Staying Physically and Mentally Healthy: A Nurse’s Guide

Posted about 4 weeks ago

One of the requirements of being a nurse is to be a good role model, showing and advising patients on aspects of lifestyle to ensure good health and good mental health. Sometimes though the pressures of everyday living can result in nurses neglecting their own needs to the detriment of themselves.

As a nurse, you must ensure that you care for yourself before you care for others. You owe it to yourself, your family and your patients.

With that in mind, here are some tips that will help you to stay on top form, both physically and mentally.

Physical Health

By its very nature, being a nurse is a very physically demanding which can take its toll on your body. Being a nurse requires long periods of time on your feet which can cause lasting problems with back and leg aches and pains; good physical fitness is paramount. There are some ways you can meet your responsibilities as a nursing professional, whilst taking good care of yourself.

Diet

A balanced diet consisting of fruit, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats, is the foundation of good health. Your home and working life will be very busy but you must make sure that you are eating a good, balanced diet before, during and after your shift. With a little planning beforehand this can be achieved.

It is always fun to order out with your colleagues and this is a great way to build the team but you can also bring your own food into work which will ensure that you make good dietary choices. Always remember to keep some healthy snacks close by for when you feel you need a quick pick me up.

Exercise

Exercise is essential for both good physical and mental health. It controls your weight, recharges your batteries, boosts energy and relieves feelings of stress. Exercise does not necessarily require you to join a gym, you can be more active by taking a brisk walk, go cycling or taking a swim at your local leisure centre.

Rest

It is very important that you get plenty of rest as well as eating well and exercising. Sleep aids your preservation of memory and revives your brain function between shifts so you need to ensure you get between seven and nine hours (for an average adult) to ensure you are able to stay alert and awake when you have to make those quick decisions at work.

Mental Health

Just as important as physical health, but often neglected is your mental health. Your brain stem runs through your entire body and is in communication with your environment and your emotions and state of mind. A healthy mind provides you with a greater awareness and makes you less susceptible to distractions, leading to an improved performance and reducing the risk of errors at work.

Relax

Throughout your nursing career, you will encounter situations that will test your mind and it will become very easy to find yourself feeling lost, overwhelmed and overworked. It is so important for you to be mindful of your own needs as well as those of you patients. You need to take time for yourself each day.

You can maintain good mental health by ensuring you do the things that you love to do, catch up with family and friends, read a book, take a long bath or listen to your favourite music.

Balance

It is never easy to balance your professional life with your personal life, but it is so essential that you do. Spending time with your family and friends is good for your soul and can make you feel refreshed for your next shift. As much as you value being a nurse and are a dedicated professional you should try to make time for your family and friends which will keep you grounded and can have a positive effect on your performance at work.

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