What We Really Need For Nurses Week!

by Kelsey Rowell, RN

Nurses are some of the strongest, most intelligent, hard-working, selfless, and caring individuals on the face of the planet! They work tirelessly day after day, taking care of others. Some days, lunch breaks don’t exist. Some days, the bathroom has to wait 6 hours. Some days, you just can’t ever seem to catch up, no matter how “smart” or hard you work. It’s just the nature of the profession, and it can be completely draining.

This Nurses Week, I stopped to ponder what I really needed? Another coffee cup to add to my mug collection? Nope. Another lunch box to get lost on the unit? Nope….How about a game plan to make for a more fulfilling and satisfying career as a nurse? Heck yes! I’ll take one of those, with a side of vacation to kick it off! This Nurses Week, we deserve to learn how to better to take care of ourselves, the people around us, and ultimately become better and more compassionate care takers for our patients.

The reality of it all is that taking care of others starts at home with YOU. How you feed your body. How you nurture your soul. How you exercise your body and mind. How you love yourself well so you can love others in return. We hear that saying all too much, but do we really know what it means in relation to our life? I’m going to tell you what you really need and deserve this Nurses Week and how to keep it up.

Taking Time For Yourself

With the craziness and commitment of taking care of others at their worst, we need to make sure that we are feeding our hearts and souls as well. We all have different ways that we like to relax and let down. No matter WHAT your nursing schedule looks like, you need a day of “rest”. Scheduling rest can be a lot of things. It can look like reading a book outside for a few hours. Maybe doing something active with your friends or spouse like hiking, bike riding, or even going on a picnic.I know some of you may be rolling your eyes, but getting out in nature with people you love can be really therapeutic! Exercising outside is TOTALLY rewarding and will make you feel amazing!

You can do smaller things like going to get a pedicure or scheduling a massage if money allows. I know a lot of the working mom’s out there are limited with their time and availability. We deny ourselves a lot when children are in the picture. That doesn’t mean we should neglect our physical and mental health. There are some awesome Groupons out there for massages, kayaking adventures, and fun activities like painting and music. Saving money AND relaxing is a win/win! If you’re like me and are a musician, pick up that old instrument and play around with it! My guitar sits in the corner 90% of the time. The minute I pick it up, I am always asking myself why I don’t do this more! It’s therapeutic and fun. We go SO much in our week, and the hours are long at work. You HAVE to do something for you and you need that day of rest! We NEED to rest in order to work.

Feeding Your Body Well

This is huge! I can’t even begin to explain how much food affects your everyday feelings and performance. I’m very much pro-“be happy in your own skin”, but when I am taking good care of my body, feeding it the food it needs (not wants), and at a healthy weight, I am SO much happier in general. I feel empowered, ambitious, and more driven. I am proud of myself because I know that part of my happiness comes from feeding my body the foods it needs to survive. It’s often hard to say no to the fried food, junk food, sweet tea, and soda. Our bodies naturally crave the food that we keep feeding it. You have to stop somewhere.

Fast Food is easy and can become habit. I understand the burden that cooking and working can be, but fast food doesn’t have to mean french fries and chicken nuggets. Restaurants now offer healthier options like salads and deli sandwiches which are MUCH better decisions than what those places are known for. I try to eat as natural as possible and more foods that have as little ingredients as possible. You can start by making healthier decisions with fast food options.

Also, salad dressings at restaurants can be FULL of nasty ingredients! I encourage you to bring your salads home and use balsamic or apple cider vinaigrette. They are so tasty and WAY better for you. Your heart and body will love you. You will sleep better and feel better about yourself. Eating healthier isn’t hard, it just takes a little time to educate yourself and find the foods you like.

Making water priority over carbonated and sugary beverages is a must. The little decisions we make with food and what we drink every day affect our health in a BIG way! I encourage you this Nurses Week to honor the body that ALLOWS you to care and love well by feeding it WELL.

Being Proud and Thankful

We work in a profession where we are entrusted to LIVES. That is absolutely CRAZY (and scary) to wrap your mind around. Every day we go in to receive report on patients. This is our job, and part of it. We prioritize and implement care all day long. At the end of our day, we’re often exhausted. We pass off report and head home. Do you ever stop and truly think about what you just did? You helped people today. You didn’t fix a car. You didn’t bag groceries. You didn’t deal money….You took care of people’s lives! You healed in more ways than you can understand. The impact you can make on lives every day far surpasses what you can do in most other professions. I am SO thankful that I have the opportunity to care for people and their hearts every single day. I know we don’t think of it this way, but the reality of it all is that this is what we do. I am thankful and proud to be a nurse!

This Nurses Week, I want you to stop and ask yourself “Am I taking good care of myself?” “Do I feel thankful and proud to be a Nurse?” If the answer is no to either of these, I’d love for you to take a step back and look at the whole picture. Are you nurturing your soul? Are you taking a day of rest? Are you feeding your body the foods you need to thrive? These could all be impacting your life in big ways, and could be hindering you from seeing the beauty that this profession (and really life) has to offer you and others. This Nurses Week, I want you to focus on you! I know the focus is so much on our patients, but if we don’t take care of ourselves, we’re doing everyone a disservice.

Happy Nurses Week! Love Yourself Well So You Can Love In Return!

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Kelsey is an RN, Wife, Encourager, Motivator, People Lover, Creative Soul, and a BIG heart! Be sure to visit her website, yourheartismine.net and follow her on social media.

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