Self-Care For Nurses: Stay Healthy Both At Home And At Work

Healthcare workers have been battling this pandemic since its emergence in 2020, and their efforts have protected people from contracting COVID-19. But has the virus affected the mental health of our nurses too? Yes! Many nurses complained about declining mental health even before the pandemic had struck. Several factors have contributed to nurses’ shattered psychological well-being during an ongoing pandemic. That’s why we’ll propose some tactics for nurses to regain their health.

Self-care suggestions for nurses with stress

Self-Care For Nurses
Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy from Pexels

In 2019, a British report claimed that around one-third of their nurses considered quitting because of declining mental health. In 2020, nearly one-fifth of the American nursing workforce expressed intense symptoms of depression. Similarly, studies conducted at the beginning of the pandemic discovered that half of our RNs were suffering from stress and anxiety. Also, families and friends of those responders are struggling as a result, meaning they have to put extra effort into taking care of their loved ones. For example, First Responder Spouses might have to respect stronger boundaries from their loved ones during this time. So, what causes nurses to experience mental health issues? The factors may involve dealing with an unknown disease, watching their colleagues succumb to it, and clinics/hospitals being understaffed. Thus, we suggest nurses learn to maintain their health both at home and at work. We will discuss self-care tips suggested by mental health experts for RNs today.

These experts have earned a doctorate in nursing science, which RNs can also achieve through e-learning portals. Students and professionals now have the opportunity to enhance their educational qualifications by using distance learning facilities to attain advanced credentials. We propose pursuing DNP programs online to hone your nursing expertise and handle mental health challenges more effectively. You may select any of the several DNP concentrations available, including paediatrics, anaesthetics, and mental health. This degree also enables you to promote mental well-being among RNs to perform better at their jobs. Thus, mental health experts have proposed these methods to retain your mental health:

1. Set some boundaries

You don’t have to remain readily available to your employers 24/7, especially when you have some personal obligations to handle. We suggest setting clear-cut boundaries at work and home to achieve the proper work-life balance. So, turn off your phone and don’t answer calls/texts once your shift’s over. Learn to say “no” when you find your mental health vulnerable. Find some time for the hobby you cherish instead of something your friends are pushing you to do. You deserve some “me time.”

2. Find some hobbies

painting

Spending some time engaged in pastimes can improve your mental health. Research indicates people acquiring hobbies aren’t as vulnerable to anxiety or depression. These activities make you feel relaxed by keeping you grounded in the present. For nurses, hobbies serve as outlets for their stress and help them healthily express their emotions. Don’t forget everyone has different selections when it comes to the perfect pastime. Consider these options if you’re feeling overwhelmed now:

  • Yoga
  • Pottery
  • Painting
  • Gardening
  • Martial Arts

3. Take more breaks

Don’t overwork yourself by functioning like a machine. Instead, take breaks to recharge yourself by unplugging more often during your twelve-hour shift. Self-care involves taking intervals for twenty minutes for self-relaxation. You can walk around a little, watch YouTube, or write down your thoughts in a journal. These much-needed breaks prevent your mind from failures while keeping your energy levels up. So, taking short pauses can help nurses avoid burnout as well.

4. Exercise more often

Exercise

Exercise helps nurses regulate their emotions and retain their mental well-being. Working out every day doesn’t just improve your physical fitness, but it also relieves your stress. When we exercise, our body produces hormones called endorphins. These chemicals serve as natural painkillers. They uplift your mood, make you feel self-confident, and help you combat stress. Experts believe working out for thirty minutes every day counts as proper self-care. Doing so allows RNs to stay healthy.

5. Sleep properly

A 2019 survey revealed RNs nationwide were resting for just seven hours on average. It means nurses don’t receive the proper amount of shut-eye needed for a fresh start the following day. It causes sleep deprivation, leading to declining mental health among health workers. Your body needs to recharge every night to function properly. Therefore, self-care includes getting sufficient rest. You should avoid consuming alcoholic and caffeinated beverages before you go to sleep and keep your room dark for supreme comfort. Maybe sleep’s the remedy your mind needs nowadays.

6. Eat healthy stuff

Healthy food

Don’t overlook the importance of nutritional well-being to avoid mental health issues. Experts state that eating healthy meals can reduce the negative influence of stress on your body. Hence, we suggest nurses consume more fruits and vegetables during lunch breaks instead of fast food. Unfortunately, research indicates many RNs today are obese or overweight despite serving as healthcare workers during an ongoing pandemic. Hospital administrators are now responsible for promoting healthy eating among the nursing workforce. So, what sort of food should nurses eat to reduce anxiety? Here’s a list of foods that may help RNs maintain their mental health:

  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Turmeric
  • Green tea
  • Fatty fish
  • Dark chocolate

7. Socialize with coworkers

Always remember, humans, are social animals and require company to survive. From good getaways to small talk with friends, you need to socialize to keep your mental health intact. So, we suggest nurses socialize with coworkers by talking about their weekends or enjoying luncheons with them. You should take some for your partner, children, parents, and off-work friends as well. Avoid bringing your work home with you since it can harm your mental well-being.

8. Distract yourself

Reading

Find distractions whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed by your emotions. What are some usual distractions to help nurses detox? You can listen to a podcast/audiobook to refresh your mind. How about a thrilling crossword puzzle? Reading books has never hurt anyone, so immerse yourself in your favourite author’s literary works. It’s also exciting to visit your local museum or aquarium. These activities can help RNs stimulate their minds, thereby preventing a mental breakdown because of overwork!

Conclusion

Burnout remains a common problem among healthcare practitioners. Statistics show that 40% of nurses were already suffering from burnout before the pandemic. But COVID-19 has increased these cases up to 70%. Hence, mental health experts recommend nurses practice self-care techniques to improve their mental well-being. So, what are some well-known methods for boosting one’s mental health? You can adopt a hobby, listen to music, eat fruits/vegetables, and continue journaling as domestic self-care methods. At work, you can find some time to meditate, socialize with colleagues, chat with your mentor, and walk around when you’re on a break. These tactics do help you regulate your emotions as a nurse.

Self-Care For Nurses: Stay Healthy Both At Home And At Work 1

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