As a nurse, you dedicate your life to providing quality care and comfort to others. But in order to be successful in your profession, you must also take the time to nurture yourself. Flourishing as a nurse requires that you find balance in your life and develop the skills to manage the stress and demands of your job. While there are times to pitch in and work extra hard, I see so many nurses working long hours, picking up extra shifts or doing overtime, and not getting good sleep. You can only go so long without making your own health a priority before your health begins to suffer. There are way too many nurses that are stressed, exhausted, and suffering from chronic illnesses. We often don’t take the advice that we dish out to our patients.
Here are some tips to help you flourish as a nurse.
1. Take Time for Self-Care: Self-care is essential for nurses to stay healthy and perform at their best. Make sure to take time for yourself each day to do something that brings you joy. This could be anything from reading a book, exercising, or meditating. Taking time for yourself will help you to recharge and reduce stress. Honestly, I think all 3 of those things are essential parts of a well-rounded day. Having a gratitude practice has been shown to improve happiness.
2. Develop Healthy Habits: Good habits such as eating nutritious meals, getting sufficient sleep, and exercising regularly can help you to stay healthy and energized. These habits can also help you to stay focused and alert during long shifts. Foundational habits for optimal health include fueling your body, moving regulary (formal exercise and other daily movements), and 7-8 hours of sleep.
3. Connect with Colleagues: Working in a team environment can be demanding, but it is important to foster positive relationships with your colleagues. Make time to connect with others, share experiences, and support each other. It’s been proven that the healthiest teams support each other with positive feedback. We love it when our bosses give us positive feedback, but we can do the same for each other on a regular basis.
4. Set Boundaries: Setting boundaries is important in order to maintain a healthy life. Set limits on how much time you spend at work and make sure to take breaks during your shift. This will help you to stay focused and keep your stress levels in check. Work hard when it’s time to work, but take your rest seriously as well.
5. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a powerful tool to help you stay in the moment and reduce stress. Take a few minutes each day to practice breathing exercises and focus on your thoughts and feelings. Doing a thought download each day can be helpful to gain clarity and reduce stress. Even just 1 minute of stopping and taking some deep breaths are helpful for resetting my stressed out mind.
As a nurse, it is important to take care of yourself in order to be successful in your job. Taking time for self-care, developing healthy habits, connecting with colleagues, setting boundaries, and practicing mindfulness are all ways to help you flourish as a nurse. By following these tips, you can stay healthy and energized, and better manage the demands of your job.