With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, life has become slightly hectic for healthcare workers all around the world. While you may be spending more and more time at the hospital helping those that need it the most it is still important, if not more so with the current situation, that you practice self-care techniques to keep your mood up and mind rested. To give you a helping hand, here are some self-care activities for nurses.

Self-Care Activities For Nurses: Looking After Yourself

As a leading medical agency in the private sector, we see a lot of passionate individuals wanting to make their way into the healthcare industry. Their passion and dedication is quite often placed on others rather than themselves, and while it is something that brings happiness and clarity to others, it can leave nurses feeling drained and tired. Looking after yourself is one of the many ways in which you can put all of your energy into looking after others. So, here is all you need to know about self-care and ways to destress after a long shift:

Woman Drinking Tea

Why is Self-Care Important?

Taking care of yourself is something that nurses often neglect after a hard day’s work and long hour shifts. However, it is extremely important, particularly in times like the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, that you not only care for those on the hospital ward but you also take care of yourself at home. With self-care you can instantly lift your mood, provide family members and even your patients with more seroquel, as well as feeling more energetic even after a hard and long day.

It is completely understandable that with the hard work all of the nurses in the UK and around the world are putting into the care of others, you can feel deflated and tired. While you may want to curl up and take a nap, it is important that you continue with your usual home activities, along with taking a few minutes out of your day to complete some calming and relaxing techniques.

Self-care refers to both your mind and your body, so it is essential that you complete activities that are going to energise your body as well as clear your mind. Try your best to make self-care a habit, whether that be incorporating it into your daily routine or booking time aside when you know you have a spare minute or two to complete a self-care activity. If you’re struggling for ideas and inspiration on the best ways to take your mind off work and look after yourself, here are just a few methods you can try.

Nurse Smiling

1. Exercising To Clear The Mind

As you will most likely already be aware, exercise has an abundance of health benefits both physically and mentally. Small workouts at home to a daily walk around the block can have a massive impact on how you feel; it can boost confidence and give you time to empty your thoughts and take in the fresh air. Just some of the many benefits that come alongside regular exercise include:

  • Weight control – a healthy weight often means a healthy heart, and exercise can minimise the risk of gaining weight, which is a common sign of stress.
  • Reduces risk of heart disease – regular exercise can strengthen your heart and improve blood circulation, which raises the level of oxygen pumping around your body. This can help to reduce the risk of heart disease as well as high cholesterol, coronary artery disease and the risk of having a heart attack.
  • Manages blood sugar and insulin levels – this can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. It also helps those that already have these conditions to manage them.
  • Improves mental health – your body releases chemicals during exercise that can help to improve moods and relax you, which can help you manage and deal with stressful situations.
  • Strengthens muscles and bones – the more you exercise, the more your muscles strengthen, making daily tasks easier to handle.
  • Improves sleep – with exercise you tire yourself out, which can, therefore, make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep for longer.

Timing is not something that you need to worry about when it comes to exercise as little changes to your daily routines can make it easier to incorporate fitness into your average working day. Taking a quick 10-minute walk after work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and dancing to some music with the family are all easy ways to get some exercise. The Active Times has some helpful ways you can remain active while doing small tasks around the house or even at work, such as standing up and walking around while on the phone.

Woman Doing Home Workout

2. Deep Breathing Techniques

Meditation and yoga are both great ways to help reduce stress and relax the mind. Taking a few moments out of your day to practise breathing techniques through mindful meditation can have a significant impact on the rest of your day as well as your mental health. Breathing deeply can help you to release all of the negative toxins in your body and inhale the positive fresh air to help you feel rejuvenated after a hard day’s work. Combining mindfulness activities with deep breathing comes alongside many benefits, and can help to:

  • Reduce stress
  • Control anxiety
  • Promote emotional health
  • Enhance your self-awareness
  • Lengthens your attention span

Meditation works by using your brain waves to create a relaxing harmony to strengthen your mind. It stimulates peace, clarity and happiness within your mind and can, therefore, help you to project this through your relationships with others as well as your work life. Meditation can help us to eliminate any negative thoughts that we might have, and can be carried out anywhere you wish, whether that be on your bed with your legs crossed, or sat at a table with your eyes closed. We would highly recommend that if possible, try meditating outside on the grass; this gives you the perfect balance of peacefulness and natural surroundings. If you would like to know more about how meditation works and how to use it to your full advantage, take a look at Huff Post’s meditation 101 article.

Woman Deep Breathing

3. Spending Time With Family

A good dose of family time can have a significant impact on how you feel, giving you a different perspective on your day through changing atmospheres and smiling faces. While you may not want to bring work home to the family, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the company of someone that loves you. Even if you do not tell your loved ones about your stressful day, they can quite often lift your mood by showing their support in other ways. For example, simple things such as cooking you a nice hearty meal after your shift, or sitting together to play a board game, are perfect ways to spend time with the family to help you leave work, at work. Why not give these quarantine family bonding activities a go:

  • Movie night
  • Bake a cake
  • Sit down together for dinner
  • Create a picnic outside
  • Camp in the garden
  • Get creative and make something together

Family Having Dinner

4. Staying Hydrated

Although we are all more than aware of the importance of drinking water, many of us have fallen guilty of going hours on end without any form on hydration. When your sole focus is on an important task and caring for others, it can become easy to forget about your body’s needs. The average human requires around two litres of water a day to remain healthy and prevent dehydration, but it can be hard to consume this much water when working on a busy ward. There are many different ways in which you can encourage yourself to drink more water each day, including the following:

  • Use a marked water bottle: A marked water bottle is ideal for visually keeping track of how much water you have drunk throughout the day. Bottles are printed with each hour of the day to mark your progress. John Lewis has a dotted hydration tracker that adds a dot every time you fill it up.
  • Download an app: There are now tonnes of different free apps that send notifications to your mobile to remind you to drink water. They also allow you to log how many glasses of water you drink each time to ensure that you reach your daily target. The Quench has a helpful guide on the ten best apps.
  • Add flavour to your water: If you’re less keen on the thought of drinking fresh water there is no harm in adding a fruity twist. Lemon, berries and grapefruit are all ideal for adding flavour to your water. You could even consider purchasing a fruit infuser water bottle from retailers such as Infusion Pro.
  • Experiment with herbal tea: If you are a lover of hot drinks and find yourself reaching over to the kettle every few hours, a great way to up your water intake is to begin drinking herbal tea. Experiment by swapping your mid-morning coffee for a fruity or peppermint tea. Tea Pigs has a wide variety of different herbal tea in stock in just about every flavour!

woman drinking water

5. Writing Down Your Day

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell someone how hard your day has been, and as a nurse, you will know that keeping your stress and feelings inside is not beneficial to your health. If you struggle to share your emotions, or you don’t feel comfortable talking to those at home, then consider writing down your feelings in a journal. A journal is a great method to get your emotions out in a way that only you have to understand, while also allowing you to organise your thoughts. Journal therapy has been used for many years as a method to heal yourself through your own words, and by writing down your thoughts and fears, you can make sense of your emotions aiding you to make changes to provide self-care.

While a journal is a good way to let out your feelings, it is always advised that when possible, you try your best to communicate with someone you trust. Sitting down, even if it is for a five-minute phone call, can have a significant impact on your wellbeing. If you have a loved one that is currently working in hospitals to help care for those with the coronavirus, or other illnesses for that matter, then consider reading CABA’s article for ways to help someone that is stressed. It is important that we all stick together and help one another through this concerning time, and supporting our wonderful nurses is just one way we can do that.

woman writing in journal

Take Care Of Yourself

Healthcare jobs come alongside a number of responsibilities and benefits, knowing that you are helping those that need it the most. However, we know that it can be a little daunting going to work considering the current situation around the world, making it more important than ever to take your self-care into consideration.

Whether you are looking for nursing recruitment or have worked with our healthcare recruiters before, please feel free to contact the team for advice during COVID-19 and how to cope with the progress of the virus. Our nurses and doctors will always be our first priority, and the team are more than happy to help you with this concerning time. We cannot thank all healthcare workers around the world enough for their dedication and support.

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