What can nurses do to help themselves be more present and happy in their career? One of the most important things we can do is take care of ourselves. Nurses spend almost their whole day taking care of patients, family, friends, and whoever else calls upon them. Who has not gotten the call in the evening from a well-meaning friend or family member asking for medical advice?
It is difficult for many nurses to take time for themselves because they are so busy caring for everyone else. This trait is one of many that draw a person to nursing. They have a strong desire to care and help others. This positive trait can turn negative when we forget to take time out to take care of our own needs. Caring for you is not selfish rather it is building a strong foundation from which to draw the strength needed to give that care to others.
Taking time out does not need to be lengthy or expensive. Sometimes all we need is a short break to refresh ourselves. A 10 - 15 minute walk or a half hour long bubble bath can certainly ease tension and stress. We should still plan whole days out with friends or a weekend away with our significant other or family so we can stay connected to those who mean the most.
Let's look at some specific ideas which can start you on your way to caring about and for yourself:
Nutrition: Make sure to eat three meals a day with two snacks. Try to eat fruits and vegetables. Limit sweets and caffeine. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Do not deprive yourself of your favorite foods, remember moderation is the key.
Exercise: Do some form of exercise 30-60 minutes a day. Do whatever you enjoy doing such as walking, running, belly dancing or yoga. Do anything that you will look forward to doing.
Sleep: Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Staying on the same schedule of waking and sleeping improves sleep quality.
Relaxation: There are many different ways to relax. Relaxation is personal preference. What relaxes one person may cause increased stress to another. Do whatever feels right for you. Meditating while listening to a favorite CD or that bubble bath mentioned earlier could be just the thing for you!
Clean out the clutter and get organized: Having too much “stuff” can cause stress. Think on the things you do and where you are spending time. Start by cleaning out a drawer or a small area first. This will help clear out the “clutter” in your mind and surroundings.
These are just a few things that we can do on a daily basis to help relax and decompress from the day or get ready for the day. It is not easy to do the things we know are good for us so take small steps at first. You will be amazed how that 10 minute walk turns into an hour walk which rejuvenates and inspires you. Small steady steps will lead to a healthier and happier you which enables you to give back.
I would love to hear your stories of success or the creative ways you find to relax and rejuvenate. Good luck!