As a healthcare professional, you may find it difficult to put the stresses of the job to the side. The needs of others often take precedence – for good reason – when we’re at work. The stakes are high. Often, patients need urgent help, and it’s part of our job to take care of them. This fast-paced work environment can cause a carryover of stress into our personal lives, and healthcare workers can find themselves out of shape, stressed and unhealthy after just a few years working in the industry. If you’re just getting started, struggling to keep a work/life balance, or you’re simply looking for ways to make life better, here are 5 self care tips for healthcare professionals.
You Are What You Eat
“Eat your vegetables,” mother would always say. This was followed quickly with, “You are what you eat.” If you’re a dietitian, then you know it’s not just lip service. It isn’t easy making time for healthy eating when we’re busy. Skipping breakfast or eating a fast-food meal can be a great way to save time, but it’s also the expressway to poor health. And, we’re not just talking physical health. Poor diet affects every aspect of your wellness. When you eat right, you have more energy and a better attitude and your body feels better. You may find you sleep better at night too.
Make Time for Sleep
Healthcare jobs are high stress and fast-paced. Take care of yourself when you’re not at work by scheduling time to wind down at night. Getting a solid night’s rest will improve your mood and your health. The body needs continuous sleep to maintain healthy mental and physical functions. I’m sure you’ve recommended it to your patients, so take some of your own advice and get a good night’s rest.
Connect With Friends and Family
Life is more than what you do at work. Recharge the batteries by spending time with friends and family. If you’re a traveling healthcare professional, be sure to call your family and stay in touch as much as possible. A healthy social life is important. Help balance out the stress with a movie, a dinner or a night out with friends.
Limit Alcohol and Coffee Consumption
Though it can be beneficial to have a couple drinks to unwind – preferably with friends – consuming too much alcohol is detrimental to your health. Coffee, our life-blood in the healthcare industry, is a great pick-me-up in the mornings, can help boost your alertness on long shifts, and has plenty of antioxidants. Consuming too much, however, can lead to sleepless nights, increased stress, and dehydration. Drink coffee and alcohol in moderation.
Talk with a Professional
As a healthcare professional, you understand the value of having regular checkups. Be sure to take care of yourself on a regular basis by staying up-to-date with your annual physical, and make time for regular doctor visits. If you find yourself dealing with depression or a situation that you can’t handle on your own, seek out a professional to talk to.
A New Direction
As healthcare workers, we can sometimes forget to take our own advice. These tips are simple. But by eating healthy, getting enough sleep, being social, limiting coffee and alcohol, and seeking professional advice when you need it, you’re doing the best – and hardest – things to take care of yourself.
For more information about healthcare jobs, healthcare administrations jobs, or healthcare management jobs, New Directions is a professional healthcare staffing company that cares about the people they work with. We want our recruits to succeed in every aspect of their life and the healthcare industry.