How to Stay Healthy While Working in Healthcare

Working in healthcare is a great career. Healthcare workers like doctors, nurses, physician assistants, and technicians all have the opportunity to help people who are in need. However, regardless of whether you are a doctor, or a nurse working in healthcare, the job can be challenging. You need to take care of people who are ill or injured. And with all that, it can prove problematic to take care of yourself.

As a healthcare worker, it is crucial to take care of your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Doing this will allow you to give the best care possible for your patients.

If you are a healthcare worker and not sure of where to start, here are some various ways to take care of yourself while working:

Protect Yourself From Infections

When working in a hospital setting, you are likely to come into contact with many germs and bacteria, most of which can make you ill. It is, therefore, crucial to take specific steps and precautions to protect yourself from these disease-causing germs and bacteria.

An excellent way to protect yourself is by washing your hands after coming into contact with a patient. And depending on the illness that the patient is suffering from, it is crucial to adhere to all the guidelines of personal protective equipment (PPEs).

Take, for instance, if your patient has a virus that can be transmitted through respiratory droplets, a mask must be part of your personal protective equipment.

On the other hand, you can protect yourself from some illnesses like chickenpox, hepatitis B, measles, and influenza by getting yourself vaccinated. And to know what is best for you, make sure that you talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of various vaccines.

Be Mindful of What You Eat

During this COVID-19 pandemic, you are the first line of defense. You can protect yourself from infections by wearing protective gear for a lengthy time. However, this can make it hard for you to get adequate food and water, which are essential for protecting your health.

So, how are you supposed to meet your nutritional needs? It is important to note that your nutrition and hydration play an essential role in helping you stay healthy. Eating a well-balanced diet and staying hydrated will help you prevent dehydration, fatigue, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, fainting, and other symptoms.

As a healthcare worker, you have a tiny window of time to drink and eat every day. Therefore, it is essential to focus on food that will satiate you and help you meet your nutritional needs. The following are some nutrients that should be prioritized:

Vitamins and minerals

Getting the needed amount of vitamins and minerals is an essential part of building a healthy immune system. Vitamins like vitamins A, E, C and minerals like zinc can help support a healthy immune system. You can get vitamins from fruits, vegetables, meat, nuts, and dairy. Additionally, you can get the mineral zinc from chicken, legumes, yogurt, and beef.

Healthy fats

You can meet your daily calorie needs, especially if you are busy, by eating foods with healthy fats like fatty fish, olives, nuts, and soybeans.

Fiber

According to studies, eating fiber-rich foods contributes to the feeling of fullness. Additionally, fiber plays an essential role in the digestion of food and the absorption of essential nutrients. Some sources of fiber include beans, whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.

Protein

Protein, just like fiber, can make you feel fuller for a long time. Get the recommended amount of protein by scattering your protein intake throughout the day and eating high-quality protein. Sources of protein include fish, eggs, poultry, nuts, legumes, seeds, beans, and soy products.

Stay Hydrated

As a healthcare worker, you must aim at drinking enough water all day long. However, don’t overload your body with water. Drinking too much water can cause overhydration. Drink enough water until your urine is clear; this is a sign of enough hydration. And to guarantee adequate hydration, try to consume fluids and fluid-filled foods like fruits, vegetables, and soup.

Correct Your Sleeping Habits

Instead of staying up late in front of your television watching Netflix or HBO, get enough sleep and make your body feel restored. Sleep is essential for your general mental and physical well-being. However, getting enough sleep can sometimes be hard. You might fail to apply some basic sleep hygiene guidelines due to high stress, shift works, or other vital responsibilities.

Lack of enough sleep can increase your chances of getting ill. Insufficient sleep is also connected to diabetes, obesity, and other chronic diseases. Ensure that you establish a good sleep and wake cycle and try waking up to light instead of sound.

Consider investing in a wake-up light alarm clock that makes your room brighter to allow you to start your day more naturally and peacefully.

Exercise

One of the biggest problems facing healthcare workers is that they are on their feet most of the time. And usually, exercise is the last thing they feel like doing. These long periods of standing can lead to swollen feet. This usually occurs when excess blood pools due to gravity fighting the natural blood circulation back to the heart. 

Unfortunately, lack of exercise can lead to less energy. This means that your life will be a spiteful cycle of wanting to exercise, but you are mentally unable to do that. Exercise can help improve the circulation of blood back to the heart and prevent leg swelling. Similarly, you can prevent swelling with Uniform Advantage socks. Apart from helping you prevent swelling, compression socks can help with varicose veins. Wear them daily to achieve the best results.

Some exercises that healthcare workers can do at work are:

  • Push-ups
  • Bridges
  • Chair matches
  • Seated shoulder rolls
  • Seated arm circles
  • Walking

Use Proper Body Mechanics

Healthcare workers tend to spend most of their time on their feet, and depending on your duties, you might be pushing gear, moving patients, or walking up and down stairs. This is why it is crucial to use proper body mechanics to prevent injuries to you as a healthcare worker and the patient.

Using your body to move heavy objects needs a lot of effort of your structure. Your bones and your muscles move in cycle with the nervous system to help maintain balance and posture and guarantee a proper body alignment as you try to help a patient. You might be helping a patient transfer from a chair to their bed, changing their position on a bed for an examination, or moving them around for therapy.

Fortunately, you can work effectively with the right mechanics without using a lot of your energy and without excessively extending your muscles. So, if you are trying to move a patient for whatever reason, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Use lifting equipment whenever possible.

Stay Mentally Healthy

It can be rewarding to work with patients that are ill. However, this can also be mentally draining at times. And you need to know that your mental well-being is as vital as your physical well-being. Dealing with a patient who is difficult and very demanding can take a toll on your psychological well-being. Sometimes, it can be hard to witness tragic situations too.

Are you aware of the healthcare burnout factor? As a healthcare worker, you have high burnout rates due to the demanding nature of your job. And if you are like most healthcare workers, you picked this career because you are empathetic and want to help people. But you need to know that patients are different, and not all of them can be helped with ease.

The long hours of a demanding job can lead to burnout signs like anxiety, depression, loss of compassion, and lack of interest in your career. To get the needed help, make sure that you can identify these signs.

Learn how to let things go; let go of all the things that cannot be controlled. Realize that all you can do is your best, and you cannot fix every situation you encounter. And despite the efforts you put on a patient, they might fail to survive. In such a case, learn to acknowledge that you did everything you could and leave work at work.

Look for ways to reduce work-related stress and enjoy your time away from your job to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Limit Your Caffeine Intake

Many people think that caffeine intake will help them awaken their minds and improve their energy. Part of this statement is genuine; however, excessive consumption of caffeine can lead to fatigue, headaches, and increased stress. Just keep in mind that the recommended caffeine intake for the average person is two cups per day, and by following the above tips, your body can be naturally energized and active without the excess caffeine. 

The Bottom Line

The responsibilities of healthcare workers increase as the healthcare industry grows. This means that more healthcare workers are compromising their health to keep up with their demanding jobs. Therefore, to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you need to limit your caffeine intake, exercise, beware of burnout, use the proper body mechanics, eat a well-balanced diet, and stay hydrated.

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