Hi all! Hope your summer has gone well! It has been a fun and busy one for me, especially since I had a clinical group for a super fast summer session. Clinicals can be tough enough on a good day, but for my fundamentals nursing students, summer session is like learning via a fire hose!
As we head back into the fall session and the stress level starts to amp up again, I thought I would share some self-care tips for nursing students. Although you may have heard a few of them in the past, really take them in and consider, “how is your self-care routine?” Students are notorious for not taking care of themselves and I think this is amplified in nursing students. People entering the nursing profession tend to seek to put others first and demonstrate a high level of care to others, often at the expense of themselves.
So, here’s my tips for taking care of yourself while in nursing school and after graduation too!
Self-care Tips for Nursing Students
Don’t feel guilty taking care of yourself
I often like to remind folks of what they tell you at the beginning of all commercial flights… “When the oxygen masks fall from the roof, place the mask first on…. YOURSELF. Then help those in need around you.” Why do they tell you that? If you are not OK, you certainly can not help others or be productive! To be quite frank, if you are sick in bed, you aren’t helping anyone, especially your grades. So, remember, it is OK to care for yourself. In fact, if you don’t take care of yourself and ignore the signs your body is signalling to you, it will take maters in its own hands and make you stop! Don’t feel guilty taking care of yourself.
The key really to anything in life is finding balance. I know, easier said than done. But, especially for students – all studying and no fun makes a very depressed student. To stay engaged in your studies, engage in life. No, you won’t be able to do everything you did before – but you certainly can find some time for some fun activities. It might just be taking 30 minutes and watching your favorite TV show or going for a walk. Just that brief moment of escape can help recharge your mind and soul and get you back focused on your task at hand. No plan is successful when you wall yourself in your room for marathon study sessions. Sure, you have a lot to learn – you want to be an awesome nurse – but you will actually remember more when you have found balance and your brain is more fresh and receptive.
Schedule in some fun time, along with your study time
A way to help keep the balance is to actually schedule it in! Just like you would put in your work schedule, make sure you schedule your study time and your fun time. By visualizing it all, you will be able to better evaluate if you have a good balance. Plus, if you schedule it some down time, you are likely to participate and do it. But, don’t have too much fun…. remember, balance!
Rest and fuel
Your body is an amazing machine! Look at all we require of it all day, every day. Well, in return, it requires being cared for. I am not going to lecture you on a balance diet, but I will put my two cents in about getting appropriate sleep. So often students like to cheat themselves of sleep. This is probably one of the worst things you can do to yourself. Sure, you have a lot of studying to do, but it will be useless if you are not mentally able to take it all in. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that a sleep deprived person is just as impaired as a drunk person. Would you study drunk and expect to be successful on your next test? (wait….don’t answer that!) Of course not! Get a good nights rest and you will be much more successful than trying to fly on 4 hours. Not to mention, when you come to clinicals, you are essentially impaired and placing people’s lives at risk… don’t be that person!
I can not stress this enough! If you have had me for clinicals, I likely have rambled on about this topic as I am very passionate about it. So often students, especially females, tend to have really negative self-talk. For example, telling yourself things like, “why am I so dumb?” or “I will never get this!” Basically you are directing your brain to do or believe such things. Who do you think you listen to more – others or yourself? I can tell a student a 100 times over that they are doing great, but until they start to tell themselves, they will NOT believe it. Remember, the loudest voice you hear is your own, so be careful what you are telling yourself. I challenge you this next week, be aware of what you tell yourself – it might surprise you!
So those are my self-care tips for nursing students. Although not an exhaustive list, I hope it got you thinking a little bit about you plan for being successful in school.
Do you have some really great tips you would like to share? Would love to hear them!! Leave a comment below and share the love!
Until next time – take care, be safe and wash your hands!