Although incredibly rewarding, working nurses know firsthand just how demanding, time-consuming, and stressful the profession can be. The backbone of the healthcare system, nurses devote an immense amount of emotional and physical service to patient’s everyday – and can forget to care for themselves in the process.
Dealing with nurse burnout
More and more nurses are feeling the effects of burnout: facing exhaustion, job detachment, and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors. The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) reports that at least 50% of healthcare providers report symptoms of burnout. Between the stress of the job, working an inconsistent schedule, and long hours, it can be challenging for healthcare workers to find the time to relax and care for themselves. It is essential for nurses to care for themselves, so they can provide the best possible car for others. For nurses feeling fatigued, here are some self-care tips to practice to prevent burnout.
Self-care practices for nurses
According to the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics for Nurses, nurses must adopt self-care as a duty to self in addition to their duty to provide care to patients, but this often gets pushed aside. Self-care is very important for nurses, as it can reduce stress, replenish capacity to provide compassion and empathy, and improve the overall quality of care. Establishing a self-care routine can help prevent burnout and benefit your overall health.
Here are five tips to help you incorporate self-care into your routine.
1. Mindful meditation
Taking 10-20 minutes a day to check in with yourself is very important. Meditation can take place anywhere, whether it be a walk around your neighborhood or just sitting on your porch. During this time, you should ask yourself how you are really doing and be completely honest with yourself. Meditation can help reduce negative emotions, enhance self-awareness, and aid in stress management.
2. Getting enough sleep
Adequate sleep is often sacrificed in order to meet the demands of a nurse’s workload. But good sleep has a variety of positive effects, ranging from promoting good physical health to achieving mental clarity. Not getting enough sleep will impact your day-to-day performance and could result in long-term health problems. Putting your sleep schedule to the top of your priorities will help decrease burnout and promote a healthy lifestyle.
3. Get active
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or overworked, incorporating physical activity into your daily schedule can help elevate your mood, produce endorphins, and boost your energy. Physical activity reduces stress, and allows for time to give back to yourself.
4. Practice a healthy diet
Maintaining a healthy diet and drinking a lot of water will help your body function at its highest level, allowing you to work those tiring shifts with no problem. You can do this by limiting the number of processed foods you eat and switching to more natural ones.
5. Practice breathwork
Nurses often cannot find time to themselves during their shifts. Taking a few moments every day to take some deep breaths and relax can significantly decrease your stress levels and improve your quality of life. Start by inhaling through your nose, holding it for a few seconds, then exhaling through your mouth. This method can help clear your mind and keep you focused.
If you’re a nurse, it’s important that you remember that your well-being is just as significant as your patients. For more tips on practicing healthy habits, check out our other articles over on the Maxim Blog!
Action Collaborative on Clinician Well-Being and Resilience. National Academy of Medicine (NAM). (n.d.)
Importance of self-care for nurses and how to put a plan in place. Purdue Global. (n.d.).
Self-care for nurses – 25 proven strategies to take Better Care of yourself. Self-Care For Nurses – 25 Proven Strategies. (n.d.).
Janine Kelbach, R. N. C.-O. B. (2022, February 12). The ultimate guide to self-care for Nurses.