Nursing school is tough, that’s no secret. The worst part about it is all the stress, especially if you’re still working. Stress can wreak havoc not just on your internal organs, but it can also start to show up on your face. However, there are things that you can do to make it easier. Sometimes, your daily habits are the main reason for stress, and you would be surprised at how just a few small changes change your mood, health, and the way you look. Here are a few tips to help you feel and look great as a nursing student.
Choose Your Program Wisely
The first thing we suggest you do is choose a program that will work around your schedule and not the other way around. If you are thinking of advancing through a master’s or a doctorate program, know that universities like Baylor have accredited online DNP programs that you can follow from the comfort of your home. Going online will take out some of the stress of commuting to school, and will also allow you to get more hours of sleep.
Do Strength Training
Nurses walk a lot in a single day. That doesn’t mean that they don’t need exercise outside of work. If you’re still working while studying, you need to find some space for strength training. This will make your job much easier, but you’ll also get all of those nice endorphins from a heavy workout which will help you cope better with stress.
If you want to focus on one area, we suggest you work on your lower body and posterior chain. Anything that works your lower body will give you more endurance during the day, and working your posterior chain will allow you to lift heavier weights without being fatigued.
The way you eat will also have a huge influence on the way you feel, look, and perform during your studies. If you want to build a sound diet, you first need to know what type of food your brain needs to perform optimally. The single most important nutrient for your brain is glucose, so you need to supply your body with enough of it if you want to keep those neurons firing. But you have to be careful with the type of sugar you feed it.
Simple sugars like those that are found in sweets are not the best option here. They will only give you a sudden spike of energy followed by a debilitating crash. What you want is a steady flow of energy that will keep you up for your whole session or shift. This is why you need to turn to complex carbohydrates as your main source of energy. Things like brown rice, whole wheat products, and beans will slowly be broken down by your body and give it a steady dose of energy. They also have the benefit of making you full longer.
The second most important nutrient for your brain is protein. Protein is essential for maintaining focus, so make sure that you get plenty. According to the Dietary Reference Intake report for macronutrients, the average adult should be taking about 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight per day. This depends on how active you are, however. If you still have your job, it would be wise to go for a slightly higher protein intake. This would also be the case if you decide to get on a strength training regimen.
You should also consider bringing your lunch with you if you’re still working. You don’t know what options will be available to you, and you shouldn’t have a horrible day because you couldn’t get the type of food you need. Also, remember to eat before every shift, especially in the morning.
Have a Proper School Life and Work Balance
Going to nursing school while working will leave you with little free time, but you still have to remember to make time for yourself. Take at least one or two days off every week to do what you love the most. Also, make sure that your children are prepared to make some sacrifices. Let them know that you won’t have as much time for them and that you might not be able to attend all of their activities, but still make it an obligation to do something with them every week.
The best way to keep a proper work, life, and school balance is to have an organized calendar. Place it somewhere that’s highly visible and have everyone mark important events well in advance so you can get prepared.
Be Careful with Caffeine
Caffeine can be a tired nurse or nursing student’s best friend, but it’s better when used in moderation. If you didn’t get the chance to get your full 6 to 8 hours of sleep, for example, it can help you from time to time. On the other hand, if this becomes a habit, it will not only start affecting your body, but you might develop a tolerance.
You should also be careful with caffeine at the end of your shift. Research has shown that caffeine can disrupt sleep even up to six hours after it was ingested. So, if you’re going to drink some coffee, make it at the beginning of your shift and only stick to one or two.
This might seem simple, but it is one of the most important tips you could ever give to someone who has to juggle a tough job like nursing and nursing school. You may think that you’re drinking enough already, but it’s estimated that around 75% of Americans are in a chronic state of dehydration. If you want to make sure that you get the recommended intake, you should fill a jug with the amount that you need and drink it throughout the day.
If you follow these tips, you’ll not only be able to perform well at nursing school but you will be glowing while doing it. You’ll also feel much better in general.