Recent studies show that more than half of nurses are classified as overweight. Researchers at the University of Maryland’s School of Nursing found that 55 percent of the 2,103 female nurses they surveyed were obese. The causes seem to stem from job stress and the effect on sleep of long, irregular work hours (source: ABC News). The study looked at body mass index estimates and also affected the quality of care the patients received.
Nurses are just as prone to health issues as their patients.
We all know the stresses of work and weird, long hours can take quite a toll on our health and habits. As a healthcare professional it is your responsibility to take care of patients and make sure they are following the heath guidelines provided to them. However, in the midst of everything, some nurses forget about how important it is to make sure they are taking care of themselves first.
Bad habits are likely to form with nurses hectic schedules, and always making sure your patients are on the right track to recovery from whatever issue they may be dealing with, can cause you to stray away from your personal needs. Well, it may be time to take the time to listen to what your body is saying.
Breaking bad habits.
It is believed that it takes 21 consecutive days to make and break a habit. The 21-day rule originates from “Psycho-Cybernetics,” published in the 1970s. Granted, it is much easier to make a habit rather than break one. But luckily, we are here to give you some tips on breaking some unhealthy habits your busy nursing schedule may have created.
Some of the unhealthy eating habits that may have formed since you agreed to your busy work schedules could be caused by sleep deprivation, fatigue, and/ or lack of motivation.
1. The key to breaking any bad habit you may be battling with is to take small steps!
Typically, things that change overnight do not stick for very long and in order to perform your best, you want these bad habits to be a thing of your past. Try to start by bringing yourself immediate success through small advances. Work out for 15 minutes or eat a banana and yogurt for breakfast rather than cold pizza. It’ll help you feel better about yourself and make you want to keep it up!
2. Keep a record of your success.
It’s really helpful to track your progress and improve your areas of struggle if you keep a journal! That will help you to better focus on the habits you’d like to change and will bring awareness as to why you are doing the things you are. You can keep track of what you’re eating, when you are falling asleep, when you are waking up, exercising, etc., and get yourself on a successful track to healthy in no time!
3. Schedules are your best friend.
You may be constantly on-the-go from the time you wake up and right until you lay back down at the end of the night to get some sleep and do it all over again the next day. Creating a schedule can help you feel less stressed and keep on track with your eating and exercise. For example, if you know you’re going to have a 30 minute break in between patients, pencil in “eating time” and make sure you stick to it. Skipping a meal can cause your body to go into fasting mode, and in turn make you store fat and gain weight. So staying on an eating schedule can help your metabolism and give you energy throughout the day.
4. Plan ahead.
Eating healthy may be an obstacle when the hospital cafeteria limits your options. Stock a lunch box with healthy food options and pick from it throughout the day. You can pack your food the night before, that way, you can just wake up, grab your lunch box and have healthy items to snack on throughout the busy day. It will be mindless work and keep you going til your shift is over!