Nurses, you are our healthcare heroes. We know that you work long hours on your feet all day while you take care of those who need you the most. You’re selfless, compassionate, and work for the GR8ER good. That’s what makes our hearts happy here at GR8NESS. But with GR8 work can come GR8 stress and caregivers need self-care too. That’s why we’re here to share the best self-care activities for nurses.
When you set aside time for yourself to rejuvenate, breathe, and smile, that’s when you become the best you. And when you’re the best you, you can take the best care of others. It’s important to recharge on your days off and ensure that your own physical and mental health is at its best. As a person who spends a significant amount of time putting other’s needs first, you must remember to put yourself first sometimes too.
These self-care activities for nurses go beyond face masks and massages, though you will certainly find those things on this list too. Self-care encompasses many different things, including personal and professional development, nurturing your mental and emotional health, and more. We’ve taken all of that into consideration to compile the ultimate self-care list for nurses.
27 Self-Care Activities for Nurses
Try a few of these self-care activities for nurses to take care of yourself and further develop your skills and capabilities. You may also wish to sit down and create a comprehensive self-care plan to keep the momentum going over time.
You will find that when you take a few minutes each day to care for yourself, and yourself only, that you will begin to see positive change happening all around you. This change then ripples out and improves the lives of others, spreading positivity, inspiration and joy.
Check out our comprehensive list of self-care activities for nurses:
- Try foot reflexology or get a foot massage
- Open up to others about your feelings and stressors
- Remember that it’s okay to cry
- Sleep in on your day off
- Create an at-home aromatherapy session
- Stretch out your sore muscles
- Meal prep at the beginning of your week and take healthy meals to work
- Write down three things you’re grateful for each day
- Use positive affirmations to get through the day at work
- Set aside one day to spend alone with yourself
- Set aside one day to spend time with your partner or family
- Read nursing journals to further your professional development
- Mentor nurses who are new to the job
- Attend training seminars to further your career
- Attend nursing support groups when feeling stressed
- Listen to podcasts for a healthy mind on your way to and from work
- Park at the back of the parking lot at work to get your steps in
- Buy a shiatsu massage pillow to release muscle tension at home
- Celebrate small victories every day
- Take advantage of employer-sponsored wellness programs
- Buy a pair of super comfortable new shoes
- Get those fashionable scrubs you’ve been eyeing
- Remind yourself to drink water throughout your shift
- Remind yourself that not every day will be the best day, and that’s okay
- Find a new hobby
- Leave work at work
- Step outside on your lunch break to get some sunshine
Putting Yourself First
As a professional caregiver it’s easy to get caught up in the pattern of always putting others before yourself. However, you must remember that in order to perform at your best you first must be the GR8EST version of yourself. Trying a few of our self-care activities for nurses may help you along your journey.
Burnout is a very real condition that many nurses experience. Studies state that nearly 50% of nurses experience burnout. Symptoms include anxiety, frequent headaches, constant fatigue or sleep disturbances, irritability both in and outside of the workplace, digestive issues, depression, and more. If you think you may be experiencing burnout on-the-job, take this quiz and learn what steps you can take to get back on track.
Dedication and Self-Care
Of the nurses surveyed, the majority reported that they did not plan to leave their jobs in the near future. We get it. You’re dedicated, you’re hardworking, and you’re passionate. Being burnt-out is not a sign of weakness and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t good at your job. Many people feel the same way. That’s why it’s essential to make these self-care activities for nurses part of your routine.
Sometimes sitting back to relax, playing your favorite music, or reading a good book isn’t enough to beat burnout or feelings of sadness or exhaustion. That’s okay. Nurses experience an incredible amount of stress on-the-job, may be exposed to traumatic experiences, and spend long periods away from family.
One survey states that more than half of responding nurses report that their workload and shift hours negatively affect their mental health. Additionally, 40% report that they experience harassment on-the-job, and 20% report experiencing sexual harassment specifically. These are all things to take extremely seriously. They are things that practicing a few self-care activities for nurses may not fix.
Resources Available to You
Please know that if you are experiencing any of these feelings that you are not alone. There are many ways that you can seek professional, anonymous help. Conversations with a therapist or psychiatrist are always confidential, unless you pose the threat of harming yourself or others. Your Human Resources department should be able to direct you to care that is covered by your employee insurance plan.
Additionally, there are many support groups available if you are more comfortable in a less formal setting. You can search on MeetUp.com for support groups in your local area that are just for nurses. Such groups include those specific for nurses in different age groups, gender specific groups, groups specific to ethnicity and cultural background, and more. You can come together with a group who shares more than your profession; they share similar life experiences as well.
Maintaining Self-Care as a Nurse
Just as self-care activities for nurses alone may not entirely address your feelings or experiences, professional therapy and support groups may not either. In fact, many therapists and psychiatrists recommend that individuals implement self-care activities into their daily lives at home to help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
When you need a refresher, check back on this list of self-care activities for nurses. For more ideas on self-care, visit our 101 self-care guide.