Nurses spend so much time caring for their patients’ health that it is often easy to neglect their own health. A stressful job combined with long, unpredictable hours and being away from home can weigh heavily on a nurse’s health, so it is important that you look after your own mental and physical health so that you can be in top shape to help your patients.
Check out these seven easy self-care tips to ensure you look after yourself while out on assignment!
Easy self-care tips:
1 – Get Plenty of Sleep
Easier said than done, eh! Travel nurses work irregular hours and alternating shifts so getting the adequate amount of sleep is not always easy. However, to function at its optimum, your body needs sufficient rest, so it’s vital to prioritize sleep in your schedule. To ensure a good rest, avoid eating any big meals before sleep and try to put away all electronic devices at least one hour before bed. If you are finding it tough to get to sleep, you could try some apps like Pzizz or Calm, which have sleep meditations and music that can help you catch those well-needed Z’s.
Long hours and a stressful working environment can mean nurses find it difficult to find the time to cook up healthy meals. This leads to binge eating and indulging in those unhealthy snacks from the hospital vending machines during break time. “An unhealthy and unbalanced nutrition plan can lead to serious problems in the long term as well as affecting your ability to tend to your patients. Some ways of maintaining a healthy diet while on the road include packing healthy nutritious snacks, prepping meals the day before, avoiding added sugars, and drinking plenty of water,” says Melissa Mullin, a psychology writer at Student writing services and Essay Roo.
3 – Try Meditation
Studies have shown that just a few minutes of meditation every day can significantly help in the management of stress and anxiety that we face in our daily lives. In a job that can be stressful and hectic at the best of times, travel nurses around the world have turned to meditation to help cope with the demands of the role. Beginners can start off with 5 – 10 minutes of meditation prior to work and can gradually build it up. Apps such as Headspace and Insight Timer have excellent guided meditations as well as soothing soundscapes to help you relax and ease your tensions.
4 – Don’t Forget to Exercise
Finding the time to exercise as a travel nurse can be tricky, to say the least. Shift work and long hours mean exercise can often be neglected, but its importance can not be understated. Exercise leads to the production of endorphins which helps with reducing stress. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercising for at least 20 – 60 minutes 3 – 5 times a week which will help keep a healthy cardiovascular system and boost your mental health. Walking, cycling, running and swimming are all excellent activities which you can do whilst on the road. Making them perfect for our list of easy self-care tips.
5 – Explore Your Surroundings
It’s important to find a nice balance between your work and social life as a travel nurse. While tending to your patients is obviously a major part of your life, you also need to be able to let your hair down and have your own fun. “Living away from home can be a lonely prospect, but it certainly doesn’t have to be that way. Try to connect with other nurses and socialize on your days off. Go out for dinner, have a few drinks or enjoy the surrounding nature with fellow nurses or even better meet some new friends away from the hospital,” says Alice Barber, an HR manager at Write my essay and Resumention.
6 – Work For a Reputable Recruiter
It is important that travel nurses work for a recruiter who prioritizes their employee’s health and wellbeing. Being overworked and not looked after properly can be seriously damaging to a travel nurse’s mental and physical health, so choosing a reputable recruiter going forward is vital. You should have a good relationship with your employer, who should be available anytime to support you in your journey.
7 – Consider Therapy
Having a trained mental health professional can be really important for a travel nurse. Having somebody there who can evaluate your mental health and map out a path for going forward will really help you cope with the pressure of the job. Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP’s) offer emotional support to nurses, and you should ensure you have access to this through your recruiter.
We hope you found these 7 easy self-care tips helpful. Have you found any easy self-care tips or routines on your journey as a travel nurse that you would like to share? Comment them below.
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