Tips for Nursing Students
We all know that we need to exercise and eat healthily to stay in shape, enjoy good health, and decrease our chances of developing a wide range of conditions in later life. We also know that getting plenty of sleep, practicing self-care, and prioritizing our mental health are all crucial to a happy, healthy life. But knowing all of this doesn’t make it easier, and for busy, often stressed-out nursing students, just knowing the benefits of good health and fitness doesn’t make it easier.
When we’re busy, stressed, and always on the go, it’s hard to find the time to cook healthy meals from scratch, and fitting exercise into our hectic schedules can be almost impossible. The following tips are things that you can fit into your lifestyle, and small, actionable changes that are easy to stick to, even when you are preparing for exams or out on placements.
Prepare to Be Flexible
When it comes to fitness, there’s a lot to be said for routine. Most of us find it easier to work out if we stick to days and times and have plans in place. When things become routine, they are easier to stick to, when we get out of our routines, we often find ourselves starting to make excuses and avoiding exercise.
As a nursing student, the positives of routine still apply, and in day-to-day life, you should aim to stick to your routines as much as you can. But your routines as a student, and later on as a nurse, aren’t going to be as stable as someone working a 9-5. If you are studying accelerated nursing programs from Baylor University you’ll have placements, as well as exams, study time, and assignments. Even if you study accelerated nursing program online, flexibility is key.
Enjoy routines, but don’t be scared to make changes and try new things when you need to. To do this, it can be useful to keep the routine the same, as much as possible, just at different times of the day. Workout as soon as you wake up, whether that’s 7 am before you sit down to study, or 5 pm before you head off on a night shift, for example.
Meal Plan and Prep
Healthy eating is one of the best ways to stay healthy, but it has many other benefits. Healthy eating can increase your energy levels, help you to sleep, make it easier to focus, and help you to maintain a healthy weight. A healthy diet will decrease your blood pressure, reduce the risks of cancer, and help your hair, skin, and nails stay strong and healthy.
But junk food is far easier to grab when you are on the go. To make healthy eating easier, start meal planning and prepping.
Meal planning can be daunting to start with, and many of us can struggle to come up with new meals all of the time. But you don’t have to. There’s nothing wrong with a pasta bake every week if that’s what you want. Just try to add at least one different meal a week for variation.
Meal planning makes shopping easier, helps you to save money, reduces food waste, and makes it easier to eat healthy, because you always know what you are having, and you never need to come up with something quickly.
Once you’ve planned and shopped for all of your meals, take some time to prepare them. This could be small things like chopping veg and keeping it in sealed tubs in the fridge, or as big as cooking whole meals and keeping them in portions in the fridge and freezer ready to serve.
Prepare Healthy Snacks
Another common tip is to avoid snacking but for many of us, this isn’t practical. There’s nothing wrong with snacking, as long as unhealthy options are kept for treats and enjoyed in moderation. Snacking on healthy options can be a fantastic way to boost energy levels during a big study session. Make it easy to enjoy healthy snacks by making sure you’ve got things that you enjoy to hand. Chop fruit salads and veg sticks and explore other healthy options.
Run from A to B
Finding time to go for a run can be hard, so why not run to or from the places that you need to go anyway? If there’s a shower at your destination, and you can pack a small bag with a change of clothes, this can be a great way to start your day. If not, run home at the end of it. As long as it’s not too far, it might not take too much longer than using public transport. Another great option is cycling, or even walking to your destinations.
Yoga is ideal for nursing students. Regular yoga can help to strengthen your body and increase your flexibility, but it can also help you to relax and unwind, sleep, and reduce your stress levels. The best thing about yoga is that it can be easy to fit into your busy routine, and even very short sessions, when practiced regularly can contribute towards a healthy, fit, and happy life.
Find Things That You Enjoy
You are far more likely to stick to things, whether it’s an exercise program or healthy eating if you enjoy them. If you don’t like salads, don’t eat them. Instead, focus on healthy meals and snacks that you love the taste of, and allow yourself less healthy options in moderation.
When it comes to exercise, if you are short on time, you certainly won’t want to waste your free time doing something that you hate, or that makes you feel unhappy or stressed out, and nor should you, life is far too short. Instead, explore alternatives. If you hate running, what about walking while listening to an audiobook? Do you enjoy swimming? Would you prefer to do something a little different like paddle boarding, roller skating, or a dance class? Remember, all movement counts.
Health and fitness are so important for nursing students, and later, nurses. But it can be daunting when you are busy. To make it easier, stop worrying about things that you can’t do, don’t like, or don’t have time for, and find things that make your life easier and more fun.