A Valentine's Day collage that promotes self-pampering for nurses.

Valentine's Day is the perfect time to show that special someone some love—and by someone, we mean YOU!

As a nurse, you pour your heart into caring for others, so pursuing enjoyable activities that promote relaxation, rejuvenation, and overall well-being is essential. Because the more love you give yourself, the more love you can give your patients.

Self-pampering is about showing yourself compassion and paying attention to your immediate needs as part of an overall self-care strategy for maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Self-Pamper vs. Self Care: Self-pampering is something we engage in for temporary enjoyment, while self-care focuses on prevention and health maintenance over the long haul.

What are the best self-pampering activities for nurses? The best self-pampering activities cater to your unique needs and preferences, encompassing physical, emotional, and mental relaxation. It's also worth considering how much time and money you have to devote to an activity—two things that seem to be in supply for many of us these days. But here are three budget-friendly activities you can do at home:

1. DIY Spa Day for Nurses

Dim the lights, light some candles, and enjoy a relaxing bath using scented oils, bath bombs, or Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate). Granulated Epsom salt soaks offer mood-boosting, muscle-improving benefits and can reduce inflammation—perfect for your achy muscles and sore feet. After all, nurses walk an average of 16,390 steps a day.

Epsom salts that contain baking soda also serve as a natural deodorizer for your feet. When your soak is complete, remember to trim and file your toenails while they're still soft. Another reminder is to apply rich moisture following your bath, as hot water can dehydrate the skin.

Working long hours and wearing PPE equipment can also wreak havoc on your skin and complexion. Pick up a face mask at your local drugstore or achieve softer, smoother skin with ingredients from your kitchen. Check out these five easy DIY facial masks.

While having a spa day every day isn't realistic, taking care of your skin regularly is essential—it's your largest organ. You want your skin to remain healthy and moist to be a barrier against possible infections.

Consider using a barrier cream, gentle cleanser, and light moisturizer as part of your daily routine. Just like brushing your teeth, this routine should be second nature.

A Valentine's Day-themed image featuring ShiftMed CNA Natalie M., who treated herself to a spa day after winning the ShiftMed Showdown Sweepstakes.

ShiftMed has a monthly Shift Showdown Sweepstakes where one lucky winner brings home $5,000. The more shifts you work with ShiftMed, the more entries you get into the monthly drawing. Imagine the self-pampering you could do with that money!

2. Mindfulness for Healthcare Workers

As you know, working in healthcare is stressful. By practicing daily mindfulness, you can develop skills to help you manage stress, improve your health, increase your intention, and prevent nurse burnout. So, use Valentine’s Day as the starting point for your daily mindfulness journey.

Creating a meditation routine that you genuinely enjoy and aligns with your life sets the stage for a sustainable, rewarding practice that contributes to your overall well-being.

Despite the excellent benefits of meditation, the thought of learning how to do it can feel overwhelming, often preventing people from practicing it. That’s where guided meditations come in.

Research guided meditations on YouTube or in the App or Google Play stores. While many apps require in-app purchases or expensive subscriptions, there's no shortage of free mindful meditations for nurses on YouTube.

Successful meditation requires consistency. You can create a routine that reinforces a habit of meditation by carving out time for your daily practice. Meditating first thing in the morning or before bed at night is ideal because your kids are asleep, and chores aren't top of mind. And for those unpredictable days or nights, it helps to have a backup plan.

While consistency is key with guided meditation, you must also have a “personal” connection with the guide; this person needs a voice that resonates with you and leaves you feeling soothed and supported. Have you ever bought an audiobook with a cringy narrator? Talk about disappointing!

While a nurse's life is often unpredictable, it helps to have a Plan B for daily meditation. Even devoting just a few minutes to your practice whenever possible is still beneficial.

3. Recipes for Nurses That Heal the Soul

Treat yourself to a culinary adventure that allows you to relish in the experience of creating and enjoying a delightful dish. Explore new recipes, cook a delicious meal, and savor the flavors with people you love. Check out these comfort food recipes to heal your soul, or visit Pinterest, where there's never a shortage of tasty recipes.

Valentine's Day can be your jumping-off point if you've never meal prepped before. Meal prepping is an excellent way to save money and maintain a healthy diet. How often do you get so busy during a shift that you forget to eat or grab something from the vending machine? Then what happens? You probably hit the drive-thru after work because your stomach's growling louder than a rock concert.

If this situation happens more often than you'd like to admit, meal prepping can help you develop healthier eating habits that affect your overall well-being. Check out these meal prep ideas for healthcare professionals.

A series of cute Happy Valentine's Day cards for nurses.

Ready for Some Valentine's Day Self-Love?

The key to self-pampering is tailoring activities to your preferences and needs, allowing personal care and relaxation. Regular self-pampering can be an integral part of an overall self-care plan that improves mental health, reduces stress, and helps promote a more positive outlook on life.

So, this Valentine's Day, let the love you share with others find its way back to you. As you prioritize your own well-being, you enhance your ability to care for others and set a powerful example of self-love within the healthcare community. So, nurses, this is your day to indulge, appreciate, and celebrate the incredible person you are!

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