Nine Physical and Mental Health Tips for new RNs

Bravo on completing your nursing program successfully! After undergoing rigorous training, you must be prepared to face tough hospital situations. Your commitment to saving lives is commendable, and your energy levels must be very high. However, no amount of training can prepare you for the physical and mental stress that comes with this profession. As a new registered nurse, it may be helpful for you to remember some tips to keep you physically and mentally fit. By following them, not only will you find your new job easier to handle, but you will also understand the importance of staying healthy to excel in your new role.

Take care of your mental health

You need to accept the fact that being a new registered nurse is highly challenging and perhaps the most crucial part of your nursing career. Nursing will require you to train your mind and body for long work shifts and traumatic situations. Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness are some methods you can adopt for mental wellness and to manage work stress.

Once you learn the art of keeping yourself mentally fit, look for opportunities to grow. Continue to learn, as it’s the way to climb up your career ladder and make a substantial difference in the medical world. Continuous improvement will significantly impact patients’ lives and help you achieve self-actualization. You can enroll in online DNP programs to learn organizational skills. You can even learn to manage and train entire nursing programs and ultimately qualify for higher-paid roles such as a nursing professor or a public health director.

Keep yourself organized

To stay focused on more important tasks, keep less important tasks planned ahead of time. For example, keep work clothes washed, ironed, and ready for the week. Additionally, prep your meals beforehand; set aside the food you will take to work and the food you’ll have when you get home. Moreover, plan other weekly commitments according to your work schedules. Keeping track of a large part of your weekly tasks will relieve you of a great deal of mental stress.

Ask for help

When the stress of the day gets to you, and you feel helpless, always ask for help. You may seek assistance from your colleagues or seniors. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. And knowing when to seek help from a mental health care provider is critical. It shows that you are in tune with your mind and spirit. Mental health is important as a nurse because your job is to give. And you cannot give from an empty cup.

Exercise

Incorporating some sort of fitness routine into your busy schedule is critical. Try to take out at least 30 minutes of your day and go for a jog or long walk. You’ll get some fresh air, which will do wonders for your physical and mental well-being. Taking time out for the gym may be difficult so just take the stairs and avoid elevators at your workplace to improve your stamina. You can also park your car further away and walk to your workplace. Small steps such as these will help you endure long working hours. Keep yourself fit with any exercise routine that suits your schedule. This will increase your energy levels during the day and help you cope with stress much better, ensuring you excel in your nursing career.

Sleep

Sleep is of utmost importance in this profession and vital to staying well physically and mentally. A good sleep of 7 to 8 hours is proven to boost health. Given that this profession doesn’t offer much time to get a good night’s rest, you should prioritize it whenever you get the time. Keep the tech aside, and stay away from caffeine a few hours before you need to hit the bed. Nurses who do not get enough sleep are prone to health risks. Additionally, a lack of sleep will likely result in medical errors and impaired judgments.

Diet

Aside from a lack of sleep, the never-ending demands of being a nurse leave little time to eat a nutritious meal. That is why you should be vigilant about your diet. Having a good wholesome breakfast, like fiber and fruits, will help keep you full for most of the day. Adding nuts and fish to your diet will help you stay immune to diseases and infections, which are an evident part of the hospital environment. A healthy diet is an important fuel for your body and mind. Keep yourself hydrated and keep healthy snacking options easily accessible.

Footwear is important

Another important investment in your physical and mental well-being is good quality, comfortable footwear. Being a nurse requires you to be on foot for long hours of the day. The right footwear will prevent sore feet, backaches, and body aches, reducing fatigue greatly. A small investment such as this is bound to go a long way.

Disconnect

After long work schedules, when you get time off, it’s very important to unwind and take a break from stress and fatigue. Disconnect yourself from unnecessary screen time, for example, and catch up on long-lost sleep. Nurses are prone to suffer from mental stress and depression while dealing with melancholy hospital environments. That is why it’s a good idea to go out for fresh air and surround yourself with the healthy, positive aspects of life.

Maintain healthy relationships

Besides eating and sleeping well, it’s very important to maintain healthy relationships, both at work and in your personal life. A healthy relationship is essential in promoting overall well-being. It makes coping with work stress much easier.  Surrounding yourself with positive people at work and outside will always have a positive impact. On the other hand, staying in toxic relationships and toxic workplace environments will only add to mental stress. As a new registered nurse, you must keep your mental well-being on top of the priority list.

Conclusion

The nursing profession is particularly challenging and demanding. Dealing with the anxiety and pressure of providing quality patient care is a lot of work. Long working hours can adversely affect nurses without proper sleep and diet. That being said, to keep up with the demands of this profession, there are many steps you can take. Nurses, especially new ones, should be mindful of their physical fitness and mental well-being. Pay attention to what your body tells you and aim to lead a healthy lifestyle while still excelling at your job.

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