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Self Care for Nurses – Essential Changes You Need to Make Today

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Practicing self care for nurses has never been more important. But where do you start?

Changing your diet is important for so many reasons, not just physical health or weight loss. It can also improve your mental health and help a lot with stress, anxiety, and depression.  Start with these dietary changes and self care ideas for nurses.

Drink More Water

Self care for nursesThere are practically an endless amount of benefits to drinking more water, and self care is one of them. When you want to take better care of yourself, drinking water to hydrate should be one of your top priorities.

 It is great for diet and physical health, which in turn can help with your mental health as well. Sometimes, when you are extremely stressed out or having an episode of anger toward someone, sitting alone to drink a glass of water can do wonders for you.  Keep a water bottle handy, so this simple self care technique is always within your reach.

Fill Up On Nutritious Food

Self care for nursesAnother way to change your diet for self care is to fill up on healthier options before eating the less healthy options. This means you are not sticking to a diet, but just trying to add more healthy options like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. If you find that you have a lot of cravings for sweet and salty foods, skip the cookies and fast food, and instead opt for a handful of nuts with a few pieces of dark chocolate. Or if you are going to a party, fill up on veggies and fruit first before going for the less healthy party foods.

Eat More Superfoods

Another way to eat healthier diet while focusing on self care for nurses is to eat super foods. This is another good way to avoid being on a ‘diet’ but just try to follow a healthier eating routine. There are many different superfoods you can try, from fruits and vegetables, to lean protein, nuts, seeds, and even dark chocolate. Here are some super foods to consider:

Best Self Care Tip For Nurses – Find Healthy Comfort Food

If you want to eat healthier, but prefer comfort food, you can still do this! You don’t have to eat nothing but salads and fish just to eat healthy. There are lots of ways to take your favorite comfort foods and make them healthier.

For example, you can make meatloaf by using half ground beef and half ground turkey, make veggie or turkey burgers, or make shepherd’s pie with sweet potatoes and less cheese.

Exercises to Help with Self Care For Nurses Who Feel Stressed

There are a lot of different types of self care activities for nurses, from drawing, adult coloring, or writing in a journal, to taking a bath or eating right. Another thing you can do is exercise, which releases those happy endorphins to relieve stress, and gives you some alone time.

Here are some exercises to try out for self care when you are working on stress relief.

Go for a Walk

Self care for nursesWalking is probably one of the best exercises you can do for self care. It is easy to do with a lot of flexibility.  Furthermore, it doesn’t cost anything, and can be done alone or with others. If you have dogs, you can take them for a walk around the neighborhood or go hiking.

You can walk alone when you have a break at work to de-stress, or walk in the evenings with your kids for some family time.

Walking alone also helps you to really focus your thoughts and provide much needed private time.

Try Unique Workouts

Self care for nursesThere are also some of the less traditional ways to exercise, like going indoor rock climbing, heading to an indoor trampoline center, or taking a barre method class. These workouts provide the same good amount of exercise, but help you try new things at the same time.

Start a Self Care Morning Routine

If you want to pay more attention to yourself and practice self care for nurses, it helps to start by working on your morning routine. If you are just hopping out of bed, grabbing breakfast, and running out the door, you are probably already stressed by the time you get into your car. A healthier option is to start a better morning routine with these tips.

Read a Few Pages in a Book

Self care for nursesIf you can set your alarm for an earlier time, it gives you the chance to catch up on your reading. Find a book that is inspirational and helps motivate you for the day. Read just a few pages or a whole chapter, depending on how much free time you have.

This can be while you are having your morning coffee (or tea), or when your muffins are in the oven. Take advantage of these quiet moments and become absorbed in your favorite book.

Have Quiet Time

Self care for nursesWhether you drink coffee or tea in the morning, you can make this part of your self care ritual. Try to have your first cup of tea in the morning all alone and in silence. You can read a paper, write in your journal, or sit on your patio and listen to the birds chirping as the sun comes up.

This is another great reason to wake up a little earlier than everyone else in your household. You will be amazed by how much better you feel with just a few minutes to yourself.

Unplug Your Devices

Self care for nursesWhen you are trying to start a new morning routine for self care purposes, you should unplug all devices. Don’t try to enjoy a few minutes to yourself by using your cell phone or checking email.

Checking social media too much can also be more stressful. You should turn all electronics off during your self care time in the morning and not turn it on until you absolutely need it.

 A good practice to start is to turn your cell phone off after the alarm goes off to wake you up in the morning.

Why You Should Have a Self Care Journal

journaling for stress relief

One of the top recommendations for practicing self care for nurses is to start a journal. This is so helpful, easy to do, and won’t cost you a lot of money. It is convenient and can be brought with you everywhere.  So, even in the middle of a busy work day, you can grab the journal and write in it for a few minutes.

You Can Express Yourself in a Healthy Way

First of all, when you are dealing with a lot of stress, it can make it hard to focus on anything. However, you may not want to express yourself in a frustrated or angry way, especially with your friends and loved ones.

In order to practice self care with journaling but also express yourself, you should have a journal that is kept private and confidential. Whenever you need to unload your thoughts or feelings, you can do it with the journal.

It Helps you to Find the Root of Your Issues

Also consider what is causing you stress or anxiety. Do you know why you have so much emotional stress? Are you sure you know the reason behind your frequent panic attacks? If you don’t, a journal can be very helpful.

 As you write in the daily entries, try to include information about your mood and how you’re feelings. When you feel a high amount of stress, frustration, anxiety, or depression, use journaling to create your own calm. Then you can look back and see if things like money, work, relationships, or other aspects of your life are becoming triggers for you.

Journaling Provides a Good Distraction

In some cases, your stress causes you to constantly think about what is stressing you out, which can be very overwhelming. If you just want something to take your mind off it, journaling is a great option.

While you are writing in your journal, you aren’t thinking about anything else but what you are journaling about. It is a really good distraction from the different issues you are dealing with that lead to your stress.  It’s like self coaching and  soul therapy, that leads to reflection and healing.

The Proactive Path to Self-Care For Nurses

Self-care for nurses is more effective when it’s an ongoing part of your life. Start being more proactive about self-care. Adopt new habits that will enhance your physical, social, and psychological wellbeing.

Self-Care Habits for Your Physical Wellbeing

  1. Self care for nursesEat more produce. Plan your daily menu around vegetables, fruits, and other whole foods. Most plant foods provide fiber and important vitamins and minerals with relatively few calories.

  2. eat healthy for better self careCut down on salt and sugar. The average American consumes 3 times the recommended amount of sugar, and almost 90% consume too much sodium. Avoiding most processed foods will help you to stay within safe limits.

  3. Self care for nursesSleep well. Your body and mind need adequate sleep to function well. Darken your bedroom and block out background noise so you can get 7 to 8 hours of quality slumber each night.

  4. quit smoking for better health and wellnessQuit smoking. Tobacco causes cancer and damages your heart. Most smokers need five attempts or more to quit permanently so keep trying. Talk with your doctor about medication or other tools that may help.

Self-Care Habits for Your Social Wellbeing

  1. spend time with family for stress reliefEat family dinners. Eating together strengthens family connections. In addition to enjoying the conversation and shared experience, you’re also likely to eat a more balanced diet.

  2. spend time with friends for stress reliefCultivate friendships. Supportive friendships enrich your life by building your confidence and resilience. Schedule standing dates for tea or lunch. Call a friend when you’re upset or when you want to share happy news.

  3. online support for stress reliefJoin a club or online support group. Some experts believe that loneliness can be just as hazardous to your health as smoking. If you’re searching for a sense of community, do volunteer work or join a club where you can find others who share your interests.

Self-Care Habits for Your Psychological Wellbeing

  1. Self care for nursesLive mindfully. Meditate daily or engage in other practices that help you to focus on the here and now. Slow down and concentrate on one activity at a time.

  2. hobby for stress reliefFind a hobby. Fill your leisure hours with rewarding projects. Learn to play a musical instrument or study a foreign language. Cook gourmet dinners or build wooden furniture. There are many inexpensive hobbies or pastimes where you can earn some income to cover the costs.

  3. laughter for stress reliefLaugh it up. Find the courage to laugh at yourself. Brighten up a tough day by watching a funny video or listening to your coworker’s jokes.

  4. practice gratitude for stress relief and self careManage stress. Enjoy deep breathing or other relaxation methods that work for you. Take frequent breaks throughout the day to relieve tension and restore your energy before tackling your next task. Replace anger and sadness with forgiveness and gratitude.

Life is overwhelming and challenging, especially when you have a demanding career as a nurse. You’ll deal with all your stresses and challenges more successfully if you practice self care and healthy lifestyle habits consistently.

The proactive path to self-care for nurses will help you to look after yourself and keep enjoying the activities (and the career) you love.

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