’ve compiled a list of the top five self-care tips specifically for nurses – and we challenge you to make these part of your daily routine in 2020!
According to the American Nurses Association, self-care isn’t a choice – it’s a responsibility. “The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, to maintain competence, and to continue personal and professional growth” (“Code of Ethics,” 2017).
No, we don’t mean the 10-minute power nap you catch in your car between shifts.
According to VeryWellHealth.com, adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep every night to feel “rested.” This is only an average, though. The amount of sleep each person needs is individually based on genetics, age, overall health, daily demands, and other factors.
Getting enough sleep to feel well-rested will improve your health, as well as your ability to function quickly and effectively in your fast-paced job.
Keep your mind sharp
Strengthening your mind is an important activity that many people neglect. You’ve just worked a 12-hour shift, came home, ate the first bite of leftovers you could find, and now you’re feeling completely drained.
Taking time to focus on something that interests you will keep you engaged in your own life, as opposed to riding shotgun on a never-ending monotonous routine.
Do a puzzle, read a book, watch a documentary, play a video game, or learn about a subject you find fascinating. Taking time to do one of these simple tasks can improve your overall mental health.
Take a breath
Everyone has emotions to deal with, and some find this more difficult than others. Emotional self-care includes having healthy coping skills on deck when anger, sadness, denial, anxiety, etc. pop up.
Coping skills may include talking to someone (spouse, therapist, best friend) or leisure activities that help you be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling.
Working in healthcare can be difficult but struggling emotionally doesn’t have to “come with the territory.” When you have a hard day, take a moment to process everything you’re feeling.
Invest in your footwear
You stand… a lot. And sometimes you’re sprinting from one end of the hospital to the next, dodging obstacles left and right.
Do yourself a favor and bite the bullet on that slightly-more-expensive-than-you-want-them-to-be pair of shoes that are so darn comfortable you could swear you’re walking on clouds.
Get up and get moving!
Like we just said, you’re standing/walking/running a LOT. However, your physical health can’t end there.
Find time for activities to better your body, like hiking, yoga, a gym session, or workout class. These activities will keep you in peak performance at work, but they also double as great mindfulness techniques. Zoning out to a podcast while you take a walk around your neighborhood, or blaring music no one would imagine you listen to in your headphones at the gym will help to shut your mind off for a little bit while you focus on fueling your body with endorphins.
As the famous Elle Woods said, “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!”