16 Ways to be a Healthier Nurse

food-fight-573This is the year of change for me. I’m determined to focus on everything I think is important, and the first thing on the list is myself! We’re all tired, and some part of our body is usually hurting, but make today the day you do something different.

1. Wash your hands. We all wash our hands, but really be conscious of doing it. And literally wash your hands before and after all patient contact. We’ve all let one slip a few times…

2. You can find evidence to support practically any type of eating regiment, but one thing is for certain—you shouldn’t go all day without a meal. Slow it down and eat something.

3. Drink plenty of water. Like eating, different recommendations suggest drinking different amounts of water a day. But practically all of us don’t drink enough water! Think of your favorite thing to drink and try to replace it with water. I’ve also seen people fill up a pitcher with water and literally mark times of the day on the pitcher. That way, when they see that they haven’t reached their “goal” they know to drink up.

4. Get plenty of rest. This is the one that I have the most trouble with, since I average about 3-4 hours of sleep a night (if I’m lucky!). But everyone’s brain functions so much better when they get good quality sleep. Make your bedroom your oasis. If you get the best sleep in complete darkness, invest in some blackout drapes or at least buy a sleep mask. If you sleep like a baby with a little white noise, buy a box fan or download a white-noise app (most are free).

5. Don’t delay seeking medical advice. The saying is that nurses basically have to be dying before they go to a doctor. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Fork over a co-pay and get a second opinion (from your own)!

6. Make smarter choices. It’s hard to just turn on a healthy switch and magically start doing everything the healthy way. But we can all make smarter choices, even if they’re small ones. Instead of fries, order veggies. Snack on fruit and nuts. Take the stairs when you could take the elevator. Baby steps!

7. Find a friend. It’s always easier to do something when you have a friend along for the ride, encouraging you and making changes with you. So find a coworker who wants to get healthy, or healthier, and start doing things together.

8. Control your stress level. My husband can make me angry in 100 different ways in a single solitary hour. I learned a long time ago to ask myself—will you still be angry about this in a year? If the answer is no, let it go. That’s my motto 🙂 It’s saved my sanity (and my marriage!).

9. Get your steps in. Everyone is wearing some sort of tracking thing nowadays. Set a daily or hourly goal and track your steps to make sure you’re getting those steps in.

10. Find a way to relax. Make time for yourself. Nurses are all about taking care of other people, they often put themselves last on their list. Find a way to relax and allow yourself time for that activity.

11. Even if it’s when you go to the bathroom for a few minutes, find any time to stretch. Bend down, point your toes, and stretch to get the circulation going in your legs.

12. Don’t come to work sick. For the love of God, please!!! Don’t get everyone else sick and take the time you need to allow your body to heal.

13. Stay vaccinated. It amazes me that there are still hospitals that don’t require their healthcare providers to be vaccinated. Overwhelming evidence supports vaccines.

14. Spend time outdoors on your days off. You’d be surprised how many people need Vitamin D! So even if it is only on your days off, grab some water and go outside. You’d be amazed at how good a little sunshine and fresh air can make you feel.

15. Take a multivitamin. Because so many of us aren’t getting the amount of daily recommended vitamins in what we eat, consider taking a multivitamin to help level that playing field.

16. Work out weekly. I know the recommendation is to work out every day. But this is not reality for most of us. So set a goal to work out once or twice a week. This will help all other areas of your life, to help you get to a healthier you!

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