Many people are eager to turn the page and begin the new year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And, given the added stress on nurses, paying attention to your health is a good idea. With that in mind, we took a fresh look at these tips from the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ (HNHN) blog and adapted them for 2021.
According to Entrepreneur.com, research suggests that taking bite-size, manageable steps is the way to achieve lasting change. Try picking one or two goals that resonate with you and work on accomplishing them.
Take advantage of preparing more meals at home
Instead of committing to a strict diet, incorporate more home-cooked meals into your repertoire. Research from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shows that food made at home has less fat, calories, and sugar than meals eaten out. Look for menu ideas on your favorite sites or at HNHN.org.
Make time for one self-care activity per week
Nurses are working in stressful, fast-paced environments, often dealing with life-or-death situations. It’s imperative to do things that nourish and replenish you. Not only will you feel calmer and happier, but you’ll be better able to care for your patients and the people you love.
Connect with a friend virtually
According to Mayo Clinic, strong friendships can make us healthier. These days, many of us are connecting with old friends over Zoom or FaceTime to practice physical distancing. Think about how you can foster new and existing relationships. Ideas to consider:
• Text or call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while.
• Make virtual lunch dates with coworkers.
• Recruit friends or coworkers to take on a virtual fitness challenge.
Sleep a minimum of 8 hours per night
Between long shifts, working nontraditional hours, and the stressful nature of the job, nurses may have difficulty getting high-quality, restorative sleep. However, Harvard Medicine reports that lack of sleep can lead to obesity and chronic health issues, so prioritizing sleep isn’t a luxury—it’s an important action to take for your health. Visit HNHN.org for resources to increase and improve your shut-eye.
Spend more time in nature
National Geographic reports that spending time outdoors may reduce stress and increase health and well-being. Try this healthy, realistic New Year’s resolution: Spend more time outside. You can play with the kids in your life in the backyard or take walks in a park or community garden during your break.
Minimize your time on social media
Studies suggest that spending significant time on social media can lead to feelings of inadequacy and even depression. This year, take a social media break or try to be more intentional when you use it. You can:
• Take a day (or more) off from social networking each week.
• Limit social media to your desktop or cell phone, but not both.
• Avoid comparing your life to the perfect images you see on your various channels.
According to the National Institutes of Health, meditation may reduce blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. And people who regularly practice meditation report feeling more at peace and happier than the general population. Ideas to consider:
• Download a meditation app.
• Set a reminder on your phone so you’ll remember to sit quietly or meditate for a few minutes each day.
• Commit to being more mindful throughout the day.
Once you decide on your New Year’s resolutions, connect with the HNHN community to share and find support at HNHN.org. Read this blog at https://engage.healthynursehealthynation.org/blogs/8/2760.
Content courtesy of HNHN and Aha Media.