A Nurse’s Guide to Becoming Healthy and Fit in a High-stress Environment

Updated on August 28, 2023
pittsburgh nurse

Nurses, along with other professional healthcare providers, are at the core of an effective health care system that benefits a lot of people. When you remove a crucial part of that core, the whole system crumbles and can lead to a lot of adverse effects. 

Known as the Angels of the sick room, nurses are often on the front lines, taking care of patients and looking after them. Nurses often provide holistic care that not only affects a patient but their family members as well. When a person answers the calling to be a nurse, compassion and dedication become a norm for them.

Even if calamity strikes, the passion for helping people will always be the priority of a nurse. Even if their own safety is at risk, you can be sure that a nurse will dive in and help in any way they can. The life of a nurse, no matter what clinical area they’re in, is difficult. 

Nurses are often exposed to harmful viruses, bacteria, and diseases. They often risk their own wellness and safety just to help others in need. In psychiatric institutions, emergency rooms, war zones, and other areas with a high-stress work environment, nurses often risk both physical and mental well being in the name of service and compassion. 

As mentioned earlier, nurses are part of a competent health care system that benefits a lot of people. It only makes sense that a nurse stays healthy and fit, both physically and mentally, to provide support in that system. With that said, here are some tips to help nurses stay healthy, even when working in high-stress environments:

Eating the Right Food

We all need to eat to live. Eating right can go a long way, especially if you’re working as a nurse. The job of the nurse can sometimes mean prolonged periods of work, without even taking a break. In some settings, nurses don’t even get to sit down while they’re on the job! And since nurses work in shifts, eating patterns and breaks tend to be different all the time.

A difficult setting and a high-stress environment is the reason why nurses need to eat healthily. Ideally, meals before a shift should include: baked, steamed, or broiled veggies, fruits, and healthy proteins. It’s also a good idea to divide your plate into four: one part for vegetables, one part for fruits, one part for protein, and one part for healthy carbs.

If you’re working on the night shift, try to limit your caffeine. If you have to drink coffee, try limiting it to one or two small-sized cups. 

Exercising at Home

Exercise is an essential aspect of keeping the body healthy. Most of the time, nurses go on duty through shifts. It can be hard to schedule an appointment at the gym if your schedules are continuously shuffled.

One way to get exercise is by doing at home if you’re on rest days. If you can purchase gym equipment to use at home, then do exercise regularly. For a list of stuff you can include inside your house, you can read the source here to know more. Always remember that a workout, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes a day, can make all the difference in your health.

De-stress After Every Duty

Stress is inevitable in the field of nursing. Imagine having to take care of an unconscious patient while having to take care of another patient who has strict monitoring precautions. Imagine having to carefully prepare and administer the right doses of medicine to every patient. The things mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the high stress involved when you’re working as a nurse. 

Working in a high-pressure field such as nursing is the reason why nurses and other healthcare providers need to de-stress after every shift. If your way of de-stressing is by sleeping, then go ahead. If you want to go out with friends and family after a stressful day at work, do so. To be in the right state of mind helps get rid of tension and enables a nurse to provide the best care they can to their patients.

Love Your Job

Being a nurse is a tiring yet rewarding job. From womb to tomb, a nurse gets to see how life unravels. Loving your job makes it all worthwhile. Seeing a baby cry loudly after having helped resuscitate it from high-risk childbirth is such a rewarding experience. 

Discharging a recovering and happy amputee who was under your care can make your heart melt. Hearing the words “thank you” from a 5-year old cancer survivor can make all the stress go away. Having a geriatric patient call you as their son or daughter can uplift you. Yes, nursing is an ugly, tough, and dangerous job. But with these experiences, going home every day and knowing that you did a great job is the best feeling in the world.


Being a nurse, wherever clinical area you might be, is a stressful job. As part of an effective healthcare system, nurses should be in top shape when providing care. Eating right, exercising, and de-stressing are just a few ways a nurse can condition themselves before and after work.

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