Even Health Care Professionals Need a Wellness Plan!

Is creating a list of health care career goals fairly easy for you, while making your own wellness goals a priority seems very difficult? Many nurses and other health care professionals get so focused on helping patients (or leading/teaching those who do), they don’t even think about taking good care of themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. They get so caught up in the daily push to complete a long list of tasks and maybe continuing their education that their careers start to take over their lives!

Do you find yourself obsessing about everything you need to get done tomorrow or worrying that you may have forgotten some important detail from your shift or workday that ideally should already be finished and put to bed so to speak? If your work consumes both a huge portion of your awake time and even at home you are thinking about it, when do you have time to enjoy a healthy work/life balance?

I have found that if I don’t make a schedule that includes at least a little time for exercise, relaxation and positive socialization, it just seems to never happen! I made the following life balance schedule for myself to help me stick to a healthy wellness plan.

Nurse Helen’s Life Balance/Wellness Schedule on Workdays:

1. Upon awakening: practice twenty minutes of Yoga type stretches while breathing deeply to help me greet the day and get my brain to wake up.

2. Eat a bowl of whole grain cereal with soy milk, to create a grain/bean full protein and fruit for flavor and vitamins.

3. Rest at lunch, with my feel elevated to help offset sitting a lot. Eat a low-fat protein and vegetable meal, with one slice of whole grain bread. Watch a fun game show to give me a brain boost.

4. Eat a lighter low-fat protein dinner with vegetables. For dessert, eat a piece of fruit about one hour after supper.

5. In the evening: spend quality time with my three cats, and call a friend for positive socialization.

6. Walk at least twenty minutes outdoors if the weather is nice or dance to a CD inside to get my aerobic exercise.

7. Stretch for a few minutes, and mellow out before bed while listening to a relaxation CD to help get ready for my eight hours of refurbishing sleep.

Please note I still want to add some weight training to my exercise schedule, but like I encourage others, progress not perfection.

Here is a recap of the components of my wellness schedule which might serve as a possible guideline for you to create your very own, individualized plan.

Components of a Positive Wellness Schedule/Plan Include:

1. Engaging in all three types of exercise: aerobic, stretching and strength training.

2. Taking time for relaxation/meditation.

3. Spending quality time with family (including pets) and/or friends for positive socialization.

4. Eating a well-balanced diet in moderate amounts.

5. Getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep at night.

Most of us know we “should” take care of our wellness needs. However, often we just plain don’t think we have the time, don’t recognize we have needs or for some female healthcare professionals especially, may not feel we deserve to take the time to take care of us! Sometimes reminding ourselves that if we deny we have wellness (and other) needs we are more likely to start to “burn out” both at work and at home. Then no one will get the best from us either!

Have some fun making up your own schedule, and tailoring your wellness plan to your individual preferences and needs. Put your plan into action and see how much more you can enjoy your life and have the energy to be even better at succeeding in your career!

You deserve to enjoy life more fully and have peak energy for your healthcare career by making your tailored wellness plan a priority!