While you may be enjoying an emotionally fulfilling and rewarding career as a nurse, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle while working irregular hours, especially during an often grueling 12-hour shift. Making healthy choices can quickly become a last priority as you put the health and well-being of your patients first. But it doesn’t have to be with some planning and commitment.
Here are a few tips to take a step towards a healthy 12-hour shift.
By taking a couple of hours each week to plan and prepare nutritious meals and snacks that will put you in the driver’s seat when making healthy food choices. There will be less temptation to hit up the vending machine while on the job. Try to incorporate a variety of protein-based foods to give you fuel and energy to last throughout your shift. You are what you eat. When you make good food choices it improves how we feel physically and mentally which carries over to an increase in job performance.
For more meal planning tips and how to get started, check out this beginner’s guide by MyFitnessPal.
Hangry? Don’t skip meals.
When you skip a meal, your body goes into a fasting mode and uses less efficient energy sources. As your blood glucose levels drop, your concentration suffers and you feel fatigued and irritable. As a result, your decision-making skills may slow down and you become physically unsteady.
Get some rest.
We know this seems obvious, but it can be a challenge to get adequate rest when you’re working irregular hours especially a night shift, which interrupts your natural sleep pattern. It’s important to take measures to create an environment conducive for sleep by using curtains that darken the room and disconnecting things that will disrupt sleep, such as a door bell, phones and other electronics.
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), shift nurses should keep the same bedtime and wake time schedule; use eye masks and ear plugs to eliminate noise and lights from sleep environment as well as avoid consuming alcohol and caffeinated beverages/foods close to bedtime.
If you’re looking for new medical opportunities in your nursing career or wanting to pick up some extra shifts, let ICON Medical Network open new doors for you today.