By Elena Barker
Flu season is coming, and that means you’ll be seeing more patients in need of your care. However, it’s important to remember you need to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others. With that in mind, here are a few steps you can take to stay in good health while on your travel nursing assignment:
Good sleep is key to feeling healthy. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. While the amount of quality shut-eye you need may vary, you should always make sleep a priority, and that means setting yourself up with healthy sleeping habits. For example, turn off any electronics an hour before you go to sleep. Likewise, caffeine and alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle, so it’s a good idea to avoid both of them before bedtime. Also, a comfortable mattress and pillow are must-haves if you want to catch those precious zzz’s.
As a busy healthcare professional, you’re used to eating on the go or even skipping meals — did you eat lunch today? — Even when you do have time to eat, sometimes your available food options aren’t the healthiest. We’re looking at you, vending machine! So, try to incorporate healthy food choices into your day. Skip the candy bar and grab a handful of almonds instead. Replace your fast-food hamburger with a veggie burger. Over time, small yet sensible food decisions like this can make a world of difference to your health and mood.
Your job is stressful, and that’s an understatement. Combat your stress with various acts of mindfulness, like meditating for 10 minutes each day. Meditation can help you stay in the present, reduce anxiety, and boost your positivity. If you’ve never done meditation before, you might want to start with an online app — there are hundreds available for free. We like the apps Headspace and Breethe.
We know you get plenty of steps in as a nurse, but daily exercise should still be a part of your healthy lifestyle. After all, working out brings on that feel-good rush of endorphins and helps you stay fit. Plus, you don’t need a gym membership to stay healthy — there are plenty of outdoor activities you can do, like paddleboarding on a lake, practicing yoga in the park, or taking a hike through the woods.