You probably won’t find “healthy role model” in any nursing job description, but patients—consciously or subconsciously—do look up to their nurses as role models of healthy behavior.
Nursing is an incredibly rewarding career, and it’s also physically, emotionally and mentally demanding. To provide the best care for their patients, nurses must also attend to their own health and well-being; walk the walk, as the saying goes. One of the best ways to lead a healthy life is to simply make a habit of it. Here are five healthy habits all nurses should add to their daily routine.
1. Never skip breakfast.
Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So why do so many people still skip it? Well, life has a way of getting busy, and the nursing profession can put added stress on your schedule. Even if you think those extra 20 minutes of sleep are worth it, make a habit of never skipping out on a healthy breakfast.
2. Make exercise a priority.
Exercise may be the last thing you want to add into your already busy day. However, research shows that regular exercise—even 30 minutes of walking a day during your lunch break—can improve everything from sleep quality to mental outlook. Combined with a healthy diet, it’s the best way to keep your immune system in top shape (an important benefit for healthcare workers).
3. Avoid junk food.
Speaking of a healthy diet, make a habit out of packing healthy snacks to bring to work. Bringing your own healthy meals and snacks shows your dedication to a healthy lifestyle, and it also fuels your body with the proper nutrition to make it through the day at your best.
4. Schedule regular checkups with your doctor.
Nurses, like any professional, must avoid the trap of overconfidence. If you truly want to be a role model for your patients, stick to your own advice and schedule regular exams with your healthcare provider.
5. Find a workplace confidant.
It is important to find someone with whom you work that you trust. Some days will be more challenging than others. Having a friend at work can help you de-stress right in the moment and help you adjust your focus back to all the positive benefits of the job. You can also incorporate practices like meditation and mindfulness into your daily routine.
The rewards of nursing can be so great that it’s sometimes easy to overlook your own needs. When that happens, stress can build up and weigh you down, but it can be largely avoided with a few lifestyle changes. Try adding these five easy habits to your daily routine. They’ll help you stay healthy, and they’ll turn you into a shining example for all of your patients.
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