Self Care Activities for Nurses

self care for nurses

Nurses are some of the most selfless and caring professionals. So much so that 70% of nurses report putting their patients’ health above their own. That’s because many nurses go into the field with a strong desire to help people. But, long work hours, difficult patients, and a lack of resources can have any strong-willed nurse feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. That’s why self-care is so important. So, what does self-care for nurses even mean, and how can it prevent burning out?

What is self-care?

While self-care can mean different things to different people, it generally means establishing and maintaining your health to prevent and deal with illness. It’s a concept that typically involves hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities and leisure), environmental factors (living conditions and social habits) socio-economic factors (income level and cultural beliefs) and self-medication (when applicable). But, self-care can be emphasized in different ways.

The Importance of Self Care for Nurses

Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup?” For nurses, it means that if you give too much to your patients to the point of feeling empty, you won’t be able to give energy to the other things that matter — such as your family, hobbies, or friends.

Not only that, but neglecting self-care can lead to unwanted, unhealthy lifestyles. It can also lead to depression, lack of concentration, and apathy. This is particularly dangerous for nurses because it can result in higher patient falls, medication errors, and lower quality-of-care scores.

Over time, stress contributes to chronic disease. Stress hormones — like cortisol and adrenaline — can build up in the bloodstream and lead to hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, and a decrease in immune system function. That’s why self-care is so important to reducing risks both for the nurse and their patients.

5 Self Care Activities for Nurses

1. Practice Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a tool for managing stress and fostering health by being mindful of your surroundings, feelings, and thoughts. To practice, find a quiet, comfortable place to sit and focus on your breathing, external surroundings, and emotional energy. By taking 10-20 minutes per day to practice mindfulness, you’ll reduce stress and ease any anxiety you’re feeling. Other benefits include:

  • Reorienting your perspective
  • Creating self-awareness
  • Gaining focus on the present
  • Reducing negative emotions
  • Increasing patience and creativity

2. Partake in Physical Activity

Exercising promotes endorphin production. Endorphins are natural painkillers and help promote sleep. They can also improve your mood and boost confidence. While exercise is most effective when done regularly, it doesn’t have to be intense or for long periods of time. Participating in moderate exercise for just 30 minutes per day will provide benefits. Some exercises to try include:

  • Riding a stationary bike
  • Taking a short walk after dinner
  • Following a Yoga YouTube video

3. Get a Restful Night’s Sleep

It’s recommended that adults get about eight hours of sleep each night. But, most nurses sleep an hour and a half less. Too many sleepless nights can cause sleep deprivation — which hurts your ability to focus and handle tasks effectively. Not only does this impact your day-to-day performance, but it impacts your long-term health and cognition.

The quality of your sleep can also impact how rested you feel. If you work night shifts, installing blackout curtains can help darken your room and make it easier to fall asleep. Other tips for improving your quality of sleep include:

  • Limiting screen time before bed
  • Reducing consumption of alcohol or caffeine before bed
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress that offers support for your sleeping position
  • Use pillows that support your neck
  • Create a bedtime routine and stick to it

4. Spend Time With Friends & Loved Ones

It can be difficult to align your schedule with that of your friends and family — especially if you’re a night nurse. But, making time for phone calls, grabbing food, and spending time together can make all the difference for your social and mental health. Not only does maintaining connections to friends and family help you find a balance between your personal and professional lives, but it also enhances your relationships. Some ideas include:

  • Inviting a friend to lunch
  • Doing an escape room with your family
  • Going to a park with your children
  • Planning a date

5. Take Time for Yourself

Perhaps most importantly, remember to take time for yourself. Whether it’s spending time practicing a hobby, cooking your favorite food, or treating yourself to a spa day, taking time to do things for yourself can make caring for others easier. Try to schedule breaks in your day to take a short walk, or if your workday is too busy, use your time off to recharge and focus on yourself and the things you love. If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, consider talking to a professional — such as a therapist. Or, consider looking for a position that is less stressful but still allows you to help people. Common low-stress nursing positions include:

  • Home health care
  • School nursing
  • Consultation services
  • Teaching
  • Administration
  • Researcher

Contact Sonas Home Health Care for Pediatric Nursing Jobs in Florida

Are you looking to become a pediatric nurse? Sonas Home Health Care can help. We are currently looking for compassionate and nurturing Pediatric Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Pediatric Registered Nurses (RNs) in various locations across Florida. Sonas specializes in one-on-one hourly pediatric care in the home. We offer PTO, medical, dental and vision benefits, flexible schedules, and more.

If you or a loved one are considering a career in Pediatric Nursing in Florida, contact Sonas Home Health Care. Apply online or call today at (888) 592-5855.

Jillian Miller
Jillian Miller BSN, RN
Director of Nursing at

This blog was reviewed by Jillian Miller BSN, RN — Director of Nursing for Sonas Home Health Care’s Tampa Bay market — for clinical accuracy. Jillian Miller has been a nurse for 16 years — working primarily in pediatrics. She believes the best part of working with the pediatric population is when you see smiles from clients when you first enter the room. She loves seeing the difference you can make in families’ lives while providing the best care possible for them.