7 Ways Nurses Can Take Care of Their Mental Health
The importance of your mental health can often be overlooked. It doesn’t necessarily scream out to us like an aching knee or bad back. However, keeping your mind healthy is just as important. Neglecting your mind is not only detrimental to your mood, but it has negative impacts on your physical health, sleep, and outlook on life. We have seven things that you can add to your life to ensure your mental health game is stronger than ever!
There’s just too much to get done in a day to worry about adequate sleep, right? Wrong! Sleep is an essential key to your overall health. Not only do you feel refreshed after a long rest, but your energy levels and mental clarity is stronger too. According to the Sleep Foundation, adults 26 years old and older need to strive for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. You might need to refrain from that one extra show at night, so you can get your sleep in. It’s best to get on a sleep schedule. So each night, go to bed and wake up at or around the same time. This will help your body get into a natural rhythm. If you’re struggling to fall asleep at night try reading a book or download the Calm app to help promote relaxation.
If you continue down a path of reckless sleep schedules, it will catch up with you at some point. You may feel functional and fine with 5hours per night, but your body will soon tell you otherwise. In fact, inadequate amounts of sleep increase your chances of obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressures, heart disease, strong, mental health issues, and early death. Do yourself a favor and start new positive sleeping habits tonight!
Myth: Therapy is only for people with big issues. However, that’s not true. If we’re all honest with ourselves, we can find something that needs addressing. Talk therapy is tremendously beneficial for your mental health and overall well-being. Of course, in order to get the best results, you’ll need to find a therapist that jives with you. If you are lost on where to start, seek recommendations from your family doctor.
In many avenues of life, therapy helps. Whether you are dealing with daily life stressors, job issues, past trauma or simply need a sounding board – therapy is a great outlet for all of them.
Life as a nurse can be crazy and hectic. Finding time for fun may feel impossible. Being a caregiver, you’re constantly worrying about others and making time for yourself seems out of the question. But it doesn’t need to be! Brainstorm things that you love doing – maybe it’s grabbing coffee with a friend, reading a book, watching a favorite show, or going on a hike.Whatever brings you joy and happiness find ways to sprinkle it into your life! A good way to make sure you don’t forget about yourself is to schedule “me time” on your calendar. Every week find time for yourself and have fun doing what you love most!
A doctor once told me, “If I could bottle up exercise and give it to patients for anxiety and depression I would do it in a heartbeat.”This just goes to show how beneficial exercise truly is for your mental health. Obviously, exercise will increase your strength and overall health too, but the benefits for your mental health are quite profound. Finding time in your day to do some strength training exercises will surely improve your mood and your health in general.
Exercise greatly improves your mood, stress levels, sleep, mental clarity, and prevents health issues from arising in the future. There will always be an excuse not to exercise, but holding yourself accountable and starting a routine will help. Move your body every day – even if you can only squeeze in 10 minutes!
Vacation usually brings out the best in us. It’s a time to be off the clock and enjoy some much-needed relaxation. Taking time away from the day-to-day stresses is huge for your mental health. If it’s difficult to escape for a 10-day tropical vacation, find unique ways to slip away for a few days. Try a bed and breakfast for a night or two, or explore a nearby city for a few days. However, you “get away” make sure you find time throughout the year to do so. Finding a mental break from all the hustle and bustle at home will do you wonders.
Humans are social beings, so naturally, we need socialization in our day. Regardless of being an introvert or extravert, socialization has key benefits to your mental health. According to Mayo Clinic, “socializing not only staves off feelings of loneliness, but also it helps sharpen memory and cognitive skills, increases your sense of happiness and well-being, and may even help you live longer. In-person is best, but connecting via technology also works.” However, you choose to connect with others make sure you find time to socialize. Whether you schedule lunch with co-workers, happy hour with a friend, or a zoom date with your family. Make an effort to keep the relationships in your life solid, it’ll benefit your mental health too!
The old saying, “you are what you eat” seems to hold true. If your breakfast choice is a sugary muffin with a diet coke on the side, chances are your hunger is satisfied but overall you added zero nutritional value to your mind and body. According to Harvard, “diets high in refined sugars, for example, are harmful to the brain. In addition to worsening your body’s regulation of insulin, they also promote inflammation and oxidative stress. Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function — and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.”If that isn’t reason enough to dump the bad eating habits, I don’t know what is!
Imagine how great your body and mind will feel when you eat berries, vegetables, grass-fed meat, and other whole foods. Your mind needs proper nutrition to work at full capacity, so give it what it needs to thrive.
You’re in the driver’s seat of your mental health. Start implementing these 7 things in your life and in no time you’ll feel on top of your game. There’s no better time than now to feel your best.