You trudge down the hall at work, but you don’t feel like you have the energy to go another step. You are lucky if you got even four hours of sleep last night. It doesn’t help matters that you were working night shift just two days ago, and your body still hasn’t recovered. To make matters worse, you pulled a heavy assignment when you looked at the board this morning. What’s an exhausted, health consciousness nurse to do? Try a few of these natural energy boosters to keep you alert and ready for action.
Take an Exercise Break
It may seem counter-intuitive, but moving around and getting your heart pumping will actually make you feel like you have more energy. If you are at a desk job or sitting at a terminal doing your notes, this is even more important. You may feel too tired to exercise, but even doing a few repetitions up and down the stairs in the fire escape will help to make you more alert without the need for sugar or caffeine. Do some jumping jacks, run in place, or take a hike around the building. You will bring blood and oxygen to your brain and that will help you to focus. Even better, try to go outside where you can get some sunshine. Even just a few minutes in the sun is enough to restore your energy, and to give you a much needed boost that will help you power through your day.
Eat Something Nutritious
Yes, eating will give you a boost of energy, but it is important that you eat the right things. If you are hungry and it has been a long time since you have eaten, your blood sugar may have dropped and this could contribute to your fatigue. Try to eat complex carbohydrate snacks that will give you energy over a long time, rather than eating a candy bar that will spike your blood sugar and lead to a quick crash. Apples, turkey sandwiches, and protein snacks, such as celery with peanut butter, are going to give you a greater boost of energy in the long run. Even better, they will not negatively impact your health like energy drinks, sports bars, and other quick-fix energy boosters.
Find Inner Peace Momentarily
Call bells, patients, and meds, oh my! A nurse’s day never stops. Well, some times you just have to make it. So many nurses go entire shifts without taking a bathroom break, and that is not healthy. It does nothing for your energy, your mood, or your patients. If you are not taking your lunch break and other scheduled breaks, you need to start. Only by giving your body rest are you going to find the energy to take care of others. One way to ensure that you get the most from your breaks is to take a few moments to yourself in a quiet place. Sometimes the only quiet place is the bathroom, and you can use it as a private oasis. Close your eyes for a few moments. Take in a deep breath through your nose, and hold it for a moment. Then let it all out through your mouth, and release all the tension that has gathered in your body. Do this ten times, slowly watching your breath come into your body, and exhaling all of your tension. At the end of ten breaths, open your eyes again and face your day with a clear head.
The Happiness Project; 8 Tips for Boosting Your Energy RIGHT NOW; Gretchen Rubin; August 2010