Stay Healthy During the Holiday Season!
Crisp, cool air and the smell of wood smoke are sure signs that fall is on its way out and winter is coming soon. December holidays are right around the corner, and everyone is rushing to finish shopping, baking, and cooking so they can enjoy all the activities that go along with having friends and family close during the season. For nurses, the holiday rush is even more hectic because you must fit all these activities around regular and on-call schedules.
Unfortunately, in all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to fall victim not only to whatever bug might be going around but also into unhealthy lifestyle choices that can leave you feeling worn out and sluggish by the time spring rolls around. To help combat illness and burnout throughout the holiday season, here are some tips for staying healthy:
- Pay attention to you. Nurses are always focused on others. It’s our job. But during the holidays, every spare second you have for yourself is probably focused on someone else — and you could feel like an unhealthy Grinch by the time it’s all over. Staying healthy and happy means taking some time to focus on yourself as well. Be sure to eat properly, and try to avoid the temptation to give into every carb-laden sweets and treats tray that comes through the department. Drink plenty of water since dehydration can leave you feeling flat, and get your beauty sleep to boost immunity. All those extra shift hours and holiday parties can take a toll on your energy levels as well as your body’s ability to fight off seasonal illnesses.
- Exercise and reduce stress. As important as proper diet, hydration, and sleep are, they’re not enough. Find creative ways to keep up your regular exercise routine and other stress-busting activities. Engaging in a hobby for 20 minutes per week can help reduce fatigue. Taking a break, like a day at the spa, can also help reduce stress and relieve chaotic feelings that holiday obligations can induce.
- Remember the value of cleanliness. The holiday rush along with cold weather can make it much more tempting to skip the hand sanitizer, leave the mess in the kitchen, or even go without a shower at the end of the day — but don’t give in. The best way to stop spreading germs that can kill your holiday joy is to give them nowhere to go. Try to keep the nurses’ station clean and tidy, shower after your shifts, and wash your hands frequently or continue to use sanitizer regularly to ensure you don’t pick up any unwanted guests. Don’t forget to keep your hands — and hair — away from your face. One of the most common bacteria transmission means is from your hands to the sensitive skin around your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Even though you’re an expert on keeping others healthy, don’t forget to take the time to focus on your own health. You build immunity when you’re around ill individuals, but you can infect others if you go to work sick. On the other hand, when you’re feeling your best, you can treat your patients with the best care possible — and inspire your co-workers, too!