Nursing is the greatest job in the world, but working long shifts and non-traditional hours can make it hard to stay healthy and fit. If you’re like many nurses, you know some of the dietary and lifestyle choices you frequently make are also things you commonly advise patients against.
You’re ready to make positive changes, but you’re not sure how to work them into your hectic schedule. Here are a few easy tips to help improve your well-being.
4 Ways for Nurses to Stay Healthy and Fit
Bring Healthy Meals and Snacks to Work
If your diet largely consists of cafeteria food, vending machine fare, and whatever your colleagues have brought into the breakroom to share — i.e., baked goods — this is a problem. Without proper planning, it isn’t always possible to find nutritious fare at home to bring with you — or even the time to pack a lunch — so it’s important to think ahead.
Designate one day of the week for meal prep. From cooking to placing the food in grab-and-go containers, use this time to get all snacks and meals for your shifts ready to put in your work bag. This leaves no excuse not to eat healthier because you’ve already put in the effort.
Stay Hydrated During Your Shift
No doubt, you spend a lot of time making sure your patients are hydrated, but you probably don’t give yourself the same consideration. There’s a myriad of reasons health experts generally recommend drinking at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day — but you already know that. Stay on track by purchasing a big water bottle you can bring to work and leave at your station — or wherever your employer allows — and drink throughout your shift.
Regulate Your Sleep Schedule
If you work nights or very early in the morning, it can be hard to maintain a steady sleep schedule, but doing so is a must. Find a relaxing way to wind down before bed, so you’re able to get your mind and body into a sleep mode. If you work nights, get blackout curtains for your bedroom to create an environment conducive to sleep.
Make Exercise a Priority
Fitting exercise into a hectic schedule can be a challenge, so schedule it into your day. Having a designated time set aside for fitness will ensure you don’t get too busy and let it go by the wayside.
It’s also wise to make exercise as accessible as possible. Join a gym near work or home or consider investing in at-home fitness equipment, so a long drive doesn’t cause you to skip sessions.
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