July 3, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
No matter what your age, sex or profession, the benefits of healthy habits cannot be overemphasised. However, it takes on even greater importance if you are a nurse. From daytime shifts that never seem to end to graveyard shifts that stretch your forbearance to the limit, it’s no secret that nursing is a demanding profession. What’s more, no matter how tired you are or what your personal problems, you will be expected to keep it all aside and be the epitome of cool, calm, caring efficiency at all time.
According to veteran nurses, the only way to make it through is by first taking care of yourself by inculcating healthy habits. It may be difficult at first as you try to adjust to the self discipline that is necessary to get you through but it will start to get easier in time and as it becomes part of your routine you will begin to feel less stressed.
As a nurse, you may tend to underestimate your fatigue and overestimate your strength but you have to remember that you are not superhuman and neither are you expected to be superhuman. Knowing your limits and recognising your needs are crucial. Self-care does not necessarily have to mean soaking in a lavender-scented bath every evening after work. The solution lies in small, simple things – stop by the cooler to get yourself a drink of water regularly. Make time to sit and eat lunch even if it is just for 10 minutes. Grab a few minutes to sit and unwind when you feel it is all getting on top of you. Take a deep breath when you feel your stress levels rising.
In short, take time for yourself. Making time for yourself is not a waste of time. Instead it will leave you feeling recharged, refreshed and definitely less stressed.
When you have to get out the door early morning and are back home only late night, cooking a meal is the last thing you want to do. However, come mid-morning, you are more likely to fall prey to that tempting looking burger sitting in the cafeteria shelf. Lunch and tea time will offer even more unhealthy temptations. While this is okay once in a while, it is not nutritious enough to give you the strength you need to get thorough the day. Sooner or later, junk foods will take their toll on you. Starving is just as harmful. So what do you do when you want to eat healthy but have no time to cook a healthy meal every day? Batch cooking on the weekend is a healthy and not too difficult solution. Freeze individual portions and label them. Choose meals that are nutritious and easy to carry to work.
To keep energy levels from dipping between meals, keep a stash of nutritious snacks that you can pick from and carry along with you everywhere you go. Mixed dry fruits, apples and almonds are great choices.
Getting your 6 to 8 hours uninterrupted sleep at night is crucial to keeping your mind and body functioning efficiently. If you have tons of chores still pending on your to-do list, just attend to the most important things on the list and leave the others for some other time. Lack of sleep clouds your thinking, saps your energy and leaves you feeling more stressed and anxious.