Nurses and medical professionals have to deal with a lot. One of the biggest challenges facing healthcare workers is burnout. If you or someone you know is struggling with burnout, whether they’re in the medical profession or not, consider our guide to self-care strategies and practices for nurses. It has worked for others and may work for you.
Regular Physical Activity
As a nurse or medical professional, you likely spend a lot of time on your feet, so working out is the last thing you feel like doing before or after a shift. But there are numerous mental and physical advantages to regular exercise.
Our bodies naturally produce what’s known as “happy chemicals” like endorphins that put us in a good mood. Some light exercise before or after your shift can do wonders for boosting your confidence and putting you in a happier headspace.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep is one of the most crucial factors in mental health. Unfortunately, it’s one of the areas where nurses struggle the most. We understand it’s tough—your brain is wired and humming after a long shift. Even though you are exhausted, your mind won’t settle down and let you sleep.
Consider cutting down on screen time, alcohol, and caffeine before bed. Invest in your sleep environment with amenities like:
- A new mattress.
- Comfortable sheets.
- High-quality pillows.
- Sleep masks.
You’re not just investing in bedroom décor; you’re investing in your mental health!
Center Yourself With Meditation
If you don’t practice it already, consider trying meditation before, after, and during work. Meditation helps many people throughout the day, nurses included, center themselves and ease their minds.
Take five or 10 minutes before your shift to be alone and focus on your breathing. After work, do the same to calm and unwind your mind. When you’re feeling overwhelmed during work, give yourself a five-minute break to meditate and center yourself.
Make Time for Socializing
Nurses have hectic schedules. As a result, they often neglect relationships with friends and family. Going home and unwinding after a long day may seem easier, but strong relationships are vital to our mental health.
Schedule time to hang out with friends and coworkers after your shift. It’ll allow you to interact with them outside of work and strengthen your working relationships. Even if you only have time for a video call with a family member at the end of the day, please do it. Simple social interactions are vital for proper self-care.
Being a nurse and working in the healthcare industry isn’t easy for anyone. Many professionals struggle with their mental health. We hope that our list of self-care practices and strategies for nurses helps you improve your mental health and live a happier lifestyle!