With the pandemic causing staffing shortages and full hospitals, many nurses work multiple shifts for days without a break. It may come as no surprise that nurse burnout rates are high, with many people struggling to keep going. Understandably, nurses are finding it difficult to put themselves first and to practice one of the most essential things in their profession, self-care. If you are in the nursing field, it may be time to focus on yourself by practicing some of self-care tips listed below.
1. Schedule Your Downtime
As strange as it may sound, it is critical to schedule some personal time for you to relax, unwind, and de-stress. With a busy schedule and so much constantly on your mind, you may need to find time in your schedule to rest. Otherwise, you may keep putting it off. Mark it on your calendar and spend the time free from the worries of work and a busy schedule, whether it is curling up with a good book or going to the spa for a massage.1
2. Unplug for Awhile
Being constantly on call is stressful. Whenever possible, consider turning off your phone and computer and avoid responding to texts to give yourself a mental break. It may also help to turn off the TV for a few hours and work to clear your mind each evening before you go to bed. This may help you shake off the stress of the day.1
3. Make Sleep a Priority
A good night's rest is vital for mental and physical health, but all too often, nurses sacrifice this precious time to take care of other things. Make sure that you get adequate rest each night. Try to have some time to wind down before you go to bed each night to help you get the restorative sleep you need to tackle your next busy day.1
4. Say "No" When You Need To
It is challenging to say "no" when your career in life is helping others. When saying "yes" interferes with much-needed rest, me time, or time for you to spend with your family, it is ok to say "no." Part of practicing self-care is learning how to put yourself first. If you are not healthy, well-rested, and mentally-centered, you may be less helpful to those around you.1
5. Find a Support System
Surround yourself with those who may be able to understand or empathize with your troubles and help you celebrate your joys. Support systems are necessary to help you out when you need assistance and provide you with the moral support you need help keep you going when you are down.2
6. Watch What You Eat
It is easy to grab convenient food when you have a busy schedule. Unfortunately, most fast food and quick store-bought snacks are high in processed sugars, leading to crashes throughout the day. If time is a problem, prep some healthy snacks and meals at the beginning of the week so that there are healthy options available for when you are in a rush.2
1Self Care Tip Sheet for Nurses, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, http://www.apna.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/APNASelfCareTipSheet.pdf
2Avoid burnout: self-care strategies for nurses, Healthtimes https://healthtimes.com.au/hub/mental-health/37/guidance/hw/avoid-burnout-selfcare-strategies-for-nurses/4439/
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This article was prepared by WriterAccess.
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