During the coronavirus pandemic, nurses emerged as our frontline fighters against this disease. They’ve helped patients recover from the onslaught of COVID-19, but – unfortunately – statistics show that many RNs are neglecting self-care. Even though 94-96 per cent of nursing professionals are satisfied with their occupation, their health levels drastically decline! It seems oxymoronic that nurses – being primary caregivers in most clinical settings – aren’t immune from several diseases that afflict their patients.
How can RNs improve their health – both mental and physical – and boost self-care? Here we have suggested some healthy habits that can assist nurses in getting their health back and enhance their well-being.
Habits to ensure wellness among nurses
A nurse’s responsibilities also include preaching the adoption of health-promoting behaviours. But they’re prioritizing patients’ health over personal well-being, and this selfless attitude doesn’t seem healthy for our country’s nursing staff! Research shows that nurses suffer from stress/anxiety, insomnia, and being overweight. A study by NCBI reveals that nurses are more vulnerable to non-communicable diseases, too, e.g., diabetes/hypertension. So, adopting the below-mentioned habits can help RNs regain their health:
Find a mentor:-
First, don’t forget to consult with your supervisor while improving your mental/physical well-being. So, which superior deserves to be your mentor or health coach? Many nurses attempt to hone their academic expertise by leveraging distance learning opportunities. During this pandemic, nurses can easily acquire higher qualifications thanks to digital education. You can find many nurses who’ve pursued DNP online programs to gain medical excellence. This degree gives them leadership abilities, thereby making them ideal mentors for young nurses. They can help you choose healthier options to improve mental/physical health. Getting mentorship, therefore, prevents burnout among nurses.
Don’t forget to socialize:-
Nurses shouldn’t forget to mingle with colleagues or non-work friends while they aren’t working. But remember to keep your work problems at bay when socializing with people. You don’t have to ruin your dates by talking about how stressful it’s back at the hospital! You can also socialize by joining a gym, frequenting cinemas, or simply hanging out with friends. These activities will relax your mind and treat your “work stress.” But should you share your work issues with some friends?
Share your thoughts:-
Don’t allow yourself to suffer in loneliness. Share your problems with friends/family for stress relief. Many people have confidants among colleagues to exchange information and find mutual comfort in such conversations. A nurse’s duties are emotionally demanding and require huge mental capacity. So – even if you don’t find a person for sharing – pick up journaling as a pastime. It can help you write down your thoughts and feelings. But journaling isn’t the only hobby for nurses!
Get a hobby:-
Having hobbies keeps your mind engaged, and your health retained. Experts recommend people who suffer from stress/depression acquire some pastimes to improve mental well-being. Nurses should attempt to focus on exciting activities that aren’t related to their occupation. These hobbies may include gardening, collecting books, or teaching yourself a new language. You can also contact some like-minded individuals to share your newfound passion and make these hobbies more enjoyable.
Clean your workplace:-
Cleaning your workplace protects nurses from contracting non-communicable diseases. While we’re going through one of the deadliest pandemics in human history, it makes sense to focus on cleaning clinics/hospitals. Don’t just trust janitors to purify the workplace; take matters into your hand while disinfecting the areas where you sit/eat. A well-sanitized nurses’ lounge will contribute not merely to physical security but mental comfort as well. So, clean the workplace faithfully for your health!
How much sleep do nurses get? Statistics from 2020 have revealed that nurses are sleeping for some 414 minutes daily on average that amounts to less than seven hours! So, there’s hardly a nurse who gets the much-needed 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Sometimes, you should prefer getting enough rest over other activities since you can’t fulfil your responsibilities as a nurse without feeling well-rested. RNs can’t perform their duties if they don’t allow themselves at least seven hours of sleep.
Not merely nurses but even laymen must prioritize consuming healthy/nutritious meals. Nurses are especially recommended to cut back on processed food. We can’t stress enough the importance of eating healthy since mental well-being is directly linked. So, prepare your meals beforehand. Increase your daily intake of delicious fruits and vegetables. Add more proteins to your food and whole grains as well. Chomping on carrots and eating protein bars isn’t distasteful as well.
Create work-life balance:-
Not just nurses but almost every employee today struggles with creating a work-life balance. Nurses excel at balancing these two aspects of their lives, though! But many RNs still can’t seem to separate workplace problems from their domestic lifestyle. So, make time for your partner and children. It would help if you did not let “workplace stress” damage your domestic comforts. Focus more on friends/family, and it’ll automatically help you overcome your anxiety/depression while promoting overall health.
Drink plenty of water:-
It’s essential to stay hydrated when dealing with impatient patients and handle more than one responsibility at the hospital. Also, decrease your caffeine dependency. Statistics show that 85% of nurses drink 3+ cups of coffee daily, without which their work quality suffers. Caffeine doesn’t give you strength; it weakens your brain function. Instead, drink more water (2.7 litres or 11.5 cups for women)! Use a water bottle always to remain hydrated or make it taste better with seltzer. These techniques can help make the water more delicious for nurses who have to work under demanding conditions. Make sure that you’re staying away from alcoholic beverages as well for better health!
A nurse’s health guarantees the nation’s well-being. So, are our nurses healthy? Well – according to the statistics published by AACN – nurses aren’t healthier than an average American! They sleep about 10% less than people, have 2.8 times more stress, and consume 30% less nutrition. Then why don’t we see doctors and nurses getting sick more often? It’s because most diseases they get aren’t contagious or infectious.
But they still need to focus on self-care and acquire healthy habits to promote personal well-being. It includes getting enough sleep, consuming healthy meals, and exercising properly. Also, try these few tips to keep your mind sharp, your body functional, and your medical talents well-occupied.