As a CNA, your workplace is unpredictable. You never know when you will be required to work at different wards and departments which expose you to diseases and other health risks. While it is important for CNAs to offer sacrifices for the benefit of their patients, they must maintain their own health not only for better patient care but also because the nursing profession demands it: good physical and mental well-being that allows them to perform their tasks effectively and efficiently while adhering to certain norms of conduct.
Here are twenty ways on how you can take care of yourself physical health as well as mental health as a CNA: First we will talk about the physical health:
Physical Health Tips for CNAs
1. Adopt a healthy lifestyle – It is not surprising to see CNAs who are addicted to smoking, caffeine or junk food because of their stressful lifestyle. As much as possible, avoid them if you can. Don’t just say that you’ll cut down on your caffeine intake; try quitting all together and avoid cigarettes and other bad habits that could increase the risk of having health problems.
2. Keep yourself hydrated – Keeping yourself hydrated can help reduce fatigue and keep you refreshed which will help prevent stress especially during long working hours or if ever you have shift work. Drinking water does not only make you feel good but it also has many benefits for your body one of which is its capability to relieve sore muscles. Drink water before, during or after your shift to get the best results.
3. Eat healthy foods – Like what was mentioned above, nurses are prone to having poor eating habits due to increased stress and busy schedules which can cause them to eat more junk food than healthy meals like vegetables and fruits. This kind of lifestyle could increase the risk of developing obesity problems especially if you don’t exercise regularly which could eventually lead to cardiovascular diseases and other related health risks. Also, skip on taking caffeinated drinks especially in combination with sugary or fatty snacks that could cause insulin resistance or high blood sugar levels leading to weight gain, fatigue and mood swings.
4. Bring you own snacks – While it is a healthy habit for nurses to always have some food or snacks with them, be reminded that there are set times for your meal breaks during work. If you don’t want to bring your own food from home, try buying from the hospital cafeteria especially if you’re working in a health care institution that has strict policies on proper nutrition and weight control. You can also opt to bring light meals or snacks so you won’t feel hungry while performing your tasks.
5. Exercise regularly – Being busy doesn’t mean that you should skip exercises like jogging or even walking around the hospital compound because exercise promotes good circulation of blood which will help relieve tension and improve mood swings; thus avoiding depression problems that could affect both your mental health as well as physical health.
6. Wear appropriate clothing – Wearing appropriate clothing that is conducive to your work can help you improve your performance at work without worrying about being uneasy or uncomfortable with what you are wearing. Always remember that if you feel good, then it reflects on how people will treat and react towards you.
7. Take care your personal hygiene – Always remember to take care of your physical appearance by maintaining your personal hygiene. Not only will this help boost your confidence but it can also prevent the spread of diseases within the hospital especially if you are working in a surgical environment.
8. Protect yourself from harmful chemicals – Nurses are prone to having health problems because of their exposure to different kinds of chemicals used in operating rooms and other related departments. Protecting yourself from harmful substances can be done by using proper gears like masks, gloves, caps and gowns when performing certain procedures or tasks that require chemical disinfection processes.
9. Avoid high risk activities – While nurses might look physically strong, they are not exempted from having health problems like other people because of the stress they endure every day; thus avoiding smoking (tobacco or shabu), drinking alcohol excessively or taking illegal drugs since abusing these things could lead to heart attack which is one of the top leading causes of deaths in men particularly those who are below 60 years old. It would also be best to avoid risky activities like traffic racing, motorcycle racing and other dangerous things.
10. Practice lifestyle changes – Last but not least, never forget to practice your own healthy and happy lifestyle by engaging into activities that you really like; such as dancing, singing, playing instruments or even watching TV. It’s best to confront your problems instead of dwelling on them because this could help boost your self esteem which is one of the most important aspects when it comes to maintaining your physical and mental health.
Mental Health Tips for CNAs
Mental health is equally important for CNAs like their physical health. Here are some tips on how you can maintain your mental health:
1. Avoid overwork – It is important to know when enough is enough because CNAs tend to work overtime most of the time and neglect their own physical needs; thus avoiding burnout because this could lead to depression which is one of the top leading causes or reasons for early death in women particularly those who are below 40 years old. You should also avoid dwelling into negative thoughts since this will only affect your judgement later on which could cause a lot problems at work. Make sure that you have a healthy balance between work and your personal life so that you won’t feel overwhelmed, stressed out and depressed every day before going to bed.
2. Relax yourself – Whenever you can afford some free time on your hands, try to relax yourself and reduce stress. Look for ways on how you can decompress like engaging in your hobbies, taking a short break with your colleagues or calling your friends at home. While it is important to spend time with loved ones, avoid over-relaxing because this could make you sleep longer than the usual which might lead to accidents especially if you’re driving back home after work.
3. Set realistic goals in your work – Have you ever tried to make something with an impossible deadline? It can be very stressful and trying to meet that goal may even lead to health problems like hypertension which is why it’s important for you to set realistic goals when you are performing tasks at work.
4. Don’t think of yourself as a machine – Nurses tend to live an unhealthy lifestyle because they often neglect their needs just so they could keep up with the demands of the job which is why it would be best if you will take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally by identifying what makes you happy instead of taking home everything that bothers or makes you sad.
5. Have enough sleep – Nurses who do not get enough sleep or rest are more likely to be stressed and tired once they arrive at the hospital and will find it harder to perform tasks appropriately and efficiently. If ever you can’t get a good night’s sleep, try taking short naps during your break time or whenever you feel that your body needs some rest especially after lunch time when most people become sleepy. While sleeping, avoid eating heavy meals because such could cause acid reflux which may lead to less than quality sleep due to discomfort while lying down.
6. Avoid people who stress you out – Sometimes, it would be best for you to avoid people who are known to stress you out because they could affect your mental health; thus affecting the quality of service you provide as a nurse.
7. Have fun with friends and family – It’s important for CNAs to take some time off from work so that they could recharge their batteries especially if they are exposed to mentally stressful situations at work which is why having fun with friends and family will help them strengthen relationships which can boost their productivity at work.
8. Avoid long term isolation – Nurses tend to ignore themselves just so they wont feel lonely which is why it’s important for them to avoid long term isolation or things that could lead them into problems like excessive drinking which could affect their responsibilities as a CNA.
9. Manage stress levels – In addition to avoiding long term isolation, it would also be best if nurses will manage their stress levels by doing things that they enjoy like going on a date with significant other, watching movies or reading books which can distract them from their daily responsibility as a CNA. There are different ways of managing stress without forgetting your responsibilities as a nurse but one of the most effective and convenient way is by practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing and yoga.
10. Talk to someone you trust – If your mental health is in danger because of work-related stress, it’s best to talk with a friend or family member who is somebody you can trust. These people could help you relieve the tension by offering advice and helping in any way they can so that your problem will not get too big that it would cause problems for you and other people. Take professional help if the burden is too much.