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Promoting the Health and Well-Being of Nurses
As a nurse it can be difficult to prioritize your health and well-being when you have many competing priorities that demand your time and attention. We tend to think of ourselves last, leaving little time and energy to care for ourselves. How you take care of yourself will determine your health in the future, which is why it is important to develop strong self-care habits. The different dimensions of your health and well-being are interconnected and determine your overall state of being and ability to live your best life
Five Critical Categories for Personal Well-Being
There are five general categories of well-being. It’s important for nurses to keep all of these
areas in balance, and for employers and the community to support them as they do so.
Taking Time for Essential Self-Care
Self-care are the deliberate activities that contribute to health and well-being. As nurses, we have an obligation to care for ourselves just as we extend care to other human beings. Replenishing ourselves gives us the strength, energy and fortitude to be at our best when we are caring for others.
Here are five strategies to help you engage in meaningful self-care.
Exercise at least 30 minutes/day
Eat a well-balanced diet
Pack your food for work
Drink plenty of water
Take time for yourself – set your intentions for the day
Take breaks at work
Spend time outside in nature
Take your vacation time and disconnect from work
Find moments during the day to pause, breath, and listen to your heart
Find a health professional to talk about your feelings
Spend time just being and pondering
Take control of your life and learn to say “no”
Identify what your boundaries are for work
Establish technology limits
Be intentional and set margin in your day
Identify how you want to spend your time
Set boundaries in protecting time for self-reflection
Protect your time by limiting the number of activities
Develop a close friendship at work
Establish a few close, healthy relationships to enjoy life with
Make time for social gatherings with family and friends
Travel with a friend
Spend time daily communicating with family and friends
Find an activity you enjoy doing with a friend
Nursing Workforce Burnout
The nursing workforce is facing many challenges but two important concerns that need to be addressed are nurse burnout and suicide. Nurse burnout is a widespread phenomenon and the extraordinary demands that COVID-19 has placed on nurses has intensified the stress and the concern. The emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion that many nurses are experiencing puts them at risk for neglecting their own health and well-being and hindering their ability to effectively care for others. The nursing shortage across Georgia negatively impacts nurses and the increased workplace demands have increased the stress and dissatisfaction of nurses.
Prolonged periods of nurse burnout, increased workplace demands, and tough challenges at home have placed nurses in a high-risk category for suicide. The studies that have been done on nurse suicide illuminate the need for more work to be done to prevent nurse burnout, address the workplace demands and provide support services to ease some of the external burdens.The National Suicide Prevention Line is a national network of local crisis centers that provide free and confidential support for individuals in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. If you or a nurse you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, do not hesitate to reach out to this organization.
Healthy Nurses for a Healthy Public
By prioritizing your own health, well-being and self-care activities as a nurse, you are creating a strong foundation for yourself and your career. Strong nurses are essential for creating a healthcare system that serves the needs of both nurses and the general public. Working together, we can address the needs of our nursing community, reduce burnout and suicide and create a robust healthcare system in Georgia.
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