If you have a caring personality and want to make a difference to other people’s lives, it’s important that you start with your own physical and mental wellbeing. If you’re low on energy or don’t have the drive and determination to succeed, the chances are you won’t go very far and could be putting your patients at risk.
As a healthcare student, there are tons of responsibilities and commitments that you must undertake. Trying to juggle your studies, social, and family life can be challenging, so here are a few things you can do to look after your physical and mental health as a healthcare student.
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Get Enough Sleep
Whether you want to become a registered nurse all the way through to a doctor, it’s crucial that you’re getting enough sleep each night. There are all sorts of pressures and challenges that healthcare students face, meaning you may find it difficult to switch off at night.
If you’re struggling with getting enough sleep, there are various things that you can do. Getting yourself into a routine can help sort your body clock out, meaning that it knows when it’s time to hit the hay. Before you climb into bed, make sure that you remove any distractions that could keep you up, such as placing your smartphone out of reach or turning off the television.
Follow a Balanced Diet
It goes without saying, you are what you eat. As students, it can be all too easy to grab quick and easy processed food to get you through the day, however, you may not realize the damage it could be doing to your health. While foods high in salt, fat, and sugar may give you a burst of energy, it’s likely that you will feel rundown much quicker.
To combat this, try and stick to a healthy, balanced diet. Incorporating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and foods packed with protein can help you feel fuller for longer. Whether you’re studying online, at a brick and mortar establishment, or you’re on a placement, it’s important that you arm yourself with the right foods, helping to keep you full of energy throughout the day.
As a student, health and fitness may be the last thing on your mind, however, there are tons of physical and mental health benefits that you can gain from regular exercise. Taking some time away from your studies and swapping it for a workout can be a great way to let off some steam. If you don’t have the time to commit to a gym membership, or you prefer to work out alone, there are lots of exercises that you can do from the comfort of your own home.
Taking 30 minutes out of your day to do some exercise can help clear your mind and keep you on top of your fitness. Even getting out of the house and going for a run around your neighborhood can make a big difference. When we exercise, our body releases endorphins which can boost your mood and help you think more positively.
If you have a mountain of coursework to get through, it’s crucial that you keep your body hydrated. Putting down the energy drink and swapping it for water can help to lubricate your joints, improve your skin, as well as maintain your blood pressure. If you’re constantly on the go attending lectures, seminars, and day to day errands, make sure that you have a water bottle in your bag that you can regularly top up.
Many people don’t consume enough fluids each day, but with 60% of your body being made up of water, this can be detrimental to your overall health. As a healthcare student, the last thing you want is to suffer from dehydration as your focus and concentration can dwindle significantly.
Talk About Your Feelings
There’s no point beating around the bush, throughout your studies you will come up against all sorts of challenges and obstacles that can make you stressed and feel anxious, therefore, it’s important that you have someone to talk to. Having support from your friends and family can be a huge help. Knowing there are people there who care for you will mean you always have a shoulder to cry on when things get tough.
If you don’t feel comfortable speaking to a relative or friend, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Not only can speaking to a health professional put your mind at ease, they will understand exactly what you’re going through. No one should suffer in silence, so if you feel you need to get something off your chest, it’s always better out in the open, rather than bottling up your emotions inside.
Create a Study Plan
To get the most out of your course, it’s advised to create a study plan that can add structure and routine to your day. If you are holding down a full-time job while studying, finding a window of opportunity to get stuck into your studies can be a challenge. To make things easier, you may want to consider purchasing a calendar that can allow you to note down the times of the day when you are free to cram in some revision.
As a healthcare student, it’s important that you stay organized. Once you enter into your profession, there are lots of responsibilities and tasks that you will have to carry out, so it’s best to get yourself into a routine beforehand. As they say, planning makes perfect, so pinpointing hours and days where you can study will help you feel more on track.
Find a Quiet Zone
If you live in a busy household, finding an area to zone off from the hustle and bustle can be difficult. Whether you’re a parent running around after the kids, or you live with friends, it’s important that you find a space where you feel relaxed and comfortable. Designating an area to get stuck into your learning will mean you can put your sole concentration into your workload. If you live with your partner, make sure that you have a conversation with them about your studies and stress the importance of having a quiet zone. The more help and support you get from your loved ones, the better.
Pick the Right Course
Understandably, if you’ve picked a course that you don’t feel comfortable with, you’re not going to get the grades you envisage. There are lots of healthcare routes that you can go down, so before you commit yourself to a course, it’s crucial that you look into the specifications so you can figure out what the course entails and whether you have the entry requirements needed.
If you’ve decided to study a course online, there are many providers such as Texas Woman’s University where you can find a range of accredited online nurse practitioner programs. When on their website, you can find out more about the types of modules you will need to complete, as well as job prospects once you’ve completed the course. Signing up to a course is a big commitment, so it’s important that you pick a course that you believe you can flourish in. If you aren’t happy with your course, the fees you must pay out, not to mention the workload can all become too much.
Take a Break
While it’s only natural that you will want to get the most out of your healthcare course, that’s not to say you can’t have some fun along the way. If you don’t give yourself time away from your studies, you will soon burnout, so whether you have a hobby that you would like to take up, or you want to try out a sport, there are lots of fun activities that you can participate in which can take your mind off your course. Even calling up a friend or dropping in to see a family member can help boost your mood and make you feel more productive once you get back to your studies.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Healthcare students are under all sorts of stress, so before you get started on a piece of coursework, you may benefit from trying out a relaxation technique. Meditation can be a great way to take your mind off the outside world, enabling you to zone out and be at peace. You may also benefit from trying out yoga, which can improve posture, increase flexibility, and improve your cardio and circulatory health. We all suffer from bouts of anxiety from time to time, however, if your anxiety is stopping you in your tracks, having some time to relax and unwind can help you feel more at ease.
Avoid Alcohol & Smoking
After a long and busy day full of revision and learning, many of us love nothing more than cracking open a bottle of wine to relax and unwind. While no one is saying you can’t indulge in some vino from time to time, it’s important that you don’t overdo things. Just like with what you eat and drink, alcohol should be consumed in moderation. If you find that you’re relying too much on alcohol, it’s best that you cut down your intake or quit altogether. As a healthcare student, you will want to be in the best frame of mind throughout your course, so sticking to water instead may be the best option.
If you’re a student who feels constantly under pressure, you may be inclined to reach for a packet of cigarettes to get you through your studies. While you may feel cigarettes help to relieve stress, they’re actually doing the complete opposite. We all know how bad smoking is for our health, so it’s best to stop smoking and nip the habit in the bud.
If you have chosen to study an online course, being on your own for large periods of time can be isolating and lonely, therefore, make sure that you take some time to get out the house and be around others. Human interaction can boost your mood without you even realizing. There are lots of health benefits that come with being sociable too. Not only can it encourage good habits and boost your immune system, there’s research to show that it can add years to your life too. As a student, speaking to others in the same boat as you can put your mind at ease. Whether you’re studying online or you’re at a traditional college or university, engaging with likeminded individuals can give you a platform to share your thoughts, discuss class notes, and give you the motivation you need to succeed in your degree.
Get Plenty of Sunlight
There is nothing quite like fresh air to get your blood pumping and help clear your head. If you’re cooped up in your room all day, you may not be aware of the damage it could be doing. Sunlight is a fantastic source of vitamin D, which is a very important vitamin for your body and brain. Vitamin D helps your body to release chemicals which can improve your mood. Try to get outdoors as much as you can, but make sure that you keep your eyes and skin safe. It’s recommended that you have a minimum of 30 minutes a day of sunlight. During the winter months, some students may become depressed because they are not getting enough sunlight, so try your best to get outside when you can.
No matter what type of healthcare route you want to go down, it’s important that you’re in the right frame of mind before you start your course. Putting your full concentration into your learning can help you stay on the right track and flourish in your exams and coursework.
Remember, if things are getting too much and you’re in need of some help, don’t be afraid to open up to your family and friends. You may also benefit from making an appointment with your doctor, who can teach you ways on how best to manage your stress levels. Being a student will come with its challenges and obstacles, however, following all the tips listed can help you stay focused on your course and enter into the healthcare field of your choice with confidence.