We all do our best to incorporate healthy habits into our day, but restrictions can often limit the ones we get started on as well as those we see to fruition. As a nurse, you’re well aware of the restrictions in your day. But, although there can be obstacles, the rewards for following a few healthy habits can pay off, both immediately and in the long run.
So, while we may not be able to offer you five more hours of free time to your day, we can offer you some insight on habits which will give you more energy and focus throughout it. Let’s take a closer look at seven habits of highly healthy nurses.
The most important meal of the day
Breakfast gets its famous reputation because it is true. A good breakfast can set the tone for your whole day. Eating enough of the right foods will keep you from needing a mid-morning snack and will help you face the initial challenges of the day. So what should you eat for this all important meal? The traditional healthy breakfast items you’ve known for years: fruit, oatmeal (no sugar added), whole grains, and lean protein (think Canadian bacon, not real bacon).
Read those labels
There’s growing momentum towards a change in how nutritional information will be displayed on foods in the future, so embrace this time of change and alter your habits to pay closer attention to nutrition facts if you aren’t already doing so. These facts can make you acutely aware that one of your favorite foods is hindering your health or clue you in to the fact that something you enjoy as a guilty pleasure is actually delivering a modest amount of a vitamin or mineral to you.
Make meals a family affair
You know what they say, “The family that eats together, may also live longer and have fewer trips to the doctor.” That may not be the phrase you were taught growing up, but it’s true. Eating together as a family has been shown to promote healthier meal choices. Obviously, this can be undone if this meal is shared after a trip through the drive-thru, but just sharing a few group meals in a week is a step in the right direction. Not only can this lead to healthy food choices, but also to increased interaction among family members, which is something great for your emotional health as well (it’s important to keep a balance).
(More than) Adequate hydration
You’ve likely heard that you need to be consuming somewhere in the range of eight glasses of water per day. The odds are that you aren’t consuming that much, even with a relaxed standard around four to six glasses. But water helps your body in many ways, beyond satiating thirst. Drinking enough water can help you feel full which can ward off snack cravings or help you power through what would normally be a mealtime when you’re on a long shift.
Remember to eat your vegetables …
… and your fruits. The same lessons from childhood ring true throughout our lives. And while we were raised on the food pyramid, a more friendly food visual has come into being. The “choose my plate” graphic makes it easy to see what you should be consuming at meal times, with fruits and vegetables making up over half of the recommended portions. Don’t miss out on the crucial vitamins, minerals and fiber which fruits and veggies provide. Enjoying a well-rounded diet will help you have more energy throughout your day.
This one should be easy to check off the list. As a nurse, you’re no stranger to being on your feet all day and walking miles throughout the same space. Still, it’s important to keep this one in mind. Activities other than walking should make an appearance in your life as well. If work routine allows, take the stairs a few times each day to change things up. Activity can also come in the form of yoga or other basic exercises you can tuck in throughout the day.
Try new things
While looking to blend the previous items on this list into your life, use that as an opportunity to expand your horizons. When trying to figure out how to add more fruits and veggies into your diet, grab the ones you haven’t tried before to not only reap the benefits, but maybe discover a new favorite. The same goes for staying active. If you’ve never tried yoga, Pilates or something like Crossfit, now is the time! You’ll burn calories and may find an exercise which resonates with you.
What habits do you follow in order to stay healthy?