6 Easy Ways Nurses Can Improve Their Health : The nursing profession is rewarding but, at the same time, extremely challenging too. And nurses don’t need a raging pandemic to make this profession demanding because it already is.
Witnessing trauma and death continuously and working with patients who have been through mental and physical agony and uncertainty in their lives also takes a toll on nurses’ lives.
Stress, exhaustion, and compassion fatigue/burnout creep into them. These issues are worth mentioning because they are causing thousands of nurses to leave this profession.
In a survey, one-third of the nurses reported their intention to quit this profession at the end of 2022 due to burnout. If this is the case, the nursing profession cannot take such a severe blow when it is already struggling with a staff shortage.
Burnout is adversely impacting nurses’ physical health too. Therefore, it is imperative to release undue pressure and stress from the nurses’ jobs.
There is an urgent need to ensure that no more nurses leave the profession due to burnout, nor do they compromise their health and well-being for this issue.
Here is what nurses can do combat burnout and improve their health.
Keep the professional curiosity alive
Monotony can kill your interest in your job. Doing the same duties recurrently every day makes you lethargic and disinterested. Scientists have found that job monotony adversely impacts mental health, creating stress and burnout. Monotonous work also reduces job satisfaction.
Nurses must keep the monotony out of their work by maintaining their professional curiosity.
Some ways to do this are taking new training, learning about what is happening in the field, transitioning into other nursing domains, and earning new degrees. For instance, nurses can enroll in masters in nursing education programs and transition to academic or other roles.
Take care of diet
One of the biggest issues nurses faces that impacts their health is their neglectful attitude toward diet and healthy food. Nurses work long hours and have irregular shift schedules, so it is quite understandable that they often neglect their food.
Munching on high-carb calorie-loaded fast food seems much easier than sitting down and taking some time to have a proper meal. But nurses don’t realize how processed is destroying their health.
The unhealthy levels of sugar, sodium, and fat improve the taste of the food. But simultaneously, they cause obesity, high cholesterol, heart diseases, diabetes, and blood pressure. They also don’t fulfill the nutritional requirements of your body. Hence you cannot avoid feeling body pain, cramps, and muscle weakness.
A nurse’s job is so hectic that they must constantly replenish their body with the right nutrients. They must make fruits and veggies an indispensable part of their life.
Munching on fruits is easy too. You can always keep fruits and dried nuts with you at the workplace. After a few hours, eat some fruits to keep your body replenished. As for the veggies, use them in salads and sandwiches.
Encourage yourself to exercise every day
Working out after a hectic day seems a burden. But you have to understand that exercise is for your benefit. It will relieve all the body pains you feel due to your grueling work at the hospital. Exercise stimulates your brain to release feel-good hormones that make you happy, satisfied, and rejuvenated.
Feel-good hormones are natural pain relievers and stress busters. People who exercise regularly display improved moods and good public relations. Apart from your mood, exercise also improves your memory, learning, and other cognitive functions.
Exercise improves your physical health as well. It improves your muscle strength and elasticity. Improved muscle health helps you with the physical aspect of your work at the hospital. You feel much more robust and in control of your work.
Foster good communication with your colleagues
Developing good relationships with your colleagues and management in the hospital can positively impact your health. Good communication is at the heart of fostering positive work relationships.
Effective and open communication reduces arguments and friction between employees. Undue disagreements can cause stress, impacting your mental and physical health.
Besides nurses, management can also do a lot to promote good communication and camaraderie between employees.
Go shopping and spend time with friends
It does not take much effort to get embroiled in the work and forget about taking time out for yourself to have some fun. The hectic routine of nurses will give them ample excuse to be negligent about themselves. But regardless of their hectic routine, they need a reprieve from their frantic work duties.
There is no better way to spend time than shopping for stuff you like.
Research has shown that shopping improves your mood immediately. According to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, retail therapy makes people happy and fights lingering sadness. So, spend time with your friends and laugh with them.
Take mandatory intermittent breaks
Nurses often work twelve-hour shifts without taking a break. Even when they have time, they let go of the opportunity. But taking intermittent breaks during work is extremely important for their health and well-being.
Studies prove that taking breaks during work improves health. It also reduces stress and increases focus when you return to work again.
Whenever you find time, locate a quiet corner and sit there for a while. Relax and try to block all the thoughts about work.
Also, spend some time with nature, bask under the sun if the weather permits and stimulate your feel-good hormones such as serotonin to combat stress.
Nurses should take care of their health as they take care of their patients’ well-being. The rule is straightforward; if you are not healthy, you cannot be of any help to your patients either. Therefore, the healthier you are mentally and physically, the better you can perform at work.
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