While nursing can be a fulfilling career, its fast-paced and demanding nature requires a lot of hard work, making work-life balance around your schedule challenging to manage. This may result in poor eating habits and a lack of a fitness routine. Nurses should provide an established care standard, which may require them to keep fit while ensuring a healthy lifestyle.
Improved overall fitness and health boost your ability as a nurse to conduct your daily physical tasks effectively. Healthy habits will help you prevent burnout and let you offer the best quality patient care. Considering how unpredictable each day can be, you may end up putting yourself last all the time. Be intentional about prioritizing your health. Here are six fitness and health tips for busy nurses.
1. Create time to exercise
While prioritizing your workouts with 12-hour long shifts can be challenging, staying active is an excellent way to prepare your body for these shifts, improve your mood, and be healthy while making you feel better. Nurses are busy and critical and must do specific tasks daily with full attention. This may result in physical and mental stress. However, physical fitness can help improve your mental and physical health. You can start by making minor adjustments during your shift, including parking your vehicle further away from the entrance, walking the rest of the distance, taking the stairs, avoiding the elevator, and more.
Build a workout routine to ensure you remain consistent, look for quick, effective workouts you can enjoy, and find a workout partner. Suppose you’re a practicing registered nurse or still taking your BSN to FNP online programs – in that case, you can undergo a fitness assessment to establish your health and fitness data, which can predict your minimal oxygen consumption and cardiorespiratory function.
2. Prep your meals
Meal prep is ideal for those who want to eat healthy despite being short on time. Nurses have busy, tight schedules, but this doesn’t mean their diet has to be unhealthy. On your day off, prepare meals for your whole week, as it can be time-consuming doing it daily. Plan your meals ahead of time, create a shopping list and plan how you’ll pack your meals for the week. Alternatively, you can use a meal-planning service which gives you a whole week’s shopping list and meal ideas, saving you more time.
3. Snack smart
Healthy snacking is an excellent way to ensure sustained energy throughout your shift or until your next meal. Consider high-protein and high-energy snacks to help ensure the proper calorie intake. You can snack on almond butter and apples, protein bars, cheese sticks, mixed nuts, protein smoothies, berries with Greek yogurt, and a trail mix.
4. Get enough sleep
Long-hour shifts can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Getting enough sleep is crucial for proper brain function and mental and physical health. Making quick and sound decisions, especially when dispensing medication, identifying critical changes, and examining patients, is a vital nursing skill. However, if the brain is half asleep, this skill may be compromised, resulting in patient negligence.
Excessive fatigue can also harm you and other road users when commuting to work. Lack of sleep negatively impacts your mood, metabolism, memory, immune system, stress hormones, and concentration. Consider getting better sleep every night for improved brain function and mental and physical health.
5. Take mental health breaks
Burnout, primarily for critical care nurses, is a significant healthcare concern. Nurses are usually willing to sacrifice their needs for their patients’ sake. Nonetheless, you must value your mental health and acknowledge when it’s time for a break. Healthy mental health breaks are a great way to recharge, relax and reflect. To effectively take mental health breaks, consider meditating, talking to a trusted friend or colleague, enjoying the outdoors, practicing yoga, engaging in deep breathing exercises, and maintaining a personal and professional journal to unwind at the end of each day.
6. Maintain a healthy work-life balance
Nurses find it challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Ensuring an excellent work-life balance prevents burnout and reduces stress. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance ensures you don’t fall short in your professional and personal life. To achieve work-life balance, establish a personalized plan and set small, realistic, and achievable goals, manage your time, optimize your work schedule and build a support system, including trusted friends, lifestyle coaches, and more experienced co-workers to help you achieve your lifestyle goals.
Nursing can be a fast-paced and very demanding career, resulting in physical and mental burnout and overall health neglect. Consider implementing these fitness and health tips for busy nurses.