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Mental and Physical Fitness for Nurses

A nutritious diet, exercise and adequate sleep not only improve physical health, but contribute greatly to mental health.

Being a nurse is stressful, and as a result, it is important to take care of your health. With that in mind, the following are some tips for nurses to stay mentally and physically healthy.

Importance of Self-Care in Nursing

It is a myth that taking care of yourself is selfish. Rather, the opposite is true; you need to keep yourself healthy through self-care so you can care for others. If you neglect yourself, you run the risk of contracting communicable diseases, developing chronic conditions and suffering from other maladies. You are also likely to feel tense and irritable, so self-care in nursing should be a top priority.

Physical Health Tips

There are many ways you can keep yourself healthy while still meeting your professional responsibilities. The foundation of health is a nutritious diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein (such as fish or chicken) and healthy fats (like olive or coconut oil). While your personal and professional obligations may keep you very busy, you can still eat healthy with a little planning. Cook simple foods ahead of time and keep healthy snacks on hand.

Regular exercise is also essential to good health, and although you certainly can join a fitness club, you do not need to in order to make exercise a part of your life. Simply choose an exercise you enjoy, and you will be more likely to stick with it. Great options include walking, swimming, weight training, and stretching exercises such as Pilates. Even gardening and household cleaning add some healthy activity to your day.

If you have not been exercising lately, start slowly with mild exercise for short periods of time, and check with your healthcare provider before starting an exercise routine. Getting enough sleep, which is typically between 7 to 9 hours per night for an adult, is also necessary.

Mental Health Tips

Being a nurse can be mentally and emotionally taxing. That stress can lead to many symptoms and illnesses. To counteract tension and anxiety, you need to make stress management and mental health habits part of your daily routine. Many of the strategies that improve your physical health, such as a nutritious diet, exercise and adequate sleep, also contribute to your mental health.

In addition, activities like meditation, relaxation and recreation can do wonders for your mental health. Being around other people and building healthy relationships is also beneficial from a mental health standpoint.

Self-care in nursing goes hand-in-hand with patient care, so heed these tips, and you will be on your way to improving both your own and your patients’ health.

Learn about The University of Texas at Arlington online RN to BSN program.

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