How to Care For Yourself When You’re Caring For Others

It seems ironic, doesn’t it? Nurses are educated and trained to care for the health of other people, attend to their needs, and use their expertise in health to improve other’s – and it’s easy to assume that taking care of their own health should be easy enough.


Those who don’t know anything about the long shifts and hectic days of a nurse may think it’s simple to squeeze in a bit of me-time in between all the caring, but it’s really not, and many new nurses are finding it difficult to stay on top of their own health goals.

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It’s kind of like mental health care workers experiencing compassion fatigue and neglecting their own psychological needs, just with the difference being that graduate nurses have very little time to attend to their health even if they wanted to. Here’s a quick guide to how you can prioritize yourself as well as a few motivation boosters to get you started.


Sleep, first of all


We tend to talk about exercise and a balanced diet when preaching health measures, and it’s true that they go hand-in-hand when you’d like to be healthy. Sleep should always be mentioned together with these two, though, and sufficient amount of hours in dreamland is equally important as any exercise routine – especially for nurses. You work long hours, often night-shifts, and the stress of the job can even make it difficult to fall asleep when you actually have the chance.


Learn coping mechanisms for when you need to work night shifts and prepare your brain for the new sleep patterns. It means that you have to sleep during the daytime, shut the sun out, and even understand the power of a quick nap during your shifts. Without enough sleep, you won’t be the super-nurse you intended to be, and your patients will have to do without the superior care you could have given if you had eight hours of sleep.


Talk with the leadership


If you feel fatigued from the long hours, itchy from the overwashing, and emotionally drained from working with people in need, it’s time to have a chat with the management. In many cases, they’ll try to help you out and to find solutions to your daily problems – and they certainly should, seeing that an unhealthy nurse will be less focused and at a risk of making major mistakes when treating patients.


It’s a good idea to talk to them if you’re considering to boost your career with an online RN to BSN as well as they might be able to tailor your shifts so that a degree is possible. Many nurses want to progress by taking another degree later on, and it’s important that you don’t burn out by trying to juggle everything at once.


While you’re still a busy nurse, it’s vital that the leadership accommodates for recess and activity throughout the day. Take time to stretch, laugh, and talk to your coworkers; all of this will boost your immune system and put you in a better position for providing excellent care for your patients.


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