As nurses, we consider our body as an investment. After all, we won't be able to care for our patients and meet the demands of our job if we are too unfit. Fortunately, there are simple exercises that nurses can do to become a more efficient and dependable member of their healthcare team.
Here are some exercises that will help enhance your ability as a nurse and help increase your strength, endurance and flexibility, as well as prevent back injury.
Usually done for 15 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute or more, this exercise can help strengthen your core. Start in a push-up position with the back straight. Gradually lower your forearms to the ground so that both elbows and fists are flat on the floor. Remember to keep your body straight while doing this exercise.
This exercise strengthens not only your legs but also your whole body as well. It even increases your flexibility too. By increasing strength in your knees and hips, it also reduces your chance of injury. Stand with your feet slightly apart from each other and wider than your hips, while your toes are pointed slightly outward. Keep your body tight and your back straight while doing this exercise. Do three sets of 10 -12 three days per week.
4. CALF RAISES
This simple exercise not only increases your strength, but also your flexibility, especially in your calves. The simplest way to do this exercise is to stand up straight while holding onto something like a wall or a chair for balance. Lift your body as high as you can onto your toes, hold it for a few seconds, and then lower your heels back down. Do three sets of 15 - 20 three days per week.
Strengthening your legs and back by using your body weight is one of the main objectives of this exercise. Start by standing with your feet spaced under your hips. Put one foot forward, making sure that you keep your legs aligned and the other knee almost facing the floor. For best results, tighten your abs all throughout the exercise. Do three sets of 10 - 12 (each leg) three days per week.
6. HAMSTRING CURLS
As a nurse, you have to take care of your legs by doing exercises that will strengthen them. Hamstring curls are done by standing next to a wall or a chair for support and by lifting one foot toward your rear. Hold this position for three to four seconds before repeating it on the other leg. Do three sets of 10 -12 for each leg three days per week.
7. PLIE' SQUAT
To ensure that your lower body gets enough exercise, you need to try this ballet-inspired routine. They are basically squats done with toes facing outwards and the bottom tucked under. Slowly lower your body and rise back up, tightening your buttocks the whole time. Do three sets of 10 - 12 three days per week.
9. SHOULDER SHRUGS
No, this is not only for teenage kids who "don't know" or who don't want to do what they are asked to do. This exercise actually helps develop the muscles in your upper extremities and is usually done with the help of dumbbells or a barbell. To do this exercise, stand upright with your hands about shoulder width apart. Simply shrug your shoulders as high as possible, and then slowly lower them without bending your elbows. Do three sets of 10 - 12 three days per week.
A healthy nurse is an efficient nurse -- this is a proven fact. And to keep yourself in good shape, not only do you need effective exercise routines, but also a diet rich in energy-dense nutrients.
Want to stay energized without adding extra pounds to your weight? No problem! Here are some nutrition tips for a healthier you:
1. START SLOW
Do not attempt to change your diet abruptly in one day and expect results the next.
If you do this, you will be more likely to cheat or give up easily. Start slowly by adding something that entices you to eat healthier. Use olive oil instead of butter when you cook. These simple changes bring tremendous results over time. If you are at work, choose foods that are not only healthy, but enjoyable to eat also.
2. ALWAYS EAT BREAKFAST
You must have heard this a thousand times, but it's true that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This will keep you energized all day and keep you from being tempted to eat a sugary snack in between meals. Nurses tend to skip eating breakfast, especially when they are in a hurry to go to work. If this is the case, then fix yourself a healthy sandwich to eat on the way.
3. FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS
We all know that fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients, so be sure to include them in your diet daily. You can try a new fruit or vegetable every week or fill half of your plate with vegetables at dinner.
4. NEVER SKIP MEALS
Nurses are always so busy working that they often skip meals. If you want to be healthy, you should make sure not to skip meals. Eat your lunch during lunch breaks. Find time to eat even a small snack when you start to get hungry.
5. CUT DOWN ON FAT AND SUGAR
Everyone needs some fat in their diet, but you should cut down on saturated fat, as it may increase your risk of developing heart disease. Sugar, on the other hand, is high in energy, but may contribute to weight gain. Try not to drink too many carbonated or alcoholic beverages, and cut down on foods that contain added sugars such as cakes and cookies.
6. MINIMIZE YOUR INTAKE OF CAFFEINE
Nurses love coffee because they need it for them to stay active and energetic during their shift. On that note, caffeine should be taken in moderation, because over time, too much may cause heart problems. If you are an avid coffee drinker, try to limit your daily caffeine intake to two to three cups.
7. DON'T EAT TOO MUCH
Just because what you're eating is low in sugar doesn't mean it's also low in fat. How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Although it is important to choose the right foods, it is also important that you determine the necessary amount of calories you need in your diet.
8. GET ACTIVE
An active lifestyle will not only increase your metabolism, but will also help you maintain a healthier body and mind.
Maintaining a healthy body will help you stay energetic any time of the day. Nurses need this to be able to give quality care to their patients.
Whether we like it or not, 9% of American adults suffer from depression, most of whom are health care professionals like nurses.
Nursing burnout may be caused by years of long work hours and extremely high levels of stress. If not properly managed, this may lead to depression, which then affects a nurse's productivity at work.
If you are one of the nurses who suffer from depression, you should try to help yourself. Remember that it is important for individuals to be appreciated and taken care of physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.
Here are some ways that can help nurses overcome depression:
1. Know that you are not alone. Thinking that you are the only person who feels that way will only make you feel worse. There are hundreds of other nurses who feel what you are feeling right now.
2. Take breaks. Learn how to stop working when you feel tired. Do not overwork yourself as this could only make things worse.
3. Talk to people. Find a "venting buddy." It could be a family member, a friend, or anyone who will actually listen to whatever you want to say -- and understand it.
4. Learn some calming techniques. This will help you especially when you are at work. Try to be happy whilst working, even when you don't feel like it. This will make you feel better in the long run.
5. Go outdoors. If you have time, go outside. The world is much more beautiful up close. Take pictures or go for a walk.
6. Exercise. Find time to exercise. a healthy body will not only make you look good, it will also make you feel better.
7. Avoid alcohol. It has been proven that alcohol can make depression worse. Put that glass down and think about how to improve your life.
8. Eat a balanced diet. Choose fruits and vegetables instead of junk foods. Chocolate will make you feel better, but make sure that you limit your intake of sweets.
9. Get some rest. Enough rest will help you feel energized and ready for the next day. Avoid getting too tired or stressed from work.
10. Wear comfortable clothes that will boost your confidence. It's really easy to just wear whatever scrubs you have available, even if you don't feel too confident with them on. This is the time when you should go buy those scrubs you have been keeping your eyes on for the last couple of months. Feeling confident with what you are wearing will give you that sense of pride and happiness that will really make your day a good one.
11. Limit your time with negative people. By now, you already know who these people are. Although sometimes you do not have a choice but to talk to them, set limits. Leave when you have to.
12. Face a window as often as you can. Anywhere would be fine, at work or at home. If you don't have the time to go outside, face a window instead. Look at the outside world, observe and appreciate.
13. Avoid the drama. In line with limiting your time with negative people, remember to avoid anyone else's drama as much as possible. You have your own drama to deal with. Don't burden yourself with theirs.
14. Let go. If you are facing something difficult that you can't change, learn how to accept it and let go. Feeling bad about it for a long time will not make things different for you. Just let go.
15. Do not isolate yourself. Never punish yourself by wanting to be alone. Self-isolation will only make you feel bad about yourself. Go out with friends. Find someone to talk to.
16. Cry. Let all the thoughts and feelings that are drowning your emotions go. Cry as much as you want to. Find a private place, and just cry your eyes out. You will not believe how amazing you would feel after doing so.
17. Do the things you used to love doing. Even if you don't feel like doing anything. Think of the things that used to make you feel happy. Grab a paintbrush and paint. Get a pen and write. Or better yet, take out your video game system and have fun.
18. Seek help from a professional. See a doctor or find support groups that will help you speak your thoughts out. This is one of the best ways to help you cope with your symptoms and help you manage your life better.
19. Take care of yourself. Never take yourself for granted just because you feel lonely. Take time to take care of yourself and never ignore your symptoms.
20. Forgive yourself. If you tried these tips today and you failed, forgive yourself and try again tomorrow. Try again even on the days after tomorrow.
These tips may not cure your depression, or make you feel happy immediately. But if you try hard enough, they will help you feel better.