Nurses do their best to help others lead a healthy life. This not only involves medical help but also giving them support and offering advice for healthy living. However, while their core business is all about health and wellness, a good number of nurses end up overlooking their own health. The situation can be worse for nurses who are advancing their education. This is because school leaves them with less time to care of themselves. So, what steps can you take to stay healthy as a busy nurse attending nursing school? Consider the following tips.
Plan Healthy Meals Ahead
Firstly, you need to look at your menus and eating habits. With a busy schedule, it’s easy to pick energy bars and unhealthy junk foods as a quick fix for snacks and meals. This can end up ruining your health. To avoid this, consider these five tips:
- Design a menu for the entire week or month.
- Find time to shop for all the ingredients in advance. If you aren’t sure what to shop for, consider this healthy eating plate by Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Health Publishing. It focuses on healthy oils, vegetables, whole grains, healthy proteins, and fruits of all colors, among other factors. C
- Consider packing healthy snacks to work and school.
- Consider prepping your meals in advance, especially when your schedule is very tight.
- Find nice places to eat out – you may not be able to carry some snacks from home each day, so bookmark some food joints where you can pick up or ask for a delivery.
Water is essential for the normal functioning of the body, but many nurses end up forgetting to drink enough water every day – probably due to their busy schedules. If you are struggling to get the recommended amount of water every day, consider having a refillable bottle around you and make use of water drinking apps to remind you that you need to sip your water.
You are tired from nursing patients all day and you still have school work to catch up on. At the end of the day, it may feel like you don’t have the time or the energy to workout. But it’s still essential to do it, even if your body only feels like lying on the couch or going to bed. Taking time to exercise can actually boost your energy levels and keep you productive in your work and school.
Also, it can help in alleviating stress and depression, improving brain health and reducing the risk of diseases such as heart disease. Thus, create time in your schedule for workouts. It could be in the morning or evening. Furthermore, consider some small steps that can better your physical health. For example, you can walk to work, take the stairs and do some stretching and squats during breaks among others. Also, after work, you don’t have to go to gym if you are not able to. You can build your own home gym or do some simple workouts with the help of workout apps and YouTube videos.
Sleep 7 to 8 Hours
With a full-time job and school, you will have a lot of responsibilities. As a nurse and student, don’t be tempted to sleep fewer hours just so that you can complete your DNP nursing fast and successfully. You can create a schedule that allows you to work on both without compromising on sleep. Less sleep does you more harm than good. By staying up late, you may be able to cover your coursework, but having little sleep may affect your performance the next day. For instance, when you don’t get the recommended amount of sleep, your attentiveness can reduce and your chances of making mistakes may increase. Thus, do your best to get enough rest.
Take Breaks and Relax
Getting enough sleep is one way to stay sane and healthy when working and studying. Another step you can take to care for your mental health is to ensure you take breaks and find some relaxing things to do. It could be going swimming, hanging out with friends, finding a new hobby and taking a weekend off to explore something new. It doesn’t have to be every weekend or free day; just once in a while to relax your brain. You can also find ways to meet and share with friends who are in the same profession as you. Create a network with professionals in the medical field and stay connected. This too is a good thing for your overall wellbeing. Finally, don’t hesitate to find a mentor when you feel you need one.
Schedules and To-do Lists
The best way you are going to be able to prep healthy meals in advance, exercise, get enough sleep and take time to relax is if you maintain a good schedule and make to-do lists. Every day, have a definite list of what you are going to do and when you are going to do it. By setting specific times for each task, it will be easy to follow through. If you just let your day flow anyhow, you may end up doing less than you could have if you followed a definite schedule. Be organized and focused and you will achieve much in your work, studies and health goals. Also, remove some items from your schedule to help you create more time to invest in your health and wellbeing. For instance, instead of two hours of TV, you can cut down TV time to one hour and use the other hour for workouts or meal prep. And if you are having a hard time staying healthy, consider working with a personal trainer or even just an accountability partner. Meal planning templates or services, meal kit delivery services and workout plan templates can also be a huge help. And don’t forget to recognize and celebrate your wins. Finally, don’t ignore your symptoms. Tiredness will wear you down sometimes, but it should go away after rest. If unusual symptoms persist, seek help.