Are you taking care of yourself? As dedicated travel healthcare professionals, it’s easy to focus on providing care to others while neglecting our own mental health and well-being. The demanding schedules and long work hours can take a toll on our personal self-care. This blog serves as a reminder to take care of yourself, prevent burnout, and feel great throughout the day!
Here are seven tips to consider implementing that will boost your mental health and combat burnout:
1: Exercise or Movement
This allows you to get blood flow throughout the body and brain, increasing energy and clarity to get the day started. Also releases BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) which improves thought, memory, and learning! This is especially important as you make vital decisions throughout your day. Find movement that brings you and your body joy! This doesn’t have to be the traditional gym method. The possibilities for joyful movement are endless!
2: Cold Shower
Cold exposure has been shown to boost your immune system, elevate your mood, improve circulation, increase metabolism, reduce inflammation, and combat symptoms of depression. A simple way to do this is by taking the last 20-30 seconds of your morning shower under some refreshing cold water. (Start with 30 seconds at a time and work your way up to 2-3 minutes!)
3: Nature Walk
Nature has a calming and rejuvenating effect on the mind and body. Nature walks have been shown to improve physical, emotional, and mental health. This includes reduced stress and anxiety, improved mood, and increased overall well-being. Nature has also been linked to improved cognitive function and creativity! You can do this in a few small ways throughout your day. You could take a 15-minute walk before you hop in your car before your morning commute. If your busy day allows, you could enjoy your lunch on the move with a lunchtime walk. Another really great way to wind-down from your long day is to decompress in the evening with a walk! Nature gives us a great gift of relaxation.
4: Nourishing Breakfast
Eating a nutritious breakfast has been shown to improve energy levels, reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, reduce risk of heart disease, and powers your brain for the day. Studies have shown that a high protein and low sugar breakfast will keep you feeling satiated throughout the day and provide improved concentration. Some great ways to do this could be through protein smoothies (with added chia seeds, avocado, blueberries, and Greek yogurt), Greek yogurt and fruit bowls, eggs, and avocado toast. The possibility for meals is endless, but what’s important is giving your body the energy it needs to keep you going through your busy day. You are worthy of a great start to your day!
5: Embrace Continuous Learning
Learning something new every day is a great way to keep your brain sharp, gain confidence, improve concentration and memory, improve problem solving skills, and improve your mental health. Just 15 minutes a day will do all of this and more! You can fit this habit into your daily routine during your commute, walks, or while cooking dinner. Or give yourself a moment to read a few pages of your favorite book to get your brain going before you jump out of bed in the morning.
6: Journal Your Thoughts
Journaling is an extremely effective way to reduce stress and gain clarity. Journaling deepens self-discovery and allows you to process emotions and help figure out your next step. If you feel like you’ve been “stuck” or are experiencing a lot of negative emotions, try to journal those thoughts out instead of keeping them in your head and see the clarity you receive on the other side!
Get started! – Journal Prompts for Medical Professionals
7: Practice Meditation
Take a few minutes each day for meditation. Even just 5 minutes of daily meditation can significantly reduce stress, anxiety, and blood pressure while enhancing emotional well-being and self-awareness. Use guided meditations to ease into the practice and focus on a place, color, or object to calm your mind.
Try this! – Happiness Break: A Mindful Breath Meditation with Greater Good Science Center.
Helpful tips for implementation
This may sound like a lot to try and implement all at once, especially if you already feel like your schedule is too full to add anything else, so start small and build from there:
Tip #1: Choose 1 of the 7 options above to implement. Allocate just 20 minutes (or even 5 minutes) earlier in your morning routine for one of these self-care activities.
Tip #2: Double Dip! If you want to do multiple of these but don’t have the time, try combining them. For example, read for 15 minutes while on the treadmill or listen to a podcast during a nature walk. Do what works best for you and you can continue to do!
Tip #3: Don’t overthink it. Every new habit starts with a single action step. First cold shower? Try 15 seconds and improve 5 seconds each day. Never meditated? Find a guided meditation or just simply breathe with your eyes closed for 5 minutes. Never journaled? Start with 3 things you’re grateful for and build from there. Don’t forget to be patient with yourself as you find what works for you.
A final word…
Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others.
By Nathan Estergaard, Nurse Recruiter