Studying to become a nurse is all about learning how to look after the health of your patients. However, you mustn’t forget to also look after your own health at the same time.
Doing a nursing degree can be tough because you usually have a busy schedule of classes, plenty of assignments to finish, and clinical placements to complete. That’s why it’s so important that you make your well-being a priority during your studies. This will help you to stay physically and mentally healthy, avoid burnout, ace your modules, and look good while doing it.
Read on for some top tips.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Making sure that you eat a balanced diet while studying is important for several reasons. Not only does it keep your body healthy, but it also helps to ensure that your brain functions at its best, so you have a better chance of getting good grades on your course. Plus, it has a big impact on your appearance.
Try to aim for meals that are packed with fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as nuts, seeds, whole grains, and pulses. Ideally, you want to have lots of different natural colors on your plate. This should make sure that you get all the vitamins and minerals you need, although you can always take a supplement to be certain.
Conversely, you want to avoid fast food, processed meats, and tucking into too many salty snacks or sugary sweets. You can allow yourself the occasional treat, but only in moderation. If this is something you struggle with, consider using them as rewards for achieving certain academic goals and don’t let yourself eat them at any other time.
Drink Plenty of Water
More than half of your body weight is water, so you must drink enough of it every day. Most people should aim for seven or eight glasses daily, but you can also consume water through certain foods such as cucumber and celery. You’re probably already aware that staying hydrated is a key beauty tip because it’s great for maintaining youthful skin. However, did you know that it’s also critical for your cognitive functions?
Dehydration can cause you to have difficulty concentrating, impair your mood, and even have a detrimental effect on your memory. This is why students, in particular, should be sure to drink enough H2O, especially if you’ve got a test coming up. If you find water a little bland, you can try making it more palatable by infusing it with cucumber, strawberries, lemon, or lime. Meanwhile, green tea and other herbal varieties are a good alternative if you fancy a hot drink.
On the other hand, you want to avoid drinking sugary sodas, energy drinks, and alcohol. Don’t worry, coffee is fine, and experts suggest up to four cups a day is ideal.
Make Sleep a Priority
Sleep is one of the body’s most important functions. It recharges you, lowers your risk of certain diseases, helps you to maintain a healthy weight, and boosts your mood – not to mention it keeps your eyes looking bright and fresh. What will be most interesting to you as a nursing student though is that sleep is vital for cognition. If you don’t get enough shuteye, you’ll find that you have difficulty focusing, your memory will suffer, your reaction speed will slow down, and your thinking will become fuzzy.
Experts recommend getting seven to nine hours of sleep every night. For those who struggle with this, try the following tips:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends)
- Avoid screen time and caffeine late at night
- Wear an eye mask or hang blackout curtains if you find light prevents you from sleeping
- Listen to calming music or a sleep story to help you drift off
- Avoid intense exercise close to bedtime (try something gentle like yoga or tai chi instead)
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool and comfortable
- Invest in a top-quality mattress and comfy bedding
- Write your worries down in a notebook before bed, to stop them from keeping you awake
Take Regular Exercise
Love it or hate it, as a nurse you’ll know that exercise is critical for both staying healthy and looking good. It helps you to avoid weight gain, staves off a range of harmful medical conditions, and improves your mood. It’s particularly important for nursing students because you’ll likely be on your feet all day during your clinical placements, so having high levels of physical stamina is key.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter what form of exercise you do, as long as you stick at it. Your college almost certainly has a whole range of activities you can participate in, whether it’s dance, martial arts, or team sports. For those who are studying an online FNP program, check out what classes you can attend via video or look for groups in your local area.
When it comes to studying, taking a break to go for a walk in nature will do wonders to clear your mind and spark your creativity and productivity.
Set Aside Time for Pampering Self-Care
Indulging in some pampering self-care is one of the most effective ways to take care of your health and beauty during your nursing studies. Whether you want to treat yourself to a day at the spa or purchase some top-quality products and bring the spa to you, the key is to set aside dedicated time for recuperation.
Self-care doesn’t only have to be about long baths and beauty treatments though. You should also try some of the following ideas to boost your mood and clear your mind:
- Journal to deal with negative thoughts
- Engage in a creative hobby such as art, music, or crafts
- Call up your best friend for a chat
- Use an adult coloring book to quiet anxiety
- Cuddle up with your pet
- Practice positive self-talk
- Put on your favorite outfit
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Read a good book
- Meditate or do a breathing exercise
- Put on your favorite tunes, then dance and sing along