One of the most fulfilling and lucrative professions in the healthcare industry is nursing. Many people choose to work in this field because they strongly desire to make a difference in other people’s lives. However, the profession has certain downsides in addition to its many advantages.
When starting your career, you might have pictured yourself energetically performing your job duties, mentally and physically. However, as time passed, your mental and emotional health care started to suffer due to the long shifts, hectic schedules, and demanding patients. And you may find it challenging to be compassionate and empathic yet be strong in the face of pain and disasters.
For this reason, nurses must find strategies to maintain their emotional health. After all, how do they expect to provide their patients with high-quality care if they don’t prioritize themselves?
Not sure where to start or what to do? No worries. In this article, we have listed effective strategies to help you maintain your emotional health:
Make time for learning and mastering skills
Find the things to do that make you happy and satisfied. Taking some “me time” is a great idea to lower your stress levels and improve your emotional health. It might involve reading, pursuing an advanced degree, painting, watching a movie, etc. Spending time on something you love or enjoy will help you feel better.
There is a high possibility that your busy daily schedule may be keeping you from pursuing higher education. Yet the truth is focusing on professional development will boost your confidence at work, increase job satisfaction, and enhance your emotional health. Additionally, advanced education can pave the way for leadership positions in the nursing industry.
Are you a practicing nurse but wish to advance in your career? It might seem confusing to you whether to enroll in the MSN or DNP program to land advanced job roles. If such is the case, conducting an MSN vs DNP comparison is the best way to help you make the best decision that aligns with your professional goals.
Get good quality sleep
It should go without saying that it’s crucial to set aside time to relax and sleep properly. Unfortunately, it’s typical for nurses to experience sleep deprivation when they put in long hours, particularly those who work night shifts. However, not getting adequate sleep can be detrimental to physical and emotional health.
A nurse who lacks sleep is more likely to provide subpar patient care and make medical mistakes. Moreover, your capacity to take the initiative, make judgments, and utilize knowledge may be affected by sleep deprivation.
Therefore, get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Exercise regularly during the day to enhance your sleep quality and reduce caffeine use before bed. The best course of action is to maintain a strict sleeping routine. Keeping your bedroom clean, calm, and dark can also assist in your ability to sleep soundly.
Consume healthy food
Eating well-balanced meals is another way to keep your mental health and feel renewed. Conversely, eating unhealthily or getting inadequate nutrients can result in low self-esteem, anxiety, despair, and other negative emotions.
Due to their busy schedules and long, demanding shifts, nurses may find it challenging to find time to eat. Stopping by the nearest diner to grab a quick meal seems far more enticing when you’re busy, worn out, and hungry than making a nutritious meal from scratch. The odd indulgence in junk food won’t likely result in any long-term issues but making it a habit can destroy your health.
Fill your plate with nutritious foods, including fruits, veggies, proteins, and whole grains. Be mindful not to skip any meal throughout the day. Thus, eat well to give your best at work and stay energetic all day.
Additionally, remember to sip on lots of water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. Also, you could substitute green tea for coffee. And while you are at it, be sure to avoid or minimize your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
Share your feelings
Let’s admit it, working as a nurse professional can be emotionally taxing. It can be challenging to deal with patients and their families, mainly when a patient passes away. Unfortunately, nurse professionals often dismiss it as just another aspect of their job, but it’s crucial to identify and process your feelings when you have some alone time.
After that, try not to bottle up your emotions, as it might make you feel frustrated, angry, and resentful. Therefore, find a trusted person in your family, friend, or colleague to vent your feelings.
Invest time in physical activity
Keeping up with or even considering engaging in a fitness routine may seem like a long shot. However, it might be the healthiest course of action you can take. The nursing industry requires a lot of physical and mental work. Nurses work hard to provide the finest care for their patients, but doing so occasionally comes at the expense of their health. One of the best methods to prepare your body to withstand the difficulties associated with nursing is to work out.
According to research, exercising has advantages that extend beyond one’s physical health. For example, it can reduce stress and depressive symptoms, boost your mood, and enhance your energy levels and overall emotional health.
One of the typical reasons most people quit their workout routine is they can’t find a fitness routine they enjoy. Thus, to avoid such a situation, a better idea is to decide which physical activity you love the best. It might be anything, such as yoga, dance, weightlifting, cycling, or simply walking around your neighborhood to start the day. After all, your main objective is to find a physical activity that keeps your desire to move your body over the long run.
It is no secret that nursing is a demanding career. But unfortunately, these demands have an impact on the emotional well-being of nurses. And even while you might believe that your job and patients should always come first, if your emotional health is suffering, you won’t be able to provide them with the best care they require.
Thus, don’t try to suppress your emotions. Instead, a simple tip is to allow yourself to accept and acknowledge your feelings and emotions, even if it’s for five minutes. In addition, finding other ways to cope with emotional stress will significantly enhance your quality of life and the care you deliver to your patients.