This constant need to deliver above-par performance often stresses out nurses. If that was not enough, long work hours and unrealistic shift schedules tire nurses and cause burnout.
In the US, about 2.7 million report burnout characterized by low interest and botched performance at work. The ripple effect is on their health in the form of impaired health and wellness.
Nurses fail to realize that they cannot care for their patients if they are not healthy.
With a fatigued body and mind, nurses cannot concentrate on their work in the hospital, leading to costly errors, adverse patient outcomes, and satisfaction. Therefore, nurses must maintain their health and wellness.
The following are surefire ways for nurses to combat burnout and promote health and wellness.
Take out time to do things you like
Most of a nurse’s day is dedicated to their patients. But at the end of the day, nurses are humans wanting to live their own life. Hence, nurses must take time to make their daily routine meaningful.
As a nurse, look at the things that make you happy. Is it a stroll in the nearby park? Chit-chatting with your friends? Or something more progressive such as learning more about your field.
If it is the latter, it not only gives you happiness for doing what you desire but enrolling in higher education such as BSN or MSN can also progress your career.
States like California, New York, and Texas prioritize nurses with a BSN degree for more meaningful roles.
The good news for Texans is that they can also find many accelerated BSN programs in Texas. Accelerated BSN programs take less time to complete, so they present an excellent opportunity for career development.
At the same time, learning about recent research in your field satisfies your curious mind, enhancing your overall wellness.
Eating fruits and vegetables
Understandably nurses don’t find time for meal prep. Many tend to work late at night or come home early morning to have a few hours of sleep. So neglecting the food comes naturally to them. But regardless of the situation that plagues nurses, they cannot ignore their health.
They have to find a way to prioritize their health and wellness along with their work. One way is to add ample fruits and veggies to your diet. The best part about fruits is that you can munch on them like snacks when rushing from one room to another.
If you don’t have a long break, eat any fruits after a few hours. This habit will replenish your energy stores and keep you rejuvenated.
Another way is by going for smoothies and milkshakes instead of pre-packaged juices, which are nothing more than a mixture of sugar and fruit flavor.
As for the veggies, you can add them to your diet in the form of salads. Add some proteins such as chickpeas or red beans to make your salad more wholesome. You can take a few spoonfuls of your salad after every few hours.
For nurses, maintaining their health and wellness does not end with eating fruits and veggies. Beyond that, regular exercise should be part of their routine too.
Nurses’ work includes ample amount of walking, running, and the use of muscle. Excessive physical exertion causes fatigue if their muscles are not ready to bear this stress.
Exercise strengthens your muscle, improve blood flow, and reduces work-induced cramps in the body. When you engage in physical activity, your body always remains ready to take up challenging tasks that require extensive leg work and the use of muscles.
Physical activity instigates the reward system in your brain, leading to the release of feel-good hormones. These hormones include endorphin, which reduces your perception of pain. For this reason, it is also called a natural pain killer.
Other hormones include dopamine which improves your motor functions, memory, and other cognitive functions. Serotonin regulates mood, sleep, appetite, memory, and learning ability. So when you exercise, feeling healthier and happier is a natural response. Your performance at work also improves considerably.
Spend time with your family and friends
The absence of work-life balance is negatively impacting the nursing profession. Witnessing trauma and pain continuously develops compassion fatigue. And a point comes when they can longer take it anymore and think about quitting.
One of the ways to reduce burnout among nurses is by encouraging them to spend time with their family and friends and engage with them.
Studies from 2011 and 2017 have shown that laughing with your loved one triggers endorphin, a natural stress buster. So share jokes and funny videos or watch a comedy together to dust off the stress clouds.
Meditation can promote wellness
Many studies have corroborated the link between meditation, health, and wellness. Meditation involves focusing your mind on something good—a happy memory or beautiful scenery— to explore the feelings of relaxation.
Practicing wellness helps you manage stress, reduce heart diseases, and optimize your blood pressure—issues widely present in professional nurses.
Meditation can replenish your body with the much-required positive energy. This positive energy is your vanguard against burnout and compassion fatigue.
Keep your body hydrated
Water is the essence of life— humans, animals, plants— everything depends on water for survival. Water makes up about 60% of the human body.
About 79% of the total muscle mass is water. These numbers stress that your body needs ample water to perform its functions.
Dehydration can reduce the elasticity of your muscles. As a result, when you move them excessively during work, they get stiff and painful.
Nurses need water to live healthily and adequately perform their professional duties. Therefore. Drink at least 7 to 8 glasses of water; the quantity can vary depending on many factors.
Keep a bottle with you all the time if going to the water dispenser feels like a hassle.
A nurse’s job is all about prioritizing the health of their patients. They provide them with high-quality care and ensure that all their needs are met on time. But they often neglect their health and wellness, which ultimately impacts their work performance. Therefore, nurses must use the surefire way mentioned in the article above to maintain their health and wellness.