Comfort Thyself: 7 Ways to Feel Better at Work

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Nurse exhausted after a long shift.Nurses provide comfort to others and yet sometimes neglect taking care of their own well-being. It goes without saying that nursing is a physically demanding job. After an 8- or 12-hour shift pounding the floors of the hospital ward, many nurses come home with an aching back, throbbing feet and sore shins. Here are some ways to make sure you give yourself the same TLC as you administer to others.

  1. Buy comfortable nursing shoes.
    Start with your feet first and make sure your shoes provide the support you need. A lot of shoes out there are marketed toward nurses, but not all make the cut in terms of comfort and support. A good source for finding the best nursing shoes is the American Podiatric Medical Association, with its list of products earning the organization’s seal of approval. Some of the shoes making the list include clogs CrocsRX, Dankso, and Phoenix Footwear.And just as your car requires frequent oil changes, you put a lot of miles on your feet and should buy new shoes at least twice a year. If you suffer from an ailment such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints or lower back pain, buy a new pair every three to four months.
  2. Bolster your support.
    Adding arch supports, insoles or inserts to your shoes can help alleviate aching feet. Dr. Comfort has Control X inserts in high, medium and low arch sizes, and Spenco offers gel insoles to cushion your ball, heel or complete foot length. For a more therapeutic solution, consider getting properly fitted with orthotics.
  3. Try wearing compression socks.
    Compression socks can help if you have swelling or an aching and heavy feeling in your legs, and they also can prevent spider veins and varicose veins. Dr. Scholl’s offers therapeutic compression support socks in mild, moderate and firm compression options. And Nabee has graduated compression socks that are actually fashionable. The company claims the socks were designed by nurses, and the socks come in striped, argyle and spotted styles.
  4. A good way to unwind when you get home from work is to relax with a few yoga poses. “Reclining big toe” pose stretches your thighs, hamstrings, and calves and strengthens your knees. “Legs up the wall” is an inverted pose that brings relief to your legs, feet, spine and nervous system. It’s especially helpful if you’ve been standing all day because it diverts blood flow to your head and torso and reduces swelling in your feet and ankles. “Seated forward bend” is a restorative pose that calms the brain and relieves stress.
  5. Massage your feet.
    When you’re settling in to watch “Nurse Jackie,” grab a tennis ball and roll your foot from heel to toe over the ball. This gentle massage stretches tight foot muscles and is easy to do. And while the tennis ball is a low-cost remedy, there are also many high-tech solutions, such as a Shiatsu foot massager with heat from uComfy.
  6. Go soak your feet.
    One of the best remedies for relaxing sore feet is a foot bath. There’s no need to invest in a foot spa. All you need is a basin filled with warm water and a couple tablespoons of Epsom salts. If your feet are swollen, hot or tired, use cool water and elevate your feet for at least a half-hour after your soak.
  7. And if all else fails, treat yourself to a mani-pedi. You deserve it!
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