How to Keep Your Energy Up During a Long Nursing Shift

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1. Hydrate
As you're running around between patients, it can be easy to forget to drink water, but it's important that you aim for drinking those eight glasses a day. Dehydration can make you feel sluggish, whereas being fully hydrated will flush toxins from your body and help you be your best self, so avoid those sugary drinks.

2. Pack in the protein
If you need a snack, don't reach for the vending machine. Protein will have less of an impact on your  blood sugar levels, so you'll be less likely to face an energy crash later. For an energy boost, grab some yogurt and sprinkle it with granola, berries or nuts, or dip some veggies in hummus. 

3. Stretch
To increase blood flow to your muscles, try to find time to stretch during your nursing shift. If your muscles are loose, you'll feel more energized. If you're really feeling ambitious, go for a run or do some squats or push ups. Even having a mini dance party can boost your energy. If you don't have time to hit the gym, march in place or go for a quick walk.

4. Take a nap
We know it's hard to find the time to nap, but studies have shown that a quick restorative snooze can help improve performance, safety and personal health. This is especially true during night shifts. You also should try to get six to eight hours of sleep every night - record your favorite TV shows instead of staying up late.

5. Refocus
Sometimes you just need a change of scene. To refocus your brain and boost your energy, take a few minutes to walk outdoors. You'll get a dose of vitamin D from the sun and the fresh air will help you feel relaxed and refreshed. Even taking a moment to look out the window may help your ability to concentrate.

This article is sponsored by Western Governors University, a nonprofit, accredited, online university. WGU offers online RN to BSN,  BSN to MSN, and RN to MSN degree programs to working nurses who already have a current RN license. 

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