How HCPs can commit to better self-care

How HCPs can commit to better self-care

The World Health Organization defines self-care as “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health worker.” For healthcare professionals who are constantly working long and demanding hours, learning the art of self-care is key. If it is left neglected, HCPs run the risk of feeling tired and burned out from their work. Your mental and physical health are closely connected, which is why the deterioration of the former can lead to several chronic health problems if left untreated. The right routine allows you to feel energized and ready to contribute while reducing the risk of potential health complications down the line.

Get a good night’s sleep

 Many nurses struggle to get a full 7 to 9 hours of sleep, especially if they work the night shift. For HCPs who can afford to, the mental and physical benefits are endless. Getting a good night of rest reduces fatigue, lowers your overall stress levels, and allows you to think more clearly while you work. In a line of profession such as healthcare, where the margins can be slim and a keen attention to detail is a requirement, that clarity of mind can make a massive difference. If you develop a strong sleep schedule, your overall mood and energy levels will see a dramatic improvement in due time.

Lean on a strong support network

The right people in the right place will help you get where you need to be. HCPs should work on developing and maintaining a strong support network of family, friends, and fellow professionals. As a healthcare provider, your colleagues can offer you job opportunities or career development paths that may not be open to you otherwise. On a personal level, the right advice, consolation or simple company can make a big difference when it comes to mental health. Talking with friends and making strong connections has a direct and tangible link with improved health outcomes, such as reduced risk of depression, stress, and high blood pressure.

Exercise, exercise, exercise

As was mentioned earlier, both your physical and mental health greatly inform one another. Adopting exercise is a simple form of self-care, but it is greatly effective if you are able to stick to a routine. Exercise is not only good for your overall health, but it also releases endorphins that help you feel relaxed and positive. A good exercise session is the perfect outlet for release, especially after a packed and stressful work week. Understandably, many HCPs may not have the time or energy to commit to regular gym visits and that is fine. Just taking a short walk and accruing steps or cycling around a park are great, low-intensity exercises that add up if you can commit to them.

Take on healthy lifestyle decisions

Preparing your own meals may seem like a bother, but the returns are often worth it. Many HCPs resort to eating cheap takeout food, which are usually extremely unhealthy (especially when consumed regularly.) Sticking with a balanced and healthy diet allows you to stay energized for longer, and staves off the risk of chronic health complications later in life. In exchange for the extra effort, bringing your own healthy food to your workplace will save you money in the bigger picture. For extra convenience, you can search for healthy freezer friendly meals you can prepare in bulk, portion, and defrost whenever you want.

Take a breather

Even if you build the healthiest habits, there may come a time where a vacation is heavily needed. You try taking things on healthily, but you just cannot muster the energy or motivation to contribute at a high level. This may be the time to use your paid vacation days, and take time off for yourself. Use this opportunity to rest, indulge in your hobbies, and reorganize your thoughts before you return to work. If you primarily book per-diem shifts with apps like VitaWerks, just set aside a couple days and make up the deficit later. This is the kind of flexibility you can expect, when you book shifts through our app.

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