10 Self-Care Tips for Nurses: Week 1, National Nurses Month

A licensed practical nurse practicing self care by doing a yoga pose, featuring a blue background for nurses week and nurses month 2023.

Nurses — you spend your nights and days taking care of others. Self-care for nurses isn’t selfish – It’s time to take care of you. Recent research shows us that over 2.7 million nurses feel burnt out. In fact, the number one reason nurses quit is that they feel overworked. 

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The new generation of nursing is about balance: Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. 

You are a difference-maker. By maintaining a healthy self-care routine, you can find balance in your life, satisfaction in your nursing career, and motivation to continue toward your goals. This is what Week 1 of National Nurses Month is all about: Self-care for nurses! 

National Nurses Month 2023 Week 1: Self-Care for Nurses

May is National Nurses Month, and we recognize the impact you make every day! This week, self-care is just one of the pillars making an entire month of celebrating our nurses and difference-makers.

> Learn how to celebrate being a difference-maker this Nurses Month!

Being a nurse is no-doubt one of the most challenging yet fulfilling career paths out there. However, as you make life changing differences, you are able to recognize the value of your efforts more when practicing self-care.

That said, self-care for nurses isn’t just about healthy eating and exercise — it’s about recharging your physical, mental, emotional, and social batteries each day.

Do something that makes you happy or challenges you on your days off.

– Heather Q., Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

As you take better care of yourself, you might just find you can take better care of your patients, too!

Self-Care for Nurses: 10 Tips & Tricks to Take Care of You!

Week 1 of National Nurses Month 2023 is all about you! From busy schedules to stressful shifts, remembering to check in with yourself can be challenging. To help, we’ve put together a guide to self-care for nurses. 

Self-care can be simple everyday habits and check-ins. Here are 10 self-care for nurses tips to inspire you for Week 1 of National Nurses Month!

1. Join Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation

Self-care for nurses focuses on six key areas: 

  • Physical activity
  • Nutrition
  • Rest
  • Quality of life
  • Safety
  • Mental health

These are the core pillars of the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ program! You can join the community and access resources, blogs, and self-care challenges to reach your goals and empower your health. 

2.Take a Self-Care Assessment

Check in with you. Just as you’d assess your patient’s needs, assess your own needs. Go through each of the self-care for nurses areas and ask yourself what you need:

  • How is my physical activity?
  • How is my nutrition?
  • How well am I sleeping and resting?
  • How is my quality of life?
  • How safe do I feel?
  • How is my mental health? 

There are no right or wrong answers. All that matters is that you check in and honor your needs. You can access the American Nurses Foundation’s Well-Being Initiative to help guide you in this process as you pinpoint what you need and prioritize your energy.

3. Open Up About Your Mental Health

Health isn’t just physical.  In a recent survey, nurses were asked to rank their mental health on a scale from 1 – 10. The average nurse ranked themselves at a 5.8 — a significant decrease compared to surveys before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The past few years have taken a toll on many, especially in the healthcare industry. While you witness life-changing, inspiring moments as a nurse, you may also experience tragedy and trauma. Create space to step back and allow yourself time to process these events. Reach out to a trusted friend or therapist to open up about your mental health. 

4. Find a Personal Outlet

Find an outlet to decompress and release your stress after work. Consider: 

  • What emotions and experiences do I crave? 
  • What brings me joy? What brought me joy in the past?
  • Which areas of self-care for nurses do I need support in?
  • What do I lack? 

Perhaps you might revisit an old childhood hobby that brings you joy, like sports, arts, or music. Or, find a new hobby that allows you to relax, like yoga or meditation.

5. Practice Your Nursing Skills on Yourself

Nurses empower their patients’ health… but not always their own. Unfortunately, research shows nurses are often less healthy than the average American and prone to high stress and poor sleep. 

You know how to take care of others. You know how to assess, monitor, and treat a patient’s health — do the same for yourself. Check in and apply the same care to yourself. 

6. Tune into Your Social Needs

How is your social health? Do you need more quality time with friends, family, and loved ones? Could you use a friend or two at work? Do you need more alone time to decompress? Do you need a break from screens? 

Social health is all about balance. Take time to pause each week, assess your social health, and honor your needs.

7. Create a Gratitude Practice

It’s not always easy to just “be happy.” But there are tools that can help us gauge our quality of life.

One of the most powerful tools to spark joy is gratitude. When we practice gratitude, we can re-find our purpose, increase mindfulness, and find joy no matter where we are in life. 

Consider creating gratitude affirmations, making a gratitude journal, or tuning into ANA’s 9-part Gratitude Podcast to learn how to incorporate gratitude into your daily routine.

8. Take Care of Your Personal Space

Your environment affects you. Make your home or apartment your “happy place” — a place you can rest, relax, and recharge after work. This might be decorating, decluttering, or rearranging your space.

9. Establish Work-Life Boundaries

No matter how much you love your nursing career, you must set work-life boundaries. Boundaries are the antidote to burnout! Create practices that allow you to leave work “at work.”

  • Change out of your work clothes as soon as you get home.
  • Allow yourself to take a break from “work talk.”
  • Find a project or hobby outside of work that you’re passionate about.

10. Set Personal & Professional Goals

Self-care for nurses requires rest and growth. Again, it’s all about balance. Setting goals in your personal and professional life will grant you something to look forward to and work toward each day.

Celebrate National Nurses Month with Us!

You make a difference every day, and self-care is just the beginning. Ready to celebrate your career all month long? In honor of the first week of Nurses Month, we’re giving away a “Fit” Wearable Watch & Activity Tracker. Learn how you can join the celebration! 

Stay tuned for more weekly giveaways, resources, and features from nurses this month. Ready to reach your personal and professional goals this Nurses Month? Discover how you can connect with CareerStaff.

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