Nurses are the backbone of the medical industry. They work firsthand with people who are feeling their worst, and they spend many hours on their feet, sometimes without adequate breaks, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether you are just thinking about working in this field or 20 years into your career, understanding self-care for nurses is important.
When you spend hours on your feet helping people who are experiencing the more alarming effects of the coronavirus, your own health can suffer if you’re not careful. Take the advice that you often find yourself giving. Get adequate rest whenever you can. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. Eat healthy foods, and keep nutritious snacks ready to fuel yourself during long shifts.
Medical self-care for nurses is also vital. Stay in top shape by keeping up with the tasks you routinely ask of patients:
Your state of mind and your emotional well-being are just as important as your physical wellness. In fact, if you ignore mental health, it can have detrimental effects on your body, too. There are many ways to care for yourself intellectually, emotionally, and socially that is particularly necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Scientific discovery is ongoing. Knowing new advancements in your field helps you maintain your confidence. Continuing your education in nursing is a great way to increase your competence.
You don’t have to limit your knowledge to your field, though. For example, if you have an interest in history, taking time to read three books a year that deepen your understanding keeps your mind stimulated. Learning something new makes life interesting and prevents you from getting stuck in a mental rut.
Throughout your nursing shifts, you often have to set your feelings aside to attend to more pressing issues in-patient care. Those emotions don’t just go away, though. Taking time to process what you feel, whether it is with a therapist or through journaling, daydreaming or motivational mantras, is a crucial part of self-care for nurses.
Long hours and heavy emotional burdens can be isolating. As a nurse, you need time to be with people who love and support you. Schedule a coffee date with a friend, or put aside one night a week that’s just for family. Regular social interaction away from work helps to keep yourself centered.
There is a lot of advice about how to best take care of yourself. It runs the gamut from small daily routines to relaxing retreats. One tricky thing about self-care for nurses is that what works for one person won’t necessarily be helpful for others. Take time to discover your own needs and how you can best address them.
A career in nursing can be rewarding, especially if you make self-care for nurses a priority. It all starts with a solid education or pursuit of a specialty. Fill out the search form on our website to find the right school to improve your knowledge and skills.
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