Student Blogs

Nursing School and Physical Wellness

Written by Autumn Aniello

As a nurse, we tend to forget about our health and needs. Instead, we put all of our focus into caring for our patients, only to realize when we get home after a 12-hour shift that we haven’t had any water all day. 

I’m a huge advocate for taking care of ourselves by living a healthy lifestyle, but is it possible to even think about working out even if bombarded with tasks in nursing school?

My answer: Yes! It was challenging, but I prioritized working out and eating healthy while in nursing school (and as I work as a night shift nurse now). So, here are some of my biggest tips:

Create a SCHEDULE and STICK to it

Plan your workouts as if they are a class, making it a non-negotiable. As for me, it is going to the gym at 6 am because I knew nothing else planned at that time. Dedicate your time to a movement that you like the best. It will make it easier for you to incorporate into your days. Going into the gym with a plan always helps me be more time-efficient and helps me get my workout in. You can find some free workout plans online or on Instagram. As for my preference, I love weightlifting, but some other ideas are pilates, yoga, walking, running, dancing, etc. Any movement is a good movement! 

Another variable is solo or partner workouts. For me, I love to work out solo because I can get distracted by a partner. However, if you’re super short on time, it might be a good idea to work out with a partner (friend, significant other, sibling, etc.)- that way, you can squeeze in some socialization into your busy life.


Don’t try to be super extreme and go to the gym for two (2) hours every day of the week. It isn’t plausible. Start with what you know you can handle, such as walking for 30 mins 2-3x a week. Once you feel comfortable with this, you can then adjust your schedule. Also, realize that some days will be busier than others, and give yourself grace.

Create a MEAL PLAN

Even if you don’t want to, prepare some essentials to have a nice and handy day throughout the week. It will save time! I recommend having the following on hand and ready to go each week:

  • Fruits (I love frozen berries! It is great for a protein smoothie, in greek yogurt, or oatmeal) 
  • Veggies (Frozen is great too!) 
  • Complex carbs (quinoa, sweet potatoes, oats, etc.)
  • Protein sources (chicken, ground turkey, canned salmon, shrimp tofu, beans, hard-boiled eggs, plain greek yogurt)

Some of my favorite quick meals:

  • Oats or plain greek yogurt with frozen berries, chia & flax seeds & nut butter
  • Protein shakes (protein powder, spinach, frozen fruits) 
  • Chicken or ground turkey with a green veggie (zucchini, broccoli, spinach), plus sweet potatoes in the air fryer 
  • Banza protein pasta with shrimp and green veggies

I know it was easy for me to list all of these tips, but I promise they helped me focus on wellness and health while in nursing school. You got this! I believe in you! 

If you want more tips, reach out to me @ama.wellness on Instagram, where I share balancing nursing with wellness!