Nurses are professionals who care for sick people in healthcare settings for long hours and are expected to deliver holistic, patient-centered care. Although nursing is a rewarding profession, nurses often face stressful and difficult workdays and unpredictable schedules. While the work of a nurse is courageous, necessary, and meaningful, self-care for nursing professionals is significant to preventing burnout.
Nurse burnout is the loss of motivation and exhaustion of physical strength in nurses, usually caused by frustration or prolonged stress. This usually links to work-related stressors from circumstances, such as work overload, longer shifts (more than forty hours per week), lack of justice, working in a high-stress environment, or compassion fatigue. In order to avoid burnout, nurses first need to know its symptoms. It may include depression, headache, reduced mental and physical energy, inability to focus on tasks, emotional exhaustion, insomnia, and negative thoughts. According to observations, burnout urges nurses to consider exiting the nursing field to bring the pain cycle to an end.
When you as a nurse don’t care enough for yourself and experience burnout, it is when patients might start suffering. This is why you must first protect yourself to improve patient care and outcomes. All you need to do is take steps to care for your emotional, physical, and social well-being. Here are a few tips for you:
- Opt For Online Options to Continue Working towards a Professional Goal
Registered Nurses (RNs) who desire to level up their professional career positions may want to take a step further toward their professional goals. However, the thoughts of workload may hinder them from doing so. Enrolling in an online RN to BSN program can help nurses advance their careers without worrying about anything. Not only will this online option allow you to gain knowledge and clinical skills, but it will help prevent the burnout that most nurses experience. Switching to an online degree program can be one of your best decisions because it will be flexible, and you can balance work and studies.
- Get Adequate Sleep
Practicing good sleep – and getting enough of it is vital to improving physical and mental. Set aside a specific time, at least 8 hours for sleep each night.
Most nurses get inadequate sleep, and sleep deprivation leads to the inability to concentrate and handle tasks efficiently. Not only does this affect your daily performance, but it can take a huge toll on your health and cognitive abilities. The quality of your sleep is also important. In order to enjoy a night of uninterrupted sleep, you need to limit screen time and the consumption of caffeine or alcohol before going to bed. Getting enough sleep can help boost your stamina, motivation, concentration, and alertness.
- Take Breaks
It might be difficult for nurses to take care of other chores after a long twelve-hour shift. Even though these responsibilities are necessary, try to wind up those on your days off. Otherwise, you might overstrain yourself and feel like you are always working.
Take breaks once in a while and prioritize self-care. Short, planned breaks can help you prevent burnout. Even when you are at work, taking a pause is important. Try to take 5-10 minutes from your schedule and do something to recharge yourself, like go outside, take deep breaths and feel the fresh air. These short breaks will help improve your mood, memory, and overall health and allow you to give your best as a nurse.
- Exercise Regularly
It is essential to care for your physical health in a profession like nursing. Exercising regularly keeps you active, directly influencing your emotional and mental health. Nurses need to exercise about thirty minutes every day to keep themselves fit and minimize the risk of any health problems. Going for a 30-minute walk or running to the nearest park can help.
- Incorporate a healthy diet
Taking care of nutrition is one of the ways to prioritize self-care for nurses. As a nurse, your life may be busy, and you may not be able to take care of your diet. Eventually, you either consume processed foods or too many sugary ones, leading to reduced energy. Try meal planning applications or subscribe to the ready-to-prepare fresh meal program, which can deliver fresh meals to your workplace or home. Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, low-fat meat and cheese, fish, and nuts can enhance overall health.
- Talk to Your Loved One
One of the best ways to de-stress is connecting with your loved ones. Talking to people you love can prevent you from feeling alone, eventually leading to anxiety and sadness. Invite a friend to your home for dinner or to join you at a park so you can talk about your worries. Call your loved one or video chat with friends to share what disturbs you. Also, talking about your interests or something other than work can help cheer you up.
- Practice meditation
Meditation is considered an excellent strategy to prevent nurse burnout. Managing work stress sometimes becomes critical for nurses. A possible solution to avoid burnout is to learn meditation techniques. Mindfulness meditation allows nurses to focus on the present moment, which helps them calm their minds and keep everything in perspective.
- Do What You Love
Do you love exploring nature? Are you a pet-lover? Do you love spending time on a beach? Whatever you love spending time with, start doing it frequently. Even if you are unsure what you want to do, take out time for yourself. Maybe a movie night or shopping with a friend? Whatever your heart desires, do it! The more time you spend doing things you love, the less stress you will have in your life. This way, you will be able to attain an enhanced work-life balance.
- Seek Professional Support, If Needed.
Nurses work in high-stress environments, so it is essential to identify how stressful environments can impact your overall health. One way to prioritize your self-care is to consult a therapist or counselor if you feel the need. You can find a variety of such services near you. Moreover, nurses should benefit from such services, especially when offered by their organization.
Nurses spend their entire day serving people, from patient care to comforting patients’ families to connecting with administration and mentoring junior staff. One thing that does not get addressed is self-care. Due to extra workload, lack of appreciation, or longer shifts, nurses may experience burnout. Following these self-care tips will improve their health and mood, allowing them to focus more on their work and handle tasks effectively.