In this four-part series, we are focusing on ways you can strike a healthy balance as a nurse dedicated to improving the wellness of others. Whether you’re working an 8-hour or 12-hour shift, providing care for those in need can take a lot out of a person—even a nurse.
In this third part of the series, we will discuss three strategies you can incorporate into your typical workday to prioritize staying healthy while on the job.
Staying healthy by staying hydrated
Staying hydrated is one of the most essential components to maintaining high levels of energy and mental clarity, and history shows that nurses are among the worst at staying hydrated during their shifts. One of the main reasons is that open drinks or containers near workstations or patient care areas is considered an infection control issue.
One way to work around this is to have a completely closed container, such as a sports water bottle or similar, that you can keep nearby, and that can be wiped down with sanitation wipes. Another option is to set reminders on your cell phone to drink something every hour.
Frequent healthy snacking
Instead of starving yourself all morning and afternoon, then frantically rushing to the cafeteria for a slice of pizza or something fried, you should bring healthy snacks to have throughout your shift. A few healthy foods items that are energy powerhouses and are easy to eat on the go include: nuts, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and fresh fruit.
Another option could include things like protein shakes or protein bars, though nutritionists recommend getting energy sources from whole food sources first. By snacking on these nutrient dense foods throughout your shift, you are sure to stay focused and energized.
Avoiding excessive caffeine
Most of us love our big strong coffee at the beginning of our shifts to get us pumped and ready to go, and that’s just fine. Caffeine is a stimulant, and in small to moderate amounts, it can be beneficial to one’s mental clarity.
But like any other good thing, it becomes a problem when consumed in excess. It can cause nervousness, impaired ability to focus, and even worse—dehydration. The best way to prevent caffeine overdosing is to stick to one cup in the morning, and follow with lots of water throughout the day.
All of these strategies are sure to improve your energy levels on the job and promote an overall healthy lifestyle. After all, we should strive to lead by example.
This article was originally published on Calling All Nurses.