How Nurses Can Prepare for a Busy Winter

Mar 23, 2022

It’s that time of year again — the days are gradually getting shorter, the chill is creeping in and all we want to do is curl up in front of the heater. For nurses, however, hibernating is not an option!

As temperatures plummet during the winter months, healthcare organisations across the UK brace for a surge in demand – and nurses must also prepare for the busy period ahead. For those working in nursing jobs, having a set of strategies to handle this period well can go a long way.

We’ve put together a list of key tips to prepare for a busy winter, covering not only the best ways to stay bug-free, but also the importance of embracing self-care and the quintessential winter remedy: a nice, warm cup of tea!

1. Focus on Hygiene

Nurses are particularly vulnerable to the infections that run rampant during winter, so it’s important to focus on strategies to reduce the risk of acquiring a bug or two! As NHS figures showed last winter, the number of flu and COVID infections that require hospital care can spike during the winter months, making hygiene especially critical during this time for nurses and patients.

Here are a few practices that are especially important to keep up with during winter:

  • Hand washing and care: With the uptick in hand washing during the chilly months, your skin may take a hit. Consider investing in a good quality hand cream to prevent your skin from becoming chapped, keeping a personal tube on hand for immediate relief and skin barrier protection.
  • Keep your distance: Although it can sometimes be difficult, trying your best to avoid close contact with sick friends and family helps safeguard you against illness.
  • Avoid touching your face: Keeping your hands away from your face is a simple yet effective way to reduce your risk of infection!
  • Call in sick: If you’re feeling under the weather, prioritise your health and that of those around you by taking the time you need to recover at home.

2. Don’t Skip on Quality Sleep

The importance of looking after yourself extends to your sleep – and maintaining a consistent sleep routine can be challenging for nurses, especially on the night shift! Creating a calming routine is key, with activities like reading or a warm bath that signal to your body it’s time for rest.

If you need to get your much-needed rest during the day, consider equipping your room with blackout curtains or use an eye mask to ward off sunlight. See here for more strategies to help you deal with the night shift.

3. Stay Active

With the demands of your job increasing over winter and the weather outside less than inviting for a jog, it’s important not to stop exercising (although it’s tempting!). A good exercise routine not only helps fend off symptoms associated with seasonal affective disorder but also boosts your immune system.

If you’re not too keen on getting rained on, consider indoor activities like yoga or a quick home workout to keep yourself moving!

4. Healthy Eating & Hydration

A balanced diet and good hydration will help maintain your energy and a healthy immune system. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout your shifts — and don’t shy away from a hot beverage to take the winter chill off.

When it comes to diet, incorporating warm, nutrient-rich meals like hearty stews will help fuel both your body and spirit!

5. Prioritise Self-Care

Exercise, healthy eating and sleep are all important elements of self-care – but there are also important things you can do for your mental wellbeing during winter.
With the added work and financial pressures of the season, coupled with less sunshine, more than two in five people report feelings of stress, depression or anxiety in December – highlighting the need to look after yourself, especially if you’re a busy nurse!

Set aside dedicated time for things like:

  • Focus on positive mental health: Engage in activities that support your mental health, such as mindfulness and meditation.
  • Relax & wind down: Make an effort to do things you enjoy that relax you – whether it’s enjoying a hot chocolate by the fire, or watching your favourite show on the couch!
  • Social support: Although it’s important to keep away when friends and family are sick, don’t neglect the importance of great social and emotional support during the winter.

6. Seek Out Support

Speaking of support, be sure to remain aware of the support on offer to you as a nurse during the tough winter months! Most NHS organisations have designated health and wellbeing guardians responsible for looking after your safety and health at work. If you want to learn more about the resources available to you, consider asking your team or checking out the NHS page on health and wellbeing programmes.


That covers six of our key tips for prepping for a busy winter. Remember, regular self-care is essential for your long-term health and well-being, so ensure you set aside time for yourself — even if that means setting a boundary or two!

If you’re looking for your ideal nursing position this winter, look no further. The team of specialist nursing recruiters here at WESolutions would love to help connect you with the excellent nursing jobs we have available in the UK – so please don’t hesitate to contact us!