As a nurse, you’re used to taking care of other people over yourself. From the moment you get to work, you put your patients needs first. But what about you? Your own health should still be a priority!
The best person to care for a nurse is a nurse. You already have all the best self care tips from your training and experience, so it’s important to remember to use them on yourself as well. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with some simple self care tips below.
1. Try to eat well
We know how hard it is to choose healthy options during those extra long and extra busy shifts, at all hours of the day or night. The extra effort is definitely worth it though! Your body will thank you for nutritional meals by giving you longer lasting energy and focus.
2. Exercise regularly
The good thing about being rostered on odd hours is that you can hit the gym outside of peak times. Take advantage of any chance you have to get moving. Exercise not only gives you endorphins to help your mental health, but it also maintains your fitness to make it just a little bit easier to be on your feet during long shifts.
3. Remember you’re human
You’re not a robot, so don’t treat yourself like one! Spreading yourself too thin or pushing yourself too hard can lead to burning out and ultimately makes you worse off. Try not to take yourself so seriously and practice maintaining a fair work life balance, because this will make you mentally and professionally healthier.
4. Socialise with your colleagues
No one understands what you’re going through better than the ones working alongside you. Other nurses can be great for debriefing, chatting and confiding in. But you don’t need to just confine everything to the break room – getting out and about with your colleagues can be the refreshing break everyone needs so they can recharge before the next shift.
5. Get enough sleep
Make sure you’re getting enough rest between shifts. Although we’d all love to believe it, no amount of coffee compares to a solid 8 hours between the sheets. Being well rested is proven to be beneficial to your mental wellbeing and can also boost productivity, it’s win-win!
6. Treat yourself
You deserve to indulge every so often! So don’t hold back from getting that massage, pouring that glass of wine, or going to that movie. You also don’t need to spend money though – putting time aside for a hobby also does the trick. What’s most important is having some time to focus on yourself and what you like.
Remember, self care isn’t selfish. It’s important to care for yourself the way you’d care for one of your own patients – these steps are just the start.