Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be challenging for nurses. In a hospital, you may be assigned any day of the week, mornings, evenings, or nights, for shifts of up to twelve hours.
Although your employer may offer you some consistency in your shifts, particularly if you have worked in the same field for several years, finding time for yourself can still be challenging.
You may often find that your shifts at the hospital or clinic are chaotic and exhausting emotionally and physically. Afterward, you must go home, feed yourself and your family, sleep, and repeat the process.
The nursing profession easily falls into ruts where nurses have little time to tend to their physical health, leading to health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and sleeping disorders. Without good physical and mental health, you might find yourself struggling during shifts and incapable of reaching your full potential.
How You Can Make Exercising a Priority
Nursing schedules should include fitness activities as they are necessary to improve physical and mental health. Unfortunately, with a busy schedule, finding the time and energy to fit fitness around your work and home commitments is challenging.
For some, going to the gym after a 12-hour shift is the last thing they want to do, and for others, it’s nearly impossible to get out of bed and work out before work. Several nurses also continue their education to expand their careers, and taking on-campus classes can add another hurdle to their fitness routine. However, you can enroll in an e-learning program like a BSN online, allowing you to work around your schedule and grow professionally without interrupting your fitness routine.
Start slowly to make a good start. A healthy lifestyle can be achieved with only 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week and about ten minutes of strength training. Even though this is a lot to get done at once, it’s easy to spread your workouts over the week.
As a result, you will be able to increase your endurance and stamina while working, enhance your mental health, and indicate the importance of managing your health to your patients. Here are some tips to help you fit fitness into your nursing schedule:
- Choose the right exercise for you
Make a schedule to stay accountable when it comes to fitting exercise into your week. You should create a realistic workout plan that suits your fitness needs.
If you see fitness profiles on social media showing people working out for two hours every morning at 5 a.m., you might feel distracted and assume this is the way to stay healthy. Unfortunately, fitness routines like this could seem overwhelming and unattainable, particularly when incorporating fitness around your nursing schedule.
The best way to make sure you follow through is to establish a routine that you will be more likely to follow:
- Choose a time when you will be more motivated to work out.
- Do you feel more energetic and ready to go in the mornings? Or is after-work exercise more motivating for you?
- What are your fitness goals? And how will you achieve them with exercise?
- What are your favorite workouts?
There is no one size fits all fitness routine. So, ensure that it focuses on what you can manage and gives you the desired results. In addition, it’s important not to feel intimidated by exercise. Instead, create a fitness plan that gets you excited and motivated to fit exercise into your busy schedule.
- Workout at Home
Due to the busy schedule, home workouts are an alternative option if you cannot make it to the gym. Even if you don’t have the equipment, home workouts can be done with several resources and solutions.
It is convenient to exercise from home. Due to the wide variety of online exercise methods, depending on your fitness level, you can choose your workout time from five to an hour. No matter what time constraints you are under, working out at home is always possible.
You can follow youtube videos or use fitness apps to learn Pilates, aerobics, yoga, and even indoor running. Using these will save money on classes and more time since you won’t have to drive to the gym or fitness center.
If you have children, spend 5-10 minutes dancing with them once or twice a week. Dancing away to music they enjoy (and that won’t drive you crazy) is a good idea. The benefits of dancing with your kids don’t just extend to helping you work out and making you feel better.; it will help them as well. Furthermore, it will create a wonderful bonding time that they will want to repeat again and again.
- Exercise at Work
Have you been working 12 hours a day? Or, Are you too busy with house chores or family time to exercise? Then, the workplace is a great place to squeeze in some exercise.
Even though you may not have time to devote to a full workout at your workplace, here are some ways you can maintain physical and mental wellness while working:
- Instead of using the elevator, climb the stairs to strengthen your legs and improve your cardiovascular health.
- Walk faster through the halls (away from obstacles) rather than strolling, or try lunges.
- Do wall-sitting sessions. A one-minute session of wall-sitting can make an enormous difference in a person’s strength.
- Take part in a fitness initiative with other nurses
Other nurses on your team likely face similar challenges when incorporating exercise into their schedules. With the help of each other, it is possible to motivate each other and keep your fitness journey motivating and committed.
Make the mission more interesting by adding some competitions and rewards. Take walks with your colleagues, or go to the gym together to keep each other accountable. It’s okay to have someone by your side during this journey
You can improve your energy level with the simplest workout, and you don’t need traditional exercise. Instead, participate in an energetic activity you enjoy, such as dancing with your friends or running around with your child or dog. Include exercise in your daily routine; you will be surprised at how good you feel.