It’s the year of the healthy nurse. That’s right; the American Nurses Association is celebrating National Nurses Week on May 6–12. So, if there is a nurse in your life, now is the perfect time to thank them for all they do to for healthcare — and for us. A nurse’s role is unique in that it encompasses a variety of roles. They are caregivers, teachers, advocates, manager, and great examples of healthy habits.
If you want to adopt better habits, here are five fun ways to be healthy every day.
1.Get a massage
Scheduling a massage on a regular basis can be the prescription you need for maintaining flexibility, relaxing sore muscles, and relieving built-up anxiety. “We bring in a massage therapist for students and staff every few weeks where they can receive a 15-minute neck and upper back massage,” Julie Aiken, CEO of Ameritech College of Healthcare, said. If you don’t have a massage therapy handy, here are five easy ways to give yourself a quick massage.
2. Take a hike.
Getting outside and enjoying some fresh air is one of the fastest methods for relieving stress.
A study published by the University of Michigan School of Medicine found that “group nature walks are linked with significantly lower depression, less perceived stress and enhanced mental health and well-being.” If you lack the time, take a 30-minute stroll around the nearest park or public garden. The fresh air and physical activity will do wonders for your physical and emotional health.
3. Do nothing.
That’s right, do nothing — for 15 minutes, at least. Nurses face unpredictable events and stressful situations every day, and a popular remedy for alleviating some of that pressure is meditation. Meditation is an age-old technique used for relieving stress and anxiety “Our nursing philosophies are grounded in caring and the interconnectedness of the mind, body, spirit, social/cultural, emotions, relationships, context, and environment,” Aiken says. “All of these aspects combine to create a person; in order to heal the whole person.” A 15-minute investment in personal reflection and meditation can prepare someone to experience hours of peace throughout the day.
4. Get some quality sleep.
When life gets busy, it seems like the first thing to get cut is a good night’s sleep. But the need for restful sleep has a profound effect on your health and work performance. Experts encourage insomnia sufferers to design a routine that prepares your body for rest, make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. If stressful thoughts keep you up at night, the American Nurses Association says to keep a notebook by your bed. If anxiety is keeping you awake, write those feelings down and let them go until morning.
5. Be physically fit.
It’s true that nurses really aren’t short on exercise. But being physically fit means more than just exercising every day. It means being free of muscle strain and soreness. When you feel good, your day goes better. And you are motivated to be more productive with your time. Aiken understands the importance of being physically fit. “We bring in a massage therapist for students and staff every few weeks where they can receive a 15-minute neck and upper back massage,” Aiken said. She added that faculty and staff can participate in weekly yoga sessions, daily group walks, and both students and staff are encouraged to use essential oils to help with stress relief.
The role of a nurse is an integral part of healthcare. And their tips on healthy habits can benefit us long after the celebrating is over.