Now that nursing school is over and I no longer have to worry about care plans, exams, clinicals, simulations, student organizations, etc, I can finally share some lifestyle tips from when I was in school. I will be honest and say I actually got into the best shape of my life while in nursing school. Here is how I did it…
**I am not, nor do I claim to be a medical professional. Please consult your primary healthcare provider when making health decisions.
GET IN SHAPE DURING NURSING SCHOOL
Nursing school can be a tough time. Life seems to hit you all at once, not to mention the many care plans you stay up late to write and exams you study for. Many people often complain that they ‘let themselves’ go during nursing school. I even heard many of my classmates mention their coping mechanism was food. Well, we want to form solid coping mechanisms and self care practices. After all, no one is going to take care of you but yourself. We are also no good to our patients if we are unhealthy! Okay, let me step down from my soapbox… Here are simple ways I stayed in shape during the nursing progam.
Build a balanced, healthy, lifestyle.
1). Get moving!
I began attending short cardio circuit-based classes on my campus gym, then I would complete a short weighted circuit in the exercise room by myself. Eventually, I decided to take lifting seriously and haven’t turned back since. The Internet is a great resource if you reference credible people; anatomy and physiology classes helped as well. If you want to, you can always hire an in-person trainer if that is your style and you can afford it.
During the nursing program, I made sure to lift three to four times a week. I would never be in the workout more than an hour until later on in the program when my schedule lightened up. I never spend more than an hour and fifteen minutes in the gym. This helped me not only manage stress levels, but I could feel the difference when trekking all over campus and moving patients in clinical. If your campus has free gym access for students, take advantage of it! If you can’t make it to the gym, you can get moving at home, search for home workouts on Youtube and you will find many, many ideas.
This is pretty straight forward, but I made sure to keep a water bottle on me all the time. This helped me stay hydrated, which was a great habit to build.
3). Meal Prep
I know some people don’t like reheating food or leftovers, but I absolutely love meal prep. This saved me so much time during school and also helped me stay on track. I was able to prepare yummy, well-balanced meals each week. Meal prepping helped me stay on track and I never had an issue eating my meal prep as I love leftovers and never grew up eating a lot of junk.
I also made sure to carry balanced snacks with me to lectures. Nursing lectures can span from an hour to four hours long and it can be hard to focus if you are hungry. My go-to lecture snacks were: grapes, protein puffs, apple slices, applesauce, etc. Of course, I had a lot of water during lecture as well!
When I am really stressed I tend to not eat. This was detrimental to my health and caused me to put on a solid amount of body fat. I actually eat a lot more (and cleaner) than I used to before!
This is pretty much how I got into the best shape, I simply began to lift often with proper form and progressively increase the difficulty while eating balanced meals. I am not athletic, I never have been, but you don’t have to be! Now, I am not saying you have to do what I did, but just get moving and be more mindful of what you put in your body without being restrictive. A restrictive lifestyle is not sustainable.
Find your balance.
• Find your balance, whether that be taking walks every day, stretching, etc. Everyone’s balanced lifestyle may vary, but the point is to get in motion. As a student you may find yourself sitting at hour desk for hours on end. Take your flash cards on treadmill or listen to lecture during your workout if that is your style.
• Personally, the gym time has been and will always be my “me time”. I never listened to lectures of bought notes along with me. I used that time to just decompress for an hour. Many times I found I would return to studying with a fresher mind! I’m not going to lie in the beginning/before the program it took some serious willpower to go to the gym at night, but I did it! Eventually, things got better and I was able to head to the gym right after lecture.
There are so many options to help you obtain a balanced lifestyle! Take it slowly and listen to your body. Let’s get ourselves together so we can properly care for our ourselves, our patients and prevent all those diseases/complications we learn about!
Thanks for reading!