Top 8 Self-Care Tips from Nurses
We Asked, You Answered:
The Top 8 Self-Care Tips from Nurses
We all know self-care is important: it is how we maintain both our physical and mental health and prevent illness. That’s why, in celebration of Nurses Month, we polled nurses online to share their top self-care tips.
The National Library of Medicine published, “The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Sleep Research Society (SRS) have recommended that adults aged 18 to 60 years should sleep seven or more hours per night on a regular basis for ideal sleep health. Additionally, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) consensus report has stated that seven to nine hours is recommended for adults aged 18 to 64 years, while seven to eight hours is suggested for those 65 years of age and older.”
With those recommendations in mind, it is clear that many of us are not receiving adequate sleep which explains why the top-recommended self-care tip from nurses is to get more sleep.
2. Rest and Unwind
Related to tip number one is the nurse's recommendation to rest and unwind. Take time for yourself after your shift to deflate and clear your mind. Deep breathing exercises and meditation are helpful, and you can use apps such as Calm and Headspace to find guided meditations. Try a bath with lavender Epsom salt to relax and alleviate aches and pains.
3. Being in Nature
Hugging trees isn’t just for hippies- were they onto something? Evidence in Blinded by Science shows that we are connected to nature through plant vibration and being in nature. In the “Journal of Affective Disorders”, ‘the study showed that participants with clinical depression demonstrated improved memory performance after a walk in nature, compared to a walk in a busy urban environment,’ said Dr. Berman, a post-doctoral fellow at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute in Toronto.
National Geographic shared the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”), pointing out that “forest bathing is not just for the wilderness-lover; the practice can be as simple as walking in any natural environment and consciously connecting with what’s around you.” You don’t need to exercise, just observe, feel, and reconnect with nature.
4. Outdoor Activities
Similar to being in nature is the advice to participate in outdoor activities. This tip is a combination of the benefits of being in nature (above) and the benefits of exercise and movement. The CDC recommends one hour of exercise each day, mixing intermediate- and moderate-aerobic exercise and vigorous-intensity physical activity. Hiking, kayaking, or a simple walk will suffice.
5. Spending Time with Loved Ones
Spending time with family and friends can increase your sense of belonging and purpose; boost your happiness and reduce stress; improve your self-confidence and self-worth; and help you cope with traumas, including the job stress, according to the Mayo Clinic. Note that spending time with loved ones does not only mean a safe space to vent. It also means being the listener and accepting advice from outside perspectives.
6. Setting Boundaries
The counter to spending time with family and friends is setting boundaries to maintain mental and physical health and to make time for self-care. Caring for yourself means you can take on the challenge of caring for others; think about it as oxygen masks on an airplane. You need to care for yourself first to care for others- your loved ones will understand.
7. At-Home Facials
A popular response from nurses was at home facials, including face masks. The Pioneer Woman shares steps to pamper yourself at home with a six-step facial treatment. Face masks that include clay, such as charcoal or bentonite clay, pull impurities and toxins from the skin. Bentonite clay has a variety of uses that are explained here in Medical News Today.
8. Audiobooks and Podcasts
During your break, commute, or while on a walk, nurses voted that audiobooks and podcasts are a helpful way to pause from the stress of the job (and life), learn, and figuratively escape into a new adventure. Both are easily acceptable through podcast and audiobook apps on your phone such as iTunes, Spotify, and Audible.