Change can be exhilarating, and there’s nothing quite like the excitement that comes with embarking on a new program and, with it, a new career. Now that the stress of school, or your nursing career, is truly upon you, it’s time to learn how to manage the physical, intellectual, and emotional stress of becoming a licensed vocational nurse. Check out the tips below to keep you refreshed and happy so you can enjoy the path, or the shift, ahead.
1. Stay Hydrated
You have every right to laugh in the face of anyone who tells you to lay off the caffeine during LVN school. However, as you know, caffeine is a powerful diuretic, and the last thing you need is to get dehydrated while you’re burning the midnight oil. Pack a reusable water bottle with you so even while you amp up on coffee, you’re still drinking plenty of H2O.
2. Eat Healthy
Oh, junk food. WHY are you so delicious and convenient? There’s probably a 24-hour drive-thru on the way home from your LVN program that is constantly calling your name, especially when it’s late and you’re tired and hangry. Try, as much as you can, to avoid it. It’s nearly impossible to keep up with cooking meals daily while you’re in school, but here are shortcuts that help.
- Make a big batch of black beans and rice that you can reheat in the microwave any time.
- Look for healthy frozen meals at the grocery store. (They’re not ideal either, but they are surely better than burgers and fries.)
- Keep a bag of high-fiber/low sugar almonds in your backpack, along with whole grain crackers so you don’t give into temptation.
- Invest in low-sugar, high-protein meal bars so you survive between meals.
- Breakfast tip: whole grain cereals low in sugar with skim milk, or 1/4 cup of granola mixed with a cup of plain, low-fat yogurt with fruit. Yummy and good for you.
Eat well as you can so when you do succumb to fast food, it’s a rare treat.
3. Keep Exercising Throughout Your LVN Training
Nursing exacts a physical toll on everyone. That’s why it’s crucially important to get in the habit now of staying active and fit. Find 20 minutes at least three times a week for a refreshing brisk walk or a ride on a stationary bike. If you can do more, all the better. Try enrolling in a yoga class. Yoga keeps your mind focused and your muscles less prone to injury from bending and lifting. If yoga isn’t your speed, a spin class, boot camp in the park or a gym membership keeps you moving. Find whatever works for you and stick to it.
Sleep is surely in short supply while you’re pursuing your LVN license. That doesn’t make it any less important. Structure your studying schedule and social life (“What social life?” asked the average LVN nursing student) so you have ample of time to wind down when you get home. As hard as getting seven to eight hours of sleep is, it’s still vital to your health.
5. There’s Safety in Numbers
The truth is your peers who are sweating through your LVN classes with you understand exactly what you’re going through. Regular get-togethers to study or just commiserate help you all stay focused, keep your collective eye on the prize, and prevent you from feeling isolated. You’ll all share in your mutual successes and failures, boosting each other up as you go along. You may just make some of the best friends you’ll have for life while you’re going through your LVN training.
At CDI, we offer a lot of hands-on support and encouragement to all of our students. If you’re worried about burnout or have questions about the challenges that you will face one you enroll in an LVN program in Los Angeles, we’d love to hear from you.
Thanks to Flickr user Walt Stoneburner for the great photo (© Walt Stoneburner).