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Energy can be in short supply during a long work day in any occupation, and nurses don’t take exception to needing a boost of energy throughout their work shift. The fast paced and unpredictable nature of nursing can make completing your daily to-list feel a bit like a marathon. Crossing the proverbial finish line in the daily marathon that's a nursing shift starts with using smart energy boosting strategies. You must put enough fuel in the tank so you don't run out before the race is over.
Consider these five tips for nurses to keep their energy up as a good starting point in training for a better finish:
1. Avoid Processed Sugar
It can feel tempting to hit the vending machine for a quick energy boost. Sugary snacks and drinks do offer the promise of quick energy. But after the sugar is out of your system, you can feel more tired than before. Bring a healthy snack alternative to work, like an apple or banana, for a natural pick-me-up.
2. Embrace Balanced Snacking
Combine low-fat proteins and complex carbohydrates for a snack when you need to refuel. Complex carbs offer an immediate energy boost and the protein will keep your energy sustained so you don't crash a short time later. Nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, yogurt and whole-grain crackers are all good snacking options to keep you going.
3. Eat Regularly During Your Shift
It can sometimes feel like the time you spend eating could be used to do something more productive, but going into starvation mode can take its toll on your body. Make a point of eating a small snack or a meal at least every two hours; do not put off eating until you feel completely famished. And when you do eat, remember is to not eat too much. Nothing saps energy faster than a belly that's too full. Keep all meals and snacks in moderate and healthy portions.
4. Develop a Regular Sleep Schedule
A good night's sleep matters in helping both your body and mind to function at a higher level, and the best way to ensure a good night’s sleep is to train your body to sleep when you need it to. As a nurse, you may be working odd hours, which makes developing a regular sleep schedule is even more important. If your body isn’t used to working at night and sleeping during the day, you will ultimately lose out on the sleep that is needed to be an effective nurse. A lack of sleep can also weaken your immune system and encourage poor dietary habits, which can contribute to an overall sense of sluggishness.
5. Get some exercise
Exercise is the perfect antidote for lethargy. A brisk walk or a short run gets your blood circulating through your body faster and can deliver a jolt of energy to your brain, heart, lungs and other important organs. Exercise is also the best tool for staying fit, which helps a person naturally increase his or her energy levels.