• 30 July 2021
  • 7 min read

Self-Care: 6 Nurses Give Advice

  • Mat Martin
    Video Producer
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Richard Gill
  • 0
  • 716
Play video: "You cannot do your job adequately if you are not feeling your best."

We’ve put together some great self-care tips from our Nursing contributors. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, we hope these insights help you get back on track.

Topics covered in this article

Take Your Breaks Properly

Learn To Say No

Get Enough Sleep

Learn Something New

Exercise

Don’t Be Afraid To Get Help If You Need It

Take Your Breaks Properly

Zara Zaman - ICU Nurse

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I have always emphasised this, and I will continue to emphasise this. Because, this is where we fail when it comes to looking after ourselves, as healthcare professionals. Nurses have the skills to look after others, and yet we're not very good at looking after ourselves. It's a weird thing, but I am also guilty of this, and I have a lot of my close friends calling me out on it, my family definitely call me out on it. So I have set this as a principle, that when I'm on my break, and when you are on your break, you are on your break.

There're so many of my colleagues, till this day, experienced Nurses, who cut their break short. In doing so, they don't finish their food, they don't drink enough water, they're not allowing their body to rest. I was guilty of this for a long time, I was not taking my breaks properly. And I found myself being in, unfortunately, a very terrible mood. I found myself being very cranky, and that's not how I wanna work. And that only impacts your work. So, take your break properly.

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Learn To Say No

Nicola Wiafe - NICU Nurse

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Learn to say no. No to unsuitable patient allocation, no to shifts swaps, no to swapping your annual leave, no to overtime. Now, learning to say no can be a challenging thing. It can feel uncomfortable, it can feel difficult, but saying no is not actually a bad thing. I'm not advocating for anybody to be uncooperative and disruptive.

I'm not advocating for you not to help out your colleagues if they need your assistance or not to help out with your unit if they need you. But it's important to remember that your mental health, your physical health, your emotional health is really, really important. You cannot do your job adequately if you are not feeling your best. And any of the above, if it's compromising your health in any shape or form, you are well within your rights to say no.

Get Enough Sleep

Chloe - Mental Health Nurse

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Get enough sleep. Again, not always easy with shift work, but try your absolute best to get some sleep. I can really feel the difference if I go to work, having not had a very good night's sleep, I can physically feel myself working slower. And again, a balanced diet is always gonna help you feel your best. If you're just running off sugar and carbs, you're not gonna be working to your full potential.

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Do you have any tips for self-care?

Post your questions & comments below

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Learn Something New

Yvette Opuku - School Nurse

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Another thing that you can consider is learning something new. Now, this can be a new language, a new skill. Learning how to cook a new dish. And if you set yourself this every week or every two weeks, on your days off, then you feel a level of productivity, and therefore you are fulfilled in achieving those goals. Also trying something you can also include, for example, if you decided to take a walk in order to make the most out of your day, try a different route.

Explore your area, explore the different facilities that are available in that area that can help support you make the most out of your day when you're off. Also, it is nice to go out for fresh air simply because you're in a new scenery. So you don't wanna find yourself where you're always either at work or at home. Going out for fresh air, seeing different people. Obviously now, I know we're in a pandemic, so you wouldn't be communicating with people directly.

However, seeing new faces as you take a stroll, with some fresh air blowing through your hair, will be perfect for making the most out of your day.

Exercise

Claire Carmichael - GP Nurse

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Next tip is exercise. I know, trust me. I am the last person that wants to exercise. I hate it. And I'm a nurse and I'm really sorry. I shouldn't say that. I'm gonna get struck off for saying this, but I am that person I really, really have to try and motivate myself to do any form of exercise. I prefer things like yoga, which is nice, which is hard. It's not nice. It's hard, but it's, I hate running. That's the main thing I hate running. I'll do anything but run, but just doing those little bits of exercise can really, really improve your mental health has been much, much, much research on it as well, out there to say it is proven to help your mental health and boost your energy and things like that.

And that's a really, really good tip alongside the exercise. You need to be eating well. You need to be getting those fluids in. So make sure you're drinking the right amount for your body weight and all of that Jazz. There's an equation I'm going to put it here. There's an equation to work out how much you should drink for your body weight, which I was taught at university in some training thing at the hospital, but that's the equation to use and just make sure you get in, plus that have a little bit extra as well, especially when it's hot or when you're exercising, because you lose a lot of that fluid through sweat and just make sure you're getting the right amount of vegetables and fruit in the day.

Make sure you're eating a well-balanced diet, which is quite easy at the menu because all the sort of McDonald's and the KFC, I'm a big, I'm sorry I love junk food I know, but I do eat healthy as well because I love a love of fruit and vegetables. So I really do. I try and balance it. I will have a cheeky monkey sometimes, but I will also have a really nice healthy meal with vegetables and chicken and salads and fruit for dessert, all the boring stuff that people don't normally like.

I really like, especially if you're in lockdown, if you're a self isolate and if you're not I'm on placement at the minute she's been called off, it can be quite easy to sort of slip into bad habits. So you need to get out of that. Get on the YouTube, get on any DVDs that you've got. Do some workouts at home in your living room. There's so much out there at the menu it's on real. You've got no excuses. Come on, get up and go.

Don’t Be Afraid To Get Help If You Need It

Alexandria Grace - Student Nurse

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If you feel like you need some sort of therapy or counselling because of whatever you're going through, it's not a shameful thing to get help. It does work. It's not weird. It doesn't make you crazy. I think there's so much stigma around kind of reaching out to kind of mental health services or speaking to people, going to therapy, counselling.

Honestly, it might be the best decision you make if things are really hard and if nothing else is working and you need guidance in how to change your life and how to cope with things. If that's something that you feel like you need to do, then definitely do it. As I say, it's not an embarrassing thing. It's not a shameful thing. It does work and it might be the best thing for you.

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Do you have any tips for self-care?

Post your questions & comments below

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About the author

  • Mat Martin
    Video Producer

I have a background in visual media and film content. I'm now developing other content delivery skills, and am enjoying talking to people in health and social care who want to contribute and feel passionate about what they do. I’m constantly struck by the quality and feeling in the articles we receive from them, and I aim to ensure the readers are too.

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  • Mat Martin
    Video Producer

About the author

  • Mat Martin
    Video Producer

I have a background in visual media and film content. I'm now developing other content delivery skills, and am enjoying talking to people in health and social care who want to contribute and feel passionate about what they do. I’m constantly struck by the quality and feeling in the articles we receive from them, and I aim to ensure the readers are too.

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