Five Ways for Nurses to Improve Their Well-Being

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In the challenging and rigorous nursing profession, the well-being of nurses often takes a backseat. They work long hours, face daily challenges, and tend to prioritize others over themselves. However, nurses neglecting their own well-being can have negative consequences that lead to exhaustion, compassion fatigue, and decreased job satisfaction. As per a report, 70% of nurses prioritize their patients’ health, safety, and wellness over their own well-being and end up feeling sad, lethargic, and depressed. Therefore, it is crucial for nurses to prioritize their self-care and maintain a healthy balance between their personal and professional lives. 

Only by prioritizing self-care and well-being can they develop resilience, prevent burnout, and sustain their passion for nursing, ultimately benefiting their personal and professional lives and their patients. 

If you’re a nurse struggling to prioritize your wellness, this article is for you. Follow these practical tips to ensure well-being and achieve a healthy work-life balance. 

Ensure a Progressive Workplace Environment

Having a congenial workplace environment is essential to improve nurses’ well-being and ensure they feel supported and valued. You can achieve a friendly workplace environment through active communication and teamwork. It will help promote professional growth as well as personal satisfaction. 

Moreover, pursuing education also plays a substantial role in promoting well-being and job satisfaction. Broadening the horizon of knowledge opens new avenues in your career and fuels a sense of accomplishment, leading to improved well-being. As a nurse, you can advance your education by opting for a Master of Science in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Pursuing a BSN degree equips you with a wide range of nursing skills and opens the door to varied nursing roles. On the other hand, an MSN degree ensures specialized roles within the nursing field. You can further explore the BSN vs MSN path to align your career trajectory with your personal and professional goals, thereby promoting a sense of fulfillment and balance. 

By effectively communicating your needs and concerns, keeping up with the latest studies in the nursing profession, and helping improve your working conditions, you can ensure a healthier and more conducive work environment. It will help you prevent exhaustion and promote long-term job satisfaction, significantly improving your overall well-being.

Set Boundaries Between Personal and Professional Life

Nurses often work long hours and have demanding schedules, which can make it challenging to maintain a healthy work-life balance, leading to deteriorated health. To address this issue, nurses need to create boundaries between their work and personal lives. This can involve setting specific hours for work, avoiding work-related emails during personal time, and making sure that work does not override their personal commitments. By doing this, nurses can prevent work from encroaching on their personal life, helping them to nurture relationships, pursue hobbies, and take time for self-care. 

Connect with Nature

Engaging with nature offers numerous benefits for mental and physical health. Immersing yourself in natural settings, even for short periods, can be therapeutic for nurses who often work long hours in an indoor environment. If you’re a nurse and you feel overwhelmed with work, you can simply take a sabbatical from work and take a walk, cherish the scenic views, or simply sit in a tranquil place and observe nature. Connecting with nature can be the best mindfulness practice, as it involves focusing on the sensory experiences of nature—the sounds, aroma, and sights around you. Moreover, if you like adventures, you can opt for activities like camping, cycling, and hiking to mingle physical exercise with the therapeutic benefits of nature. 

However, if going outdoors is not possible for you, you can incorporate nature into your everyday life. Consider adorning your living/work space with plants, tuning to nature sounds, or displaying nature scenes on digital devices.

Practice Mindfulness 

Practicing mindfulness plays a vital role in maintaining mental health, especially in demanding professions like nursing. According to a survey, around 80% of nurses reported suffering from mental health issues, whereas 60% complained about deteriorating physical health. In such a scenario, mindfulness practices can significantly reduce stress and improve overall well-being. Being mindful enables you to stay focused on work and avoid unnecessary thoughts that distract you during work hours. 

Here’s how you can practice mindfulness:

Practice Meditation: Find a comfortable space to practice meditation during work or before/after. You can meditate by closing your eyes and bringing attention to your breath. Practicing it regularly can help you cultivate a sense of calmness, eliminate anxiety, and improve mental clarity and focus.  

Deep Breathing Exercise: Deep breathing exercises are a simple yet powerful technique nurses can practice anywhere, even during a busy schedule. It will help you improve your body’s relaxation response, regulate your heart rate, and reduce feelings of tension and anxiety. 

Take a Break: By taking short breaks to practice mindfulness during work shifts, nurses can recharge, reduce stress levels, and improve their ability to remain focused on their work, ultimately contributing to a healthy work-life balance and improved well-being. 

Seek Help from Professionals 

If nurses ever struggle with mental health or experience symptoms of exhaustion, they should immediately resort to professionals for help. These professionals—counselors, psychologists, and therapists—offer ample guidance on tackling mental health issues and improving well-being.  

Keep in mind the following factors when you seek a professional’s help:

  • Ask your colleagues and supervisors for recommendations on expert mental health professionals. 
  • Ensure the mental health professional follows the ethical codes and maintains confidentiality. 
  • Be mindful of accessibility factors while choosing a mental health professional. You can also consider to online therapy for convenience. 

It’s important to remember that seeking help from a professional is not a sign of weakness but rather a proactive step towards well-being. Professionals have the expertise to help you navigate the challenges you may face in your nursing profession. So, don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help. 

Final Thoughts 

Being a nurse can be an overwhelming job that requires constant vigilance, leading to compromised health. You can improve your overall well-being by ensuring a progressive workplace environment, immersing yourself in nature, engaging in mindful practices, and seeking a professional’s help. Remember that creating a safe space for nurses to promote self-care is a shared responsibility.

Author Profile

The Editorial Team at Lake Oconee Health is made up of skilled health and wellness writers and experts, led by Daniel Casciato who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We aim to provide our readers with valuable insights and guidance to help them lead healthier and happier lives.