Studying nursing is fun, interesting, and sets you on the right track to achieving a career in the nursing industry. It can be easy to become swept up in the piles of work and hours you need to put into placements, however, so you must look after yourself at the end of the jam-packed day. No matter what nursing course you are studying, whether it be a bachelor or professional level, you must take the time for other important areas of your life. Here are 17 ways to look after yourself as a nursing student.
1: Download mindfulness apps
Mindfulness apps are nifty little self-care aids that help you relax when you’re stressed out. It barely takes a minute to download one onto your phone, and then you have full access to an app that guides you through meditation, or even tells you stories while you drift off to sleep. They are brilliant for the end of a tough day when you’re unable to shut off your mind – all you need to do is open the app, plug in your earphones, and let the guided relaxation take you away.
2: Schedule a sleeping routine
As a nursing student, sleeping may drift far down the list of priorities, but you mustn’t let it! Sleep is essential to your overall health, and sleep deprivation might affect your work quality. You might be someone who can get by on seven hours, or maybe your body requires nine, but whatever amount of sleep is right for you, you must make sure you have the time for it. Get into bed half an hour before you plan on sleeping so you can get the sufficient amount of rest your body needs to function the next day.
3: Consider online learning
Many nursing students juggle their studies, placements, and a job on the side. This can become a heavy load, and many lose out of sleep because of it. Online learning is a great way to overcome this – you would be able to set your own study schedule around your other obligations. Have a look at an online FNP program if you’re considering higher education in nursing, it might be just what you need to excel in your nursing career.
4: Take at least one full day off a week
Unless you are a real-life superhero, working seven days a week just isn’t viable. With work and study taking up your whole life, taking a full day off may seem like a struggle, but you must prioritize this! Pick a day where you don’t have to be anywhere and make it your relaxation day (and guard it!). Knowing you have at least one full day to recharge when help you get through each week, and give you a much-needed chance for relaxation.
5: Eat well
Eating well doesn’t mean you have to cook five-star restaurant-quality meals for yourself each night, just that you should think about what you are eating. Make sure you’re getting enough fruits, vegetables, proteins, and everything else the body needs to function well. You could even consider taking a daily vitamin if you think you are deficient in any. Try to remember breakfast, even when you’re running out the door, and make sure your evening meal includes variety.
6: Find time for exercise
You may be swamped, but exercise is essential for the body to work well. You don’t have to go to the gym four times a week (although, if you want to, that’s great!), you just need to get your body moving at least a few times a week. This could mean a jog with your friends, heading to your local swimming pool, or even a couple of long walks in nature to blow away the stresses of the week. You will feel much better for doing it, and the physical fitness that comes with it will help you with your nursing training.
7: Allow yourself to cry
Crying is not a sign of weakness. Sometimes, the stresses of the day build-up to the point you want to scream, break something, and cry. Allow yourself to rid yourself of your pent-up emotion and have a good, long sob. You could put on a sad film, eat far too much ice cream, and snuggle up in bed if you want to. All that matters is that you release the negativity of the day, and once you’re finished, you’ll feel much better for it.
8: Make nursing friends
This one is one of the most important. Your nursing school friends might just be by your side for life, and they will see you through the worst and the best of times. Keeping nursing friends means you can vent to them and they will understand exactly what it is you are going through.
9: Make the most out of your mentor
A mentor is provided in healthcare for a reason, and you should use them. They have been exactly where you are, have felt all your emotions, and are there to help. If you are struggling emotionally, don’t be afraid of seeking them out and letting them know, they might know just what to do for you.
10: Find a separate hobby
You might find that your whole life suddenly revolves around nursing. Of course, it’s important that it plays such a significant role in your life, but it shouldn’t be the only thing occupying you. Seek out a separate hobby that you can pour your creativity or attention into. It can be something as simple as video games, or something as intricate as taking up oil painting – it doesn’t matter. You need a way to express yourself in an area other than your work, and a hobby is a great way of doing that.
11: Schedule trips away
Everyone deserves a breath of fresh air from time to time, especially when you’ve been tied down with studying. When you next have a break, schedule a trip away, and let your mind and body relax for a couple of days. It doesn’t need to be far, just getting out of your city/town for a while can be enough to give you a fresh perspective and have you going home ready for action.
12: Learn to say ‘no’
This one is important in the healthcare industry. Saying ‘no’ when you’re uncomfortable can be difficult, especially when you’re trying to impress, but it is absolutely OK to do so! You need to let people know what your boundaries are and areas you’re not comfortable working. in They won’t think any less of you, it will just mean you don’t have to do anything you’re unhappy with.
13: Consider counseling
If you are struggling considerably with your work-life balance, and are feeling completely overwhelmed, counseling can help you out. It isn’t strictly reserved for those with diagnosed mental illnesses or those going through grief – you can make an appointment just to talk about how stressful your week has been. It can be beneficial to talk to someone who has no idea who you are and holds no judgments against you.
14: Get a pet
A pet can be one of the best friends a person can have. Coming home to an animal who is happy to see you can be enough to take your hard day and turn it into a positive one. Consider how much time you have to dedicate towards your pet and choose from there.
15: Take time off if sick
Experiencing the first few sniffles of a cold can be a real worry – what if you get even sicker and can’t keep up with your work? Pushing through can make things even worse, however, so it’s important when you’re feeling run down to take the time off. If you push yourself too hard, you may end up making yourself sicker, and then lose out on even more work. Give yourself a well-earned break!
16: Read more
Reading is a great way of taking your eyes away from a screen and letting you sink into someone else’s story for a while. Sure, binging your favorite TV show is fun, and films can be a great distraction, but at the end of the day, nothing beats curling up with a good book, a cup of tea, and a story that takes you completely out of your life. You can spend as little as 15 minutes reading or even spend five hours engrossed in your favorite fictional story – what matters is that it provides you with an escape.
17: Express gratitude
You may be overloaded, and your days may be stressful, but it is important to be thankful for where you are and what you have achieved. Each day you work hard is another step in the right direction, and you should express gratitude for all the fortunate events and achievements you made to get where you are now.
Working hard is essential for getting your nursing qualifications, but so is looking after yourself, so take a few of these tips and implement them into your life – you deserve it!