It can be ironic when healthcare providers work so hard to improve the well-being of others while disregarding their own. Working in the medical field wears out your body and mind, making it ever more important to take care of yourself. Get started with these five ways to stay healthy on the job.

1. Follow All Medical Protocol

Consistently being around ill people greatly raises your chances of getting sick. It’s imperative that you follow all medical protocol to reduce this risk. Remember to:

  • Wear protective gear, such as gloves and masks
  • Dispose of medical instruments and supplies correctly
  • Handle bodily fluids with caution
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently and thoroughly

Just following your workplace rules makes a significant difference in your health.

2. Get Sufficient Rest

Rest may seem elusive as a healthcare provider, yet you know the effect lack of sleep has on health and job performance. You need adequate rest as much as your patients do. This may require some creativity due to the shifts you may have to work, but it’s worth it in the long term. You may have to cut out other activities or stay away from media distractions to get enough sleep, take a nap, or just relax and recharge.

3. Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Every day you offer guidelines to your patients on how they should take care of themselves through proper dietary habits and physical activity. Do you follow your own advice? With your busy schedule, the answer may be no. The good news is that you can change that through simple actions, such as:

1.Bringing your own food to work. Set aside one day a week to make and portion a few meals you can easily transport and eat at work. Stock the community eating area with healthy snacks and fresh produce, and keep a snack in your car for after your shift to boost your energy and prevent you from going to a drive-thru.

2.Drinking less coffee. Coffee may keep you awake, but it’s no substitute for sleep. Drinking too much of this stimulant can cause dehydration, sleep problems, dependence, and weight gain from high-calorie add-ins. Consume no more than two cups a day and focus on improving your sleep instead.

3.Starting a simple exercise regimen. Exercise doesn’t have to be long and complicated to be beneficial. Just going for brisk daily walks with your dog is enough to increase cardiovascular health and maintain a healthy BMI. Don’t be scared to try something new, however, such as golf, dance, or swimming.

If there isn’t one already, initiate a facility-wide employee health program at your workplace. Ideas include creating a variety of fitness groups, exchanging healthy recipes, or having incentives for reaching a certain number of miles walking, running, or biking. There are many smartphone apps that can assist in the development and tracking of such a program to make it more accessible and convenient.

4. Take Care of Your Mental Health

It can be easy for you to forget about your mental well-being, but as someone who constantly faces traumatic experiences and overwhelming responsibilities, it’s absolutely vital. Try activities such as:

  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness
  • Deep breathing
  • Therapy
  • Journaling

Consider taking up a new hobby, or returning to an old one, for a creative outlet that relieves stress and engages your mind. When you are better able to manage anxiety, fear, and depression, both your overall health and your work performance will improve.

5. Visit Your Doctor

Another thing you may brush aside is receiving your own medical care, whether it’s because you believe you can take care of yourself or don’t have time for appointments. Having regular checkups, obtaining relevant vaccinations, and immediately seeking medical help for any issues will prevent sudden declines in your health. You may also want to see a chiropractor if you do lots of lifting and bending or sit at a computer for long periods of time.

If your doctor’s office has an on-site pharmacy, such as Proficient Rx, it makes visits more convenient for you. You save time and money having to travel somewhere else, and if you have any questions, your doctor is right there to answer them.

Don’t let your career negatively affect your health. When you take proper care of your body and mind, you will be a better provider both in fulfilling your duties and setting an example for your patients.