Self-Care and the Year of the Nurse
By: American Nurses Association
This year is special. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared 2020 the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” in honor of the 200th birthday anniversary of Florence Nightingale.
Yes, 2020 is a year of recognition and celebration for nurses, even in the midst of COVID-19. It’s also the perfect time to focus more on self-care and your own health and wellness — for you and your patients.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few ideas:
Motivation to exercise is hard to keep when your workout routine bores you. While discipline may keep you going (after all, no one is always motivated), you can get that excitement back with something new. Besides, physical activity is great for your mental health too!
Once we are cleared to be in public again together, try a unique group exercise class that you’ve never done before. Bring a friend along with you (you know you’ve missed them!) and go out of your comfort zone. Joining a group exercise class is a great way to mix up your workout, make new friends, and have fun. In the meantime, workout from home. Look for classes you can participate in online.
New exercise ideas include:
- Battle ropes
- Aerial yoga
Learn more about these 6 group exercise classes to inspire your workouts.
Did you know that almost 6 in 10 nurses are overweight or obese? The average body mass index (BMI) of nurses falls in the overweight range, at 28.5. We know as health professionals that poor nutrition can not only lead to weight gain, but also increase the odds of problems like stroke, diabetes, infertility, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer.
Nurses can make healthier food choices — one bite at a time. There are 5 food trends making the rounds that are healthy, responsible options for nurses:
- Ancient grains
- Healthy snacks
- Plant-based foods
- Non-alcoholic beverages
Discover more about these food trends to improve your nutrition.
Forty-two per cent of nurses get less than the 7 to 9 hours of recommended sleep per night. That’s lower than the national average!
When sleep affects nurse health, patient care suffers. Learn more about the health risks of not getting enough sleep.
This year, make a commitment to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night. Follow these tips for getting a good night’s rest:
- Reduce your caffeine consumption closer to bedtime
- Turn off all electronics an hour before you go to bed
- Stick to a regular bedtime every day
- Create a gentle bedtime routine
- Space out mealtimes and eat at predictable times each day
Quality of Life
Workplace stress has a major impact on quality of life. If you’re too stressed at work, it’s easy to bring that unhappiness and frustration home with you. This lack of joy bleeds into every facet of your life, affecting both physical and mental health.
Luckily, research suggests that simple mindfulness techniques can help alleviate tension and have long-term health benefits. There are easy ways you can relieve stress, such as:
There are so many components of nurse safety that impact your wellness. Bullying, fatigue, sharp injuries and patient handling and mobility are just some of the hazards that put nurses at risk. For instance, did you know that moving and lifting patients without the proper equipment is one of the most common tasks that leads to injury?
Safety should always be a top priority for your own self-care. But if it has fallen down your list, the Year of the Nurse is the perfect time to reprioritize. Brush up on your knowledge of safe patient handling and mobility, workplace violence prevention, nurse staffing, infection prevention and control, and immunizations.
Focus on You during the Year of the Nurse
During the Year of the Nurse, make the choice to focus on your health and wellness. Need a little support and encouragement? Join Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™, a nurse wellness initiative by ANA Enterprise that is free and open to everyone. You can work with other nurses to improve your health in all of the above areas through discussion boards, challenges, a health survey, and more!