I'm really into exercise, health, and wellness so I don't let the 12 hour shifts get in the way of my fitness (I also have another part time job)!! Fitness was my 1st career, so I'm passionate about this subject. :heartbeat
When I started in my nursing career, I didn't workout or eat right, I gained weight quickly. I found myself drinking a lot of diet soda, eating unhealthy snacks, and not packing my food meant eating in the cafeteria and I didn't make good choices.
1) Food: Eating clean, whole foods is definitely #1, along with water intake. I make my meals the night before and buy easy to make, easy to grab meals and snacks-like trail mix, bars, dried or fresh fruit. I limit myself to 3 diet sodas a week, and drink more tea and water during my shift.
If I'm in a time crunch & didn't cook, I will grab my bag of spinach, tofurky deli "meat", apples, yogurt, cheese sticks, luna or larabar, and a pita or two. I have plenty of snacks, and I have plenty of food to make a couple salads, and pita sandwiches while at work.
2) Fitness: I workout in my living room for 20-30 min in the AM before my shift. Even if it's a couple sets of push ups, crunches, jumping jacks, and squats, it gets my blood flowing and helps wake me up.
If I can't wake up in time, I'll do it after work while I watch TV. There are days where I've done my cardio in the AM before work, and weights in th PM after work.
On my OFF days, I set aside an hour to go to the gym. Definitely a good day to get in weights and cardio.
If I have a full day of errands, again I'll workout at home if need be but off days are definitely workout days. I bought an exercise bike off Craigslist for super cheap & I have a couple sets of dumbbells, some DVDs, and On Demand has a huge selection of exercise videos.
It doesn't hurt that I work in a BUSY. BUSY ER. I'm running around for 12 hours, so I wear a pedometer to count miles, steps, and calories I burn each shift.
I gotta keep my mind and body healthy, and exercise is my stress relief. It can be done.