Self-care is more than just a marketing phrase or buzzword. It’s a necessity. While everyone can benefit from a proper self-care routine, it’s especially helpful and effective for those who have high-demand jobs or run the risk of burning out because they’re always on the go.
As a travel nurse, it’s easy to let your health and well-being fall by the wayside when you have so much to do. You spend all of your time caring for others, but may be forgetting to take care of yourself, in the process.
So, what can you do to not only make self-care a priority but make certain healthy habits part of your daily routine?
Practicing self-care is one of the best ways to manage your mental health. Nursing is, inherently, a stressful career path. As of February 2021, 98% of hospital nurses reported their work was mentally and physically demanding. As a traveling nurse, you have to deal with additional stressors like being away from family and friends, and perhaps even being in unfamiliar countries where you don’t speak the same language or aren’t familiar with the cultures.
Stress management for nurses is crucial. Thankfully, there are plenty of little things you can include in your daily routine to reduce stress, which can result in a lower risk of developing depression and/or anxiety. Dealing with those potential issues before they become problematic will make it easier to regularly manage your mental wellness. Try incorporating some of the following into your daily routine to reduce stress:
- Wear calming scents like lavender to induce relaxation
- Eat healthy meals
- Limit caffeine
- Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water before a shift
- Get a full night’s sleep
Things like meditation and mindfulness can also be regular parts of your routine. By spending a few minutes each morning or evening focusing on your breathing and letting go of any negative thoughts, you will feel more relaxed as you start or finish your day, setting the right tone for relaxation.
Taking care of your body is just as important as managing your mental health. Nursing can often be a physically-demanding job. It requires stamina and strength to stand long hours, walk everywhere, and help to move and assist patients. Unfortunately, those demands can contribute to fatigue or aching muscles.
Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to make physical self-care a part of your routine. Diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep are the trifecta when it comes to taking care of your body. All three can help to boost your energy levels, give your body a chance to “repair” itself, and boost your immunity to reduce your risk of getting sick.
Regularly managing your diet and exercise routine can help in additional ways, too. We don’t have to tell you how important accurate eyesight is when you’re a nurse. But, did you know what you eat and how frequently you work out can actually improve your eye health? Nutrients like Vitamin C and E, essential fatty acids, and zinc are all great for your eyes, and they’re found in healthy foods like leafy greens, fish, eggs, and lean red meat.
You don’t have to restrict yourself from the things you love, and you don’t have to spend hours in the gym each day. But, by choosing to make healthy meals, finding 30 minutes a day to move your body, and establishing a sleep routine, you’ll help your body to stay stronger and healthier, so you can help others in need.
Remember, self-care isn’t selfish. You can’t pour from an empty cup, so take the time to develop healthy routines that focus on your wellness. You might be surprised by how much better you’ll feel and how much more you can do.
We hope you found these tips for establishing a proper self-care routine helpful. Have you established a self-care routine? Would you like to share it with your fellow travel nurses? Comment it below.