Wellness Off the Clock: How Nurses Can Stay Active and Eat Right

Wellness Off the Clock: How Nurses Can Stay Active and Eat Right

As a nurse, you provide an incredible service for your patients. However, while caring for others, it’s too easy to forget to care for yourself. If you’re in that situation, it’s time to make a change. You may be more susceptible to health issues than others, so you must prioritize your wellness, which you can do during your off-time and at work. Here is some advice for why your health is so important and how to stay active and eat right during your busy life.wellness-off-the-clock-how-minority-nurses-can-stay-active-and-eat-right

Why Wellness And Nursing Must Go Hand-In-Hand

Although most nurses spend a lot of time moving from place to place, it’s still a sad fact that obesity is more common in the nursing field than many may think. The reasons are numerous. 

While nursing is rewarding, it can also be stressful, as you have to ensure that your job is performed correctly, or the patients may have complications. Nursing burnout is a very real thing. Working in stressful environments can cause chronic stress, which can disrupt your hormonal cycle and lead to overeating. Nursing also requires long hours, which can reduce the chances of getting enough sleep at night, and a lack of sleep can affect your metabolism. 

The obesity epidemic is often more dangerous for African Americans. Studies show that African American women have the highest rates of obesity when compared to other groups in the U.S. That’s bad because people who are overweight are also more likely to suffer from different physical ailments, including high blood pressure and potential blood clots. 

There’s also an anxiety component to consider. Worrying that you’re doing what’s right one hundred percent of the time can be very stressful, and an unhealthy diet can compound those issues. Staying healthy, exercising, and being kind and helpful to others can help you stay level and mentally stable during a high-pressure job.

Exercise When You Can

When you have a busy schedule, you need to fit in some form of exercise whenever possible. Luckily, there are ways to squeeze in fitness throughout the day, starting in the morning. If you’re crunched for time and cannot go to the gym, but you have a garage at home, try doing a short workout there. 

You can maximize your garage workouts by doing quick exercises that require little to no equipment. Various programs include 15-minute core workouts, push-up variations and routines, and many beginner exercises that use no equipment. Another idea is to invest in a recumbent or upright stationary bike and put it in the garage. Then, you can work out while reviewing work and job reports to prepare for the day.

Making small adjustments in your routine when you’re at work and at home can help you perform many exercises, including ways to get more cardio. Park further away in the parking lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do calf raises, and stand instead of sitting whenever possible, and you’ll likely notice great results over time.

There are also opportunities to exercise if you work the night shift. Like in the day, you can count your steps and walk more during your shift or practice push-ups or sit-ups during lunch. It can be hard to stick to your workout regime when you’re alone, so get your other nurses involved by having a group workout or yoga routine at some point during the night after the patient’s needs are met. You’ll be more likely to follow your exercise regime if you do it with others.

Nutrition Is Key

As a nurse constantly on the go, stopping for a healthy meal is likely challenging. Instead, you may be tempted to get a quick treat from the vending machine or fast food so you can eat and go. However, while food like that may temporarily fill you, many of those items include trans fats, which can make you feel sluggish and are also bad for your overall physical health..

What you need is a plan. You must have your fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, fish, and berries whenever possible. In addition to being the building blocks of a healthy body, many of these food groups can also give you energy to help you stay alert and active when you get to work. 

Most people need a proper routine to fit this food into their lives, so start one. Think about what you want to eat, then go to the grocery store and pack your lunch for work each day—that way, you know that you have healthy food that you can turn to throughout your shift. That way, you know that you have healthy food that you can turn to throughout your shift. It would help if you also packed your lunch with healthy snacks that you can fit in your pocket. A bag of almonds will be tasty while giving you a boost of energy. Granola bars and roasted chickpeas will do the same.

As you likely tell your patients, it’s also vital that you drink enough water throughout the day. At least 8-12 cups. Bring a reusable water bottle with you or keep it at the nurse’s station so you can be reminded to drink, stay healthy, and avoid dehydration. 


As a minority nurse trying to make a difference in your patient’s lives, you must take care of yourself in your off-time to stay strong throughout the day. Finding ways to stay active and eat right will make a big difference.