This is the second article in a series of blog posts centered around Nursing Wellbeing. Before you continue reading, be sure to click here to read about 'The Importance of Nursing Wellbeing'.
At Nutrix Personnel we appreciate it can be hard for our agency nurses to find the time to exercise regularly and prioritise their physical well-being. Long hours are extremely tiring, and the changing shift patterns make it tough to stick to a regular structure. Maintaining good physical wellbeing, however, doesn’t require hours and hours of fitness. It can instead be achieved by making a few small changes and integrating them into your daily life.
The most important thing is to find what works for you and remain diligent. It’s often better to keep expectations low and benefit from small wins rather than creating an ideal visualisation and suffer frustration or disappointment when this isn’t met. Why not look at some of the ideas the team at Nutrix Personnel have suggested below and implement them into your routine.
1. Exercising every day, keeps you in a physically active way.
It takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit so if you’ve already forgotten about that ‘new year’s resolution’ you intended on doing then I’m afraid to say you’re going to have to start again. Once you’ve built a habit though, it’s very tough to shake it and will be much easier to maintain.
Our advice is to create a weekly structure that’ll aid your physical wellbeing. Ensure that anything you intend on doing is written down on paper and displayed somewhere like the fridge door or bathroom mirror. Perhaps even create a tick list to track your progress and visually see the number of consecutive days you have managed. Regular exercise is the best way to stay active and look after your physical wellbeing, even if it’s something as simple as walking to work or standing on your feet for a prolonged period.
2. Teamwork makes the dreamwork
Everything’s easier when you’ve got a second pair of hands and having an exercise partner will help to encourage you and receive regular reminders. Try finding someone who’s also looking to improve their physical wellbeing and work together to achieving your goals. A lack of motivational support can be the biggest factor in people’s decision to ignore their physical wellbeing so having a close friend or family relative in your corner can be hugely beneficial.
3. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
It’s one thing having a positive intention but it’s another to be fully prepared. Most nurses intend to exercise, eat healthily and generally look after their physical wellbeing but without sufficient preparation, it’s easy to resort to bad habits. Here are a few things you can prepare in advance:
- Setting an alarm to wake up at a regular and consistent time each day.
- Preparing healthy lunches, the night, or the weekend before.
- Having any required clothes or equipment ready prior to exercising.
- Deciding on a time for physical activity and keeping it free.
- Keeping unhealthy food or snacks out of reach and out of sight.
By having a clear and concrete idea on what you need to accomplish your goals, you’ll better your chances of maintaining physical wellbeing.
4. Time for a quick snack break
A lot of nurses will cut out snacks to improve their physically wellbeing but the role is an extremely demanding one and keeping energy levels high is equally as important to prevent burnout. As an alternative, why not swap unhealthy snacks for things like fruit and yogurts. Packing an apple or banana in your bag ensures that you’ll still have a snack when you crave one but it’s a healthier alternative that will aid your physical wellbeing.
5. Hydration is key
Working as an agency nurse on a busy shift is physically demanding and staying hydrated is extremely important. Studies have found that 36% of nurses are dehydrated prior to their shift starting and there have been complaints that drinking water is inadequately accessible within the workplace.
It's for this reason that Nutrix Personnel recommends you always keep a water bottle (at least one litre) on you and top it up midway through the day. This way you’ll always have the option to hydrate regularly. The other issue can be the inability to go to the toilet regularly due to the constant demand of nursing. While it may not always be possible, ensure you take the opportunity to go when possible.
Be patient and results will come
Improvements don’t happen overnight but you will feel some immediate benefits such as having more energy, feeling in a more positive mood and keeping a clearer mind. As you begin to build a regular habit and maintain a heathy lifestyle though, your physically wellbeing will improve dramatically and the benefits will reflect into both your personal and professional life.
If it doesn’t go to plan though or you find it difficult, don’t worry! Not all exercise or diets work for everyone, and this isn’t to say you can’t achieve physical wellbeing, it may just need to be achieved through a different method. If you’re struggling with your physical well-being, feel free to get in touch with the team at Nutrix Personnel or seek expert advice.