Importance of Self-Care, Take care of You!

Don’t Forget to Care for YOU!

Self-care is important for everyone. We all know this, even if it is difficult to put into practice with busy schedules and never-ending tasks, it’s important we do so. Without self-care people run the risk of burnout in life, work, and relationships. Travel nurses are no different. In fact, it could be argued that their self-care is vital because we all know that we can only take care of others as well as we take care of ourselves. Nurses that are tired, fatigued and drained do not perform at the level they do when they are rested and revitalized.

Below are a few friendly reminders of simple ways travel nurses can make sure that they are prioritizing their own well-being while they are busy helping heal others.

Reminder #1 Prioritize Healthy Eating

Medical professionals in particular know the importance of regular, healthy eating, but they also happen to be in careers that can make finding time to eat difficult. And, let’s face it, when it’s hard to find time to do something, it’s often hard to find time to do it right.

However, with long shifts and emotionally and physically tiring work, travel nurses have to make sure their bodies are getting the energy and wholesome foods they need to operate at their highest capacity.

Tip #1 Have healthy, quick snacks/meals handy at work

We already know that medical facilities are fast paced, and it can be hard to find time to eat. We recommend having something quick and packed with nutrients available to grab when you are feeling hungry and low on energy.

Tip #2 Meal prep

Having easily ready and nutritious foods at work is very important, but so is making sure that you have good meals after work. This can be hard because as we’ve already discussed, shifts can be long and tiring and it can be difficult to want to come home and prepare a healthy meal. However, if you take some time on one of your days off to meal prep, you can ensure you have easy, wholesome meals to come home to.

Reminder #2 Get Good Rest

It’s common knowledge that nurses do not often get the optimal amount of sleep (studies prove it too!), particularly during the work week. So, it’s really important for travel nurses to focus on and prioritize getting quality sleep and rest. This will help ensure patients get the highest standard of care and that our beloved medical care professionals are at their best for work and life! To get started, there are a few good habits to develop to help ensure more quality sleep.

Tip #1 Minimize blue light exposure at night

Not all light is the same and different wavelengths can have different effects on the body. Blue light, which is emitted from our electronic devices along with fluorescent and LED lights, can “boost attention, reaction times, and mood.” While this can be great for the daytime, during the night hours, it can end up causing disruptions in sleep cycles that leave people feeling unrested and tired.

According to the Sleep Foundation, in order to mitigate the negative effects of blue light, you should turn off electronics 2-3 hours before bed. If you aren’t able to completely eliminate electronics from your nightly routine, many of them have the ability to dim the light or even have night modes that reduce blue light emissions. Lastly, if you are a nighttime reader, try finding a lamp that doesn’t emit blue light, but instead try red or orange.

Tip #2 Utilize blackout curtains

For those of you on night shifts and alternating schedules, blackout curtains can be vital for you. They will help block out any daylight (or even artificial light) that can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep.

Tip #3 Try out binaural beats

According to the Sleep Foundation, binaural beats are an “auditory phenomenon created by your brain in response to hearing specific tones. Early studies are showing that listening to binaural beats can help improve the quality of your sleep and even help reduce anxiety.

Reminder #3 Make Time for Socializing

All work and no fun is a recipe for career and life burnout. People need to connect with others. Don’t neglect this important part of your mental and spiritual health. Make sure you are marking out time in your schedule to connect with people who refuel you because we all need support, love and connection in order to thrive and reach our highest potential.

Reminder #4 Engage in What Re-Energizes You

Not everyone is the same. An activity that might reinvigorate one person, could easily drain another travel nurse. For instance, we just discussed the importance of relationship building and connection, which is important for everyone. However, extroverts would be fueled and reinvigorated by this social time and should engage in it often in order to keep up their energy and joy. However, introverts, while they need to connect with others, require solitude in order to refocus and re-energize. The same is true when choosing activities or hobbies that relax and reignite you. Some people will find walking, biking or swimming help them connect to themselves and get the boost they need. Others will find music, writing, video games are the escape they need to take on the next workday or week. What’s the key? Find something YOU love to do and make the time to do it, whatever it is.

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