Straight From Our Nurses: How to Stay Healthy

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Staying healthy isn't just about eating your vegetables. Its also about juggling work and family life while taking time out for yourself. But if anyone knows how to make health a priority, its those whose jobs involve caring for others.

So, we asked Ciara Lopez, RN, Bariatric care coordinator (pictured in photo, on left), Marissa McFadden, RN, Intensive Care Unit (pictured in photo, on right), Erica Corcoran, RN, Gastrointestinal care coordinator, and Sherry Joyce, RN, Pediatric Surgery, from across AdventHealth, to give us a peek into their stay-healthy secrets.

Get Outdoors

One of the newest things I've started doing is running, says Lopez. Its something that really helps me to relieve stress and something I can do anywhere. If I'm pressed for time I tell myself I can run a mile in less than 15 minutes. If I don't have time, I'll go for a short run instead. Its really helped me to focus on myself.

Something else that helps me is being outside, she adds. I like to go to the beach on my days off. Just being in the fresh air and listening to the waves helps me to de-stress and not think about work or other obligations.

McFadden echoes that and says spending time in nature, whether it be hiking, kayaking or just being outside can really improve your health and well-being.

Lopez also recommends taking up a hobby like reading, cooking or sewing to free your mind from the burden of stress and deadlines.

Get Enough ZZZZs

Sleep is equally important when it comes to feeling your best and managing stress and tension, she says. When you don't get enough sleep, your emotions and hormones are not as well regulated and little stressors become much bigger.

Nourish Your Body

When you wake up in the morning, Erica Corcoran suggests starting with a healthy meal. It gives you energy, and I find that whatever I have for breakfast will dictate if I continue to eat healthy or grab junk food throughout the day.

When it comes to nutrition, as you get away from processed foods and you feed your body properly, your mind becomes clearer, adds Lopez.

I like to know what is in my food, so I tend to pack my lunch, says McFadden. I also use a holistic approach to health. I use essential oils, take vitamins and make shakes each day that include veggies, flax seed and protein. I also try to eat a clove of garlic at night because it has many medicinal properties and aids in digestion.

Be Mindful

It can be stressful working in the ICU, so I try to maintain a healthy balance by traveling on my time off, explains McFadden. This allows me to see the world while clearing my mind. I strive to always "Live in the moment" and be mindful with what my body's trying to tell me in order to live happy. When I return to work after a trip I'm so much more focused and dedicated to my job and my patients.

Laugh

Laugh, as much as possible, Corcoran adds. I really try hard to tell those I care about, both personally and professionally, that I value them. It feels good to make people smile and you never know what they are going through; you could make their day too.

My coworkers always ask me "How is it that you're always smiling?," says McFadden, and I have to respond with "You never know whose day you could make just with a simple smile."

Set Goals

I think it's important to have goals so you can stay on track, says Joyce. For example, staying healthy and exercising is something we preach at home to our kids. So, we as a family have signed up for a marathon weekend every year since 2005. My son is only 13 but has done it for 12 years now and my 11-year-old for 9 years. Signing up 9 months ahead gives us that goal to work toward all year. 

I try to sign up for numerous races throughout the year to keep up the momentum, she says. Its also a mini vacation we take, which is so important. We must take the time to refuel and rest.

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