3 Ways To Show Love To The Nurse In Your Life

Nurses have a reputation of being kind, considerate, selfless, and knowledgeable. We work long hours (often 8-12hr shifts) 3-5 days a week. These shifts can be filled with fast-paced decision making, flexibility, and us going above and beyond for others. The amount of energy expended during our workdays can be draining both mentally and physically. Therefore, when it comes to our personal lives, support and understanding from our love ones is invaluable.

Naturally, some of the wonderful characteristics used to describe nurses in the clinical setting often cross over into our personal relationships as well. For example, our critical thinking ability to rapidly and practically solve problems can be useful when navigating business, finances, and family conflicts. Nurse mothers have the capability to balance the mental and physical exertion that comes with the job, and apply the same at home for their children and partners. Unfortunately, just like any complicated profession, trying to manage children and partners can be tiresome when they don’t realize that their loved one is running on empty. While their superhero tries to make everything look easy, they really need those extra boosts of what I like to call “The triple A’s”: Appreciation, Affirmation, and Accommodation.

Appreciation goes a long way when it comes to showing your nurse how much you care about them. Often times, many nurses go above and beyond for their patients and family without little recognition. Working complicated shifts while still attending important events, date nights, PTA meetings, and household duties afterwards can make anyone feel overwhelmed. Therefore, a simple “Thank You” note or random gift can make a huge difference in making your nurse feel appreciated for what they do.

Affirmations can be the fuel us nurses need to keep on going. We can repeat them to ourselves every morning before we start our day or we can hear them from those we serve both personally and professionally. Affirmation phrases like “You are amazing” and “You are enough” can help assure a person that what they’re doing is noticed and appreciated.

Accommodations are selfless acts that allow us nurses to do what we do a lot easier. Considerate tasks such as performing household chores and providing quiet times for us to rest on our off days are some great examples of helpful accommodations. You’d be surprised how far a home-cooked dinner or peaceful house after a long shift can do.

Whether you are a friend, spouse, offspring, or patient of a nurse, don’t forget to express how much they mean to you through not only your words, but your actions as well. The complexities of our job can sometimes impede on our efforts to balance our personal lives. This imbalance can affect our mental and physical health, and ultimately impact the ones we love. Therefore, whenever you meet a nurse, be sure to try expressing one of the triple A’s listed above and see how you can positively impact their lives that day.

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”

—Randy Pausch

Good Grief

With the current political malarkey, global climate changes, mass shootings, and most recently, the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, the world has much to grieve about nowadays. The accumulation of tragic events from just this year alone has everyone feeling melancholy, searching for ways to push through their daily lives with the shadow of grief lingering behind. While not everyone goes through the grieving process the same way, certain characteristics of grief are commonly seen, regardless of the situation.

In nursing, the characteristics of grief are observed frequently. Unfortunately, I can even say that the healthcare field is one of the areas where grief is observed most. With fatal diagnoses, unfavorable test results, and familial changes, nurses witness the multiple stages of grief among patients and their families, such as acceptance, denial, anger, bargaining, and even depression. Therefore, nurses must recognize and be sympathetic to those experiencing grief and help them to navigate through their difficult time.

For any nurse, caring for a patient or family while they are grieving can be somewhat awkward, but this can be even more applicable for a new nurse. Not only are you learning how to complete your daily tasks, you are admitting and discharging patients and trying to critically think all at the same time (whew!). Nevertheless, you may come across a situation where someone is grieving and you just don’t know what to do. Plain and simple. Whether your patient dies unexpectedly, is a victim of a traumatic event (e.g., rape, violence, divorce, etc.), or recently received some devastating news regrading their health, there are many triggers that can initiate the grieving process. Thankfully, healthcare professionals can play a large role in alleviating the blow of such a negative experience, while upholding the quality of care we wish to provide.

Here are some tips that anyone can use when caring for someone who is grieving (in no particular order):

  1. Be Empathetic-Try to understand where they are coming from, from their perspective, and without judgement or criticism in your tone of voice. Sometimes people need to feel understood and seen for who they are, despite the obstacles put against them.
  2. Listen– Most people who are experiencing a difficult time would like to express their frustrations. Let them. Allowing them to be heard can be a great form of patient advocacy. However, be sure to not pressure someone to share personal feelings with you before they are ready. Unless it’s detrimental to their well-being, pushing someone to open up prematurely can hinder rapport between patient and nurse and negatively affect patient outcomes.
  3. Respect Cultural Differences– There are many culture variations according to nationality, regional community, religion, sexual orientation, etc. Therefore, it is important to understand your patient’s cultural dynamics when it comes to customs and family in order to not appear disrespectful during their difficult time. If appropriate, ask for clarity and try to utilize culturally competent resources for assistance.

Think about it like this, how would you feel if you were going through a difficult time? Who would you like to talk to? How would you like to be treated? If you’re unsure, get help from nurse leaders, spiritual services, or even family members to be sure that the patient feels supported. Grief can be temporary or it can last for years. Therefore, assess each situation with a caring lens and understand that we all need one another at some point, whether we’re on this side of the stethoscope or not.

READY…SET…GOal!: 3 Tips to Help You Cross the Finish Line in 2020

As we countdown the last days until 2020, we begin to look forward to what the new year has to offer. What goals will you accomplish? What kind of people will you meet? It’s almost like the new year represents that reset button on the back of your appliance, which wipes away any previous malfunctions and offers a reboot with a clean slate.

With any new beginning, endless possibilities flood your mind. Nothing seems impossible and you dare anyone or anything to stop your progress. Like a prominent NBA player who suffers a knee injury, you are determined to get back out there…even before you are truly ready. Your mind may be back on the court but your follow through may need a little bit more work.

I’d like to highlight the importance of goals as 2019 comes to an end. Whether you’re finishing school, starting a new career, trimming relationships, purchasing a home, or even getting a handle on your health, setting a goal should be more than just writing something down in a journal or creating a vision board. It should be something that you actively work towards everyday, regardless of whether a new year is around the corner or not.

However, for the sake of the holiday season, I wanted to give you all 3 simple tips that can help ensure your goals won’t be just something off in a distance, but actually things that you can accomplish.

1) Keep A Calendar. If you are a visual learner or even just someone that needs a little help staying on track, it’s so important to have a calendar. Whether you use Google Calendar, your phone, or even an old school paper calendar with cute little puppies on it, a calendar not only allows you to write down important due dates, but it also gives you a visual representation of how wisely you’re using your time. Preparation days can be set up before the goal date, then marked down as the big day draws near. I’ve found this tool to be extremely helpful, especially with tasks like taking the GRE graduate school entrance exam or loosing weight for a bridesmaid’s dress lol!

2) Create Accountability Partners. Accountability partners are people who you can trust to hold you accountable for the task you’re trying to complete. These people are there to say “Hey, how’s you’re (insert task) doing?”. Depending on how intense you need them to be, they can call or text with reminders, or even offer affirmations or tips. When I first attempted to fast from carbs for the first month of the new year in 2016, a friend of mine would send me vegetable recipes, affirmations in the morning, and even scold me when I fell off track. This person can come in the form of a friend, life coach, advisor, etc. Think about it, wouldn’t you be more inclined to accomplish something if you knew someone was watching you?

3) Take Realistic, Yet Simplistic Steps. The worst thing to do when setting goals is to be unrealistic. Now of course realism is indeed relative. For example, the thought of someone involved in a bad car accident recovering completely in 6 months might seem unrealistic to some, but very realistic to others. The mental and physical capacity of a person all play a role in the timeframe that something can be accomplished. However, if you are someone who already has poor habits and need to start small to work their way to larger steps, that’s okay. To be honest, those people are more likely to maintain their goals and not revert back due to failure and discouragement. With checking off simple tasks everyday, you are more likely to succeed in the long run.

Setting and accomplishing goals can be both an exciting and scary journey. However, with the steps listed above, what can start off as a possibility can truly end up your reality. So let’s get out there and do what we set out to do. Ready…Set…GOal!

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Quote of the Day: You Are the Author

“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

– Toni Morrison, Author

Breaking out beyond what’s expected can be discouraging. Often times we stay within the confines of other people’s opinions, experiences, and expectations, at the detriment of our own happiness. Fear of failure, inadequacy, or even isolation can cause complacency to creep up like venomous snake waiting to devour its next prey.

This quote speaks on more than just simply writing a book on a subject you’ve never seen. It metaphorically describes how we must not take life sitting down, but create our own version of innovation, love, family, career, and happiness—even if it’s never been done before. The tools to succeed are already inside of you. You have the pen…start writing.

Toni Morrison
Award-winning Author and Poet

It’s The Detox For Me: Why Detoxing Can Help You Reset Your Mind, Body, and Goals

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Anyone who knows me knows I love a good Monday. Monday to me is the day of the week where possibilities seem endless, new beginnings can emerge, and whatever seemed to be holding me back the week before had just a little less grip. Sure, you can look at the cup half empty on Mondays and dread the obligations that come with it, but why not turn that pessimism into preparation? Luckily, one of the best ways to get into this headspace at the start of your week is with a good detox.

WHY SHOULD I DETOX?

The term “toxins” are usually used interchangeably with words like “wastes” or “chemicals”, but it can be used to describe any harmful substances to the body including heavy metals, pollutants, parasites, excess sugar, and processed foods. Did you know that your body already has a natural ability to remove these toxins? Your liver, skin, kidneys, and other organs help to filter out the waste that you consume. For example, 90 percent of alcohol is metabolized by the liver, but the liver is also responsible for breaking down proteins and energy sources that the body needs to survive. Therefore, excess alcohol intake can put wear on your liver and ultimately lead to liver disease, failure, or death. So while our fascinating bodies do a wonderful job of keeping things in check when it’s operating at its most healthy state, adding some detoxification practices can help it along the way.

The daily runs to Chic-fil-A, those new Pillsbury cookies you just had to try, or even those holiday season spreads can take a toll on your health in the long run. Eventually, excess fatigue and weight gain can impact your mental health, sleep, and productivity. Think about it, wouldn’t you feel more energized and ready to tackle the week if you started off with a cleaner slate? Unfortunately, most of the foods and drinks we consume are filled with more preservatives, chemicals, excess sugars, and metals than ever before. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Nutritional Facts of any snack in your pantry, even the healthier ones. Nine times out of ten, that snack contains additional sugars and other harmful ingredients you can’t even pronounce.

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RISKS AND BENEFITS OF DETOXING

Like with anything, there are both risks and benefits to doing them. Everyone does not respond the same way and results may vary depending on age, pre-existing conditions, supplements, metabolism, etc. However, here are some common risks and benefits associated with a dietary detox:

Benefits

  • Removal of harmful substances from your body
  • Clearer skin complexion
  • Improved cognition
  • Easier transition to a healthier diet (e.g., pescatarian, vegetarian, vegan)
  • Improved digestion and immunity
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased cravings
  • Improved organ function (e.g. lungs, liver, kidney, etc.)

Risks

  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Overdose on supplements
  • Allergic reactions to supplements
  • Pre-existing condition interactions (e.g., diabetes, heart disease, etc.)

HOW CAN I DETOX?

So what are some ways to detoxify your body? While there isn’t just one sure way to do it, here are some popular trends:

  • Organic herbal teas (e.g., black tea, orange tea, green tea, etc.)
  • Vegetarian or vegan diets (no meat or fish consumption)
  • No dairy products (e.g., products made with cow’s milk)
  • Colon cleansing (e.g., colonics, laxatives, etc.)
  • No alcohol consumption
  • No processed sugar or sweets (agave or honey can be used as a natural substitute)
  • Increased water intake (at least 8oz. per day)
  • Limited to no caffeinated beverages
  • Increased sleep (at least 7 hours/day allows the body’s natural detoxification system to work properly)
  • Increased antioxidant rich foods (e.g., berries, nuts, green tea, etc.)
  • Prebiotics and probiotics to help gut health, digestion, and immunity
  • Activity and exercise to promote sweat and decrease inflammation in the body
  • Decreased sodium intake to reduce hypertension and water retention (e.g., swelling and bloating)

There is also no set time that you have to undergo detoxification. Some people may just do it for a few days or weeks until a healthier lifestyle becomes the norm. However, it is important that you don’t overexert yourself or do anything dangerous that might cause more harm than good.

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BEYOND THE FOOD

Now detoxing isn’t just about diet or exercise. The same concept of ridding your life of toxicity can apply to the people and environment around you! You know what I’m talking about. The people who judge your every move from a pessimistic lens, the things that take from you more than they give, or anything that doesn’t contribute to your mental, physical, or financial wellbeing. Yeah, those things. Get rid of them. If you can’t get rid of them, limit your time and energy towards them. Although it may be difficult to do, detoxing negativity in your life is just as important as ridding your body of toxic substances.

Some other ways you can detox include:

  • Journaling
  • Setting boundaries
  • Removing yourself from triggers (eg., people, places, situations that invoke trauma/drama)
  • Meditation/Spiritual practices
  • Therapy
  • Self-care
  • Hobbies
  • Rededicating to your purpose/goals
  • Using natural products (e.g., lotions, cleaners, feminine hygiene products, etc.)

At first, as your body gets used to not having its vices, detoxing can be very difficult. However, over time, it can get easier and be an awesome way to start off a new journey or lifestyle. To perform at your highest level, your body needs to be fueled by healthy foods and practices. Therefore, you must occasionally stop and evaluate what you are consuming and practicing on a regular basis. Is it nutritious foods, water, rest, spiritual healing, purposeful work, affirmations, and love from those around you? If not, then you may need to put the D in detox and start today…Good luck!

Disclaimer: Please consult with your doctor before you begin any detoxing program. Using any product beyond instructions provided by the manufacturer or noncompliance with instructions from your healthcare provider could result in damage or even death. The author of this website is not responsible for any loss, damage, or death to an individual as a result of any information on this website, nor does this website endorse any particular life choice or products. Please see the Policies tab for more information.