As a nurse, you already know that staying healthy should be a top priority. But too often other demands get in the way and doing what’s best for your physical, mental, and emotional needs gets pushed aside.

It’s time to stop this unhealthy cycle and work on increasing your energy and decreasing your stress. Health and wellness are the foundation for success not just at work but in your personal life, too. When you feel better, you perform better.

What better time than midway through 2017 to either create or improve steps to make your overall fitness a top priority. Here are six tips to help you improve your health and wellness:

1. Eat a healthy diet.

For starters, step away from sugar. It’s tough to do, as sugar is everywhere. Avoid foods with sugar listed in the first five ingredients.  Why? “Sugar makes you fat, ugly and old,” Brooke Alpert, a registered dietitian and coauthor of The Sugar Detox: Lose the Sugar, Lose the Weight — Look and Feel Great told CNN. “What we’ve discovered in the last couple of years is that sugar is keeping us overweight. It’s also a leading cause of heart disease; it negatively affects skin, and it leads to premature aging.”

2. Move your body.

Find activities you enjoy and commit to doing them for at least 30 minutes several days a week. Don’t like to jog? Walk. Hate lifting weights? March in place with soup cans while watching your favorite TV show. Increase your steps as a baseline. Be imaginative.

3. Focus on the present.

Adopt mindfulness. Pay attention when speaking to someone. Make time to connect with loved ones on a regular basis. Minimize multi-tasking. Consider scheduling one weekend a month as a time to disconnect from all digital devices.

4. Protect your sleep.

Adequate sleep protects your health. Make a date with your pillow and keep it so you feel motivated and ready for a new day.

5. Embrace education.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) noted that with over 200 free, online courses at Medline University, nurses can learn more about topics that will help enhance their well-being, including safe patient handling and hand hygiene best practices.

6. Join healthy employee initiatives.

Get fitter at your workplace. Not only are you taking charge to improve your health, you build camaraderie with your coworkers as you work toward your goals together.

The ANA designated 2017 as the Year of the Healthy Nurse. Do your part to make that true!

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Robin Farmer

Robin Farmer covers health, business, and education as a freelance journalist. Visit her online at www.RobinFarmerWrites.com.

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