Photo by Megan Cusick Nursing school is tough. It has to be, after all. Nurses battle on the front lines against infections, injuries, and diseases every day. To top it all off, they often have to handle unruly patients while simultaneously treating their ailments. The life of a nurse is not easy, and so too must nursing school be in order to weed out those who aren’t up for the challenge that face nurses of the future.
But thriving in nursing school doesn’t have to be a fantasy. You can succeed here and move on to fantastic things with a little patience, positivity, and some rock-solid habits.
Get plenty of rest.
Sleep is the great equalizer. Your body and mind crave recovery time after a long day in the classroom, office, or library. No matter what you get up to during the course of a typical day, not sleeping enough can create a powerful knock-on effect that negates any positive developments you are working toward over the long term. Sleep deprivation creates the possibility of unpredictable mood swings and a degraded ability to process external stimuli. With this in mind, your social and educational environment gets harder to comprehend and interact with while you are overtired.
Similarly, REM sleep is important for remembering the day’s lessons, whether in a classroom or the more general classroom of life. REM sleep is essential for high functioning cognition and a lack of it can create brain fog or trouble reaching the precision you need in order to succeed in the highly challenging environment of nursing school.
Resources like a Simmons Beautyrest Mattress is also a great defense against poor sleep. Buying a new mattress that perfectly contours to your body’s needs can give you that totally reenergized feeling in the morning that will power you through a hard day full of challenges. Memory foam has come a long way in recent years and is now lighter and more heat wicking than ever. On top of the advancements in mattress technology, nearly all new mattress and box spring combinations come with a warranty or a trial period that will give you ample time to try out the new equipment and decide whether the exact specifications you are sleeping on are the right choice for your comfort and sleeping needs.
Exercise regularly to maximize productivity.
Exercise is also essential for proper bodily function throughout the strenuous days that lie ahead. Exercise gives your muscles the stimulation they crave and running, in particular, is a fantastic total body workout that also gives your brain the opportunity to kick into a sort of processing mode. The increased blood flow throughout your entire system is a great way to increase your overall health and increases lung and heart health in the process.
Exercise makes you look and feel great, and many people find that regular exercise helps them sleep better at night, too. The truth is, running or lifting weights pumps up your natural mental acuity and can even help you diffuse the debilitating effects of stress on the body. Running also helps you to manage your stress levels which are sure to increase with the responsibilities and demands of nursing school.
Exercise gives you a semblance of control that is not present in many other daily activities and as mentioned before, it increases total blood flow throughout your body, giving your limbs and brain the extra oxygen they need to tackle the increased workload. The effect, of course, is that your mind has the opportunity to work harder without you even knowing it.
Runners often consider this as a “runner’s high” but essentially this is your mind’s way of doubling the workload while it has access to what feels like the equivalent of additional computing power. It’s a calming experience and can be achieved by anyone — even non-runners looking to change up their routine to alleviate the effects of stress in their lives. Just getting out onto the road and jogging once a day or a few times a week will help you enter this meditation-like state and unchain you from the swampy effects of high-stress levels.
Improve your eating habits.
Changing up your diet is another great way to improve your overall handling of the mental load that awaits you on the other side of your front door every day. Including some high powered health foods like organic milk thistle or the omega-3 rich fatty acids and proteins in fish, avocados, or nuts and seeds is a great way to boost your mood and energy with little additional effort.
Eating well is a surefire way to improve your sleep, mood, and overall outlook on the everyday events that affect you. Eating healthy means staying away from takeout meals and other fatty dietary choices that strip away the nutrients that your body needs for proper functionality. In nursing school, you will often find yourself short on time between study sessions, class, and a testing schedule that seems to never subside. But turning to burgers and fries, or Chinese takeout every night will only slow you down over the long run. These foods are great occasionally but eat them often and you will begin to see the sluggishness that persists with MSG-laden food choices.
Similarly, takeaway foods are often a cheap way to get a bite to eat, but over the long run cooking for yourself can save you a ton of money. If you are pressed for time, meal prepping strategies can help you cut down on the price you are paying out per meal even more while giving you a huge amount of free time during the weekday evenings after a long session in the library or a series of classes.
But your university’s college of nursing has chosen this schedule of classes for a reason. Once you graduate and become a fully licensed nurse, the schedule will only get harder as you work long shifts and provide for dozens of patients’ needs simultaneously. Learning to meal prep now while the pressure is off, so to speak, is a […]