As the days get shorter and the temperatures gradually decrease, it’s evident the colder months of fall are upon us in many parts of the country. Soon, you’ll be carving pumpkins with your kids or attending holiday gatherings, and your work may add to the stress of your busy life.
As we watch the leaves change colors and drop from the trees, we’re reminded of ups and downs this year has brought. Maybe you finally got the promotion you’ve always wanted. Or, maybe you had to deal with an unexpected family or health issue. Perhaps, a combination of less daylight and long shifts have you feeling burnt out. Whatever the case, the change in seasons often brings about a time of reflection over the past months.
If you’re looking for ways to stay motivated during the colder months, grab your favorite, warm beverage, a cozy blanket, and curl up with these inspiring, fall quotes:
1. In the entire circle of the year, there are no days so delightful as those of a fine October, when the trees are bare to the mild heavens, and the red leaves bestrew the road, and you can feel the breath of winter, morning and evening—no days so calm, so tenderly solemn, and with such a reverent meekness in the air.
~ Alexander Smith
2. I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
3. How beautifully leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.
~ John Burroughs
4. The garden of love is green without limit and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy. Love is beyond either condition: without spring, without autumn, it is always fresh.
5. The spring, summer, is quite a hectic time for people in their lives, but then it comes to autumn, and to winter, and you can’t but help think back to the year that was, and then hopefully looking forward to the year that is approaching.
6. Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.
~ Lauren DeStefano
7. I’ve never known anyone yet who doesn’t suffer a certain restlessness when autumn rolls around… We’re all eight years old again, and anything is possible.
~ Sue Grafton
8. Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.
9. Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.
~ Stanley H. Horowitz
10. Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.
~ Shira Tamir
You’ve heard about the benefits of having a strong core to protect your back while you work. But what exercises are you supposed to be doing? The Pilates repertoire, consisting of hundreds of exercises, focuses on strengthening the muscles of the abdomen, back, pelvic floor, and buttocks while lengthening and toning your entire body. Best of all, you don’t have to do endless crutches to achieve results!
When doing Pilates, the quality of the movement is more important than the number of repetitions you perform; it’s more beneficial for you to complete six reps with perfect form than 25 messy ones. Your technique is the foundation for seeing and feeling results.
Additionally, Pilates can be customized to meet your particular fitness level, so it’s ideal for people who are athletes, people who are new to exercise, and everyone in between. If you’re looking for a low-impact way to strengthen your core, grab a mat and check out the following exercises.
1. Plank Pose
Begin on your hands and knees. Your shoulders should be directly over your wrists, while your head maintains a neutral position (you can achieve this by shifting your gaze to the floor about one foot in front of you).
Next, straighten one leg behind you so your toes are on the ground and your thigh is lifted off of the mat. Then, walk the other leg out behind you the same way. Now, you’re in a plank position. Try to hold this pose for five to eight breaths. Slowly, bring your knees back to the mat and rest.
If you find this pose easy, concentrate on details like drawing your abdominals inward, aligning your head with your spine, and bringing your feet shoulder-width apart.
If this pose is challenging for you, you can modify it by dropping down to your knees. Even if you are on your knees, try to draw your abdominals towards your spine, keep your shoulders over your wrists, and keep your head in proper alignment. If possible, hold for five to eight breaths. With practice, you’ll gain the strength to do the full pose.
2. Rolling Like a Ball
Sit on your mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your arms on the underside of your thighs or around your knees and draw your abdominals towards your spine. Fix your eyes on your scooped belly, but don’t crunch your neck—Imagine lengthening your neck as you bend it. Inhale as you rock back to your shoulder blades, and exhale as you rock up to a seated position. Repeat this motion six times.
If this exercise is simple for you, fix your eyes on your belly throughout the whole movement. When you rock back up to the seated position, use your abdominals to control the motion and don’t let your toes touch the mat.
If this exercise is too difficult, you can lie on your back and practice rocking in a smaller range of motion. When you get stronger, you can increase the difficulty by drawing your abdominals towards your spine and focusing on your belly. Soon, you’ll be ready to try the full exercise.
3. Cobra Pose
Lie on your stomach with your arms bent at 90-degree angles by your shoulders, your legs hip-width apart, and your forehead resting on the mat. The tops of your toes should rest on the mat as well.
Next, scoop your abdominals towards your spine to support your low back, and slide your shoulder blades away from your ears. Inhale to initiate the movement of your head like you’re rolling a marble out with your nose. When your head is in line with your spine, engage your back muscles and lift your chest and palms off the floor as well. Exhale as you lower back down to the mat. Repeat six times.
If you’re familiar with this pose, make sure your shoulder blades aren’t creeping up towards your ears and continue to scoop your stomach towards the spine. Although this movement is small, it’s powerful if you activate the appropriate muscles.
If this pose is hard for you, keep your palms on the mat and use them to assist you as you lift up your chest. When you’re ready, you can add in the rest of the elements of this exercise.
Pilates is an effective way to build functional, core strength. If you’re struggling with any aspect of this practice, consider attending a group class or taking a few sessions with a certified Pilates instructor to improve your form and body awareness.
According to the American Nurses Association, a healthy nurse is “one who actively focuses on creating and maintaining a balance and synergy of physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, personal and professional wellbeing. A healthy nurse lives life to the fullest capacity.”
Why do I bring this up? Because time away from work to recharge your internal battery is one of the best ways to re-energize your ability to help people. Maybe the high cost of summer travel for you and your family didn’t allow you the opportunity to take a vacation during the summer months. Or, perhaps you’re the type of person who doesn’t use your paid time off. If this is the case, you still have plenty of time to consider an autumn get-a-way to recalibrate your work-life balance. After all, there are many perks of traveling in the fall, and it’s undeniably one of the most beautiful times of the year for an excursion.
Here are five reasons to leave work behind, channel your inner wanderlust, and take a trip this season.
1. The weather is perfect.
There’s no waiting in long lines or walking around in the sweltering heat this time of year. In fact, temperatures aren’t too hot or too cold, and they allow for a more comfortable exploration of a new city. Pack up some flannel shirts, a puffy vest, and your preferred walking shoes and get moving!
2. Travel in the fall is considered “off-season,” which usually means lower prices.
According to a 2017 article from Business Insider, “For travelers on a budget, fall is one of the cheapest times of the year to travel. Technically the ‘off-season,’ both airfare and hotels are generally cheaper in the fall than in the summer or during the holidays.”
3. The sightseeing lines are shorter than during the summer.
With children back in school and parents back to work, many of the lines at your desired travel destination will be smaller. Whether you travel alone or with your family, fewer lines and shorter wait times mean you get to see and experience more than if you took your vacation during peak months of the year.
4. You’re more likely to find tickets to popular attractions.
With fewer tourist crowds, you’ll probably have an easier time scoring tickets to your favorite festivals, musicals, museum exhibitions, dining spots, or other entertainment. Been dying to see Hamilton? Now might be your chance! (There’s still tickets available. I checked!)
5. The fall foliage is breathtaking.
We can’t talk about autumn travels without mentioning the brilliant spectrum of colors you’ll encounter. With vibrant rusts, reds, yellows, and oranges, you’ll have fantastic views at every turn. If you choose to go camping or stay in a cabin, you’ll immerse yourself in the rejuvenating sights and sounds of nature on dazzling fall days.
Carpal tunnel syndrome. Low back pain. Shoulder pain. These are just a few of the common, pain-related complaints in all areas of health care. Sometimes, no matter what you try, you can’t find relief with a conservative treatment approach. In this article, I list a few lesser known approaches to ways to manage chronic ailments in the hopes that you can find the necessary tools to work and live free of physical discomfort.
1. Active Release Techniques (ART)
Over 30 years ago, chiropractor Dr. P. Michael Leahy, began ART as a way to correct soft tissue disorders in elite athletes. Before becoming a chiropractor, Leahy was an engineer in the air force. He combined his particular background to develop a therapeutic system of movements to correct musculoskeletal problems associated with the overuse of muscles—problems like back pain, neck pain, and sciatica—which are so prevalent in the nursing community.
According to the website, it’s a “patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART.”
If persistent pain is affecting your job and your life, ART may be an innovative option to bring your body into balance. Practitioners are located throughout the world and consist of licensed health care providers or massage therapists. To find a practitioner in your area, click here.
2. Anatomy Trains
Created in the 1990’s by author and bodyworker Thomas Myers, Anatomy Trains treats the interconnectedness of the fascial and myofascial tissues throughout the whole body. This holistic approach allows practitioners to understand the relationship between postural stability, coordination, and muscle restrictions and their impact on a person’s movement.
“We look for those places or patterns that have imposed limitations on the person’s movement and work to lift them off. How can we ‘lighten the load’ people impose on themselves? What is revealed is not some robotic ‘perfect posture’ but a return to the person’s original intent, less hobbled by the slings and arrows they have encountered,” says Myers on the website.
If you experience pain every time you do a certain movement, such as leaning over a bed to position a patient from one side to the other, then you might benefit from a practitioner certified in Anatomy Trains to break your current movement patterns and assist your body with creating new ones. Practitioners include health care providers, massage therapists, and mind-body exercise instructors (like Pilates, yoga, and Tai Chi). To locate a practitioner, click here.
3. Feldenkrais Method
The Feldenkrais Method was created by Moshe Feldenkrais, an Israeli physicist and engineer, after an old knee injury flared up. Doctors told him he needed surgery for the injury, but instead, he chose to analyze his movement patterns, and he learned to walk pain-free. This method employs physics, biomechanics, and observation to help a person move with less tension and greater ease. Feldenkrais taught his first training course in 1969.
As stated on the website, “The Feldenkrais Method of somatic education uses gentle movement and directed attention to help people learn new and more effective ways of living the life they want. You can increase your ease and range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement.”
Who may be a good candidate for this therapy? Anyone who’s seeking pain relief or battling conditions of the central nervous system. While practitioners come from a wide range of backgrounds, they all must complete 160 days of training over a minimum of 3 years, to obtain eligibility to become certified by the Feldenkrais Guild of North America. To find a Feldenkrais practitioner in your area, click here.
Please note: When one of these therapies is administered by a licensed health care provider, some insurances may cover the cost of these services.
Whether you’re gluten-free due to health reasons or you’re just trying it out to see if you feel more energized during the day, finding quick and tasty breakfast ideas can pose a big challenge for nurses. There are some mornings (or all mornings) where the hustle and bustle of getting ready for work leaves you with mere minutes to eat before you have to fly out the door. Instead of reaching for a bowl of cereal, or worse, skipping breakfast altogether, try these nutrient-dense, gluten-free options to power up so you can give your most energized self to your patients during the day.
1. Gluten-Free Toast with Avocado and a Fried Egg
Who doesn’t love avocado toast? Mash half an avocado, squeeze in juice from half a lime and add in a dash of sea salt to taste. Smash ingredients together with your fork. Spread your avocado mash onto two toasted, gluten-free slices of bread. Top each slice of toast with a fried egg and sprinkle with a little more sea salt, ground pepper, and red pepper flakes as desired. This healthy fat and protein combination will keep you feeling full until your next snack or meal.
2. Maca Root and Nut Butter Smoothie
Smoothies are a great way to make a lightning fast breakfast. This creamy drink will help you forget you’re trying to eat healthier. In a high-powered blender, blend 1 cup of plant-based milk (like flax or hemp) or nut milk (like almond or cashew), 1 small banana, 2 tablespoons of the nut butter of your choice, and 1 teaspoon of maca root powder. Pour into a glass and drink. Maca root powder is known as a superfood and is loaded with essential amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Want to make your smoothie even more decadent? Add in two tablespoons of the powerful antioxidant, raw cacao powder. On its own, raw cacao is very bitter. But, when mixed with the natural sugars from the banana and the creaminess of the nut butter, raw cacao creates a nutritious, chocolatey beverage.
3. Spinach and Feta Cheese Scramble
If you have a few minutes to spare, this omelet provides you with protein, b vitamins, magnesium, iron, and more to energize your body. Sauté a cup of spinach, add 2 eggs, and ¼ cup of feta cheese. Scramble the mixture until it’s cooked through and dig in. To increase the nutrient profile of this breakfast, serve it with a mixed green side salad drizzled with an all-natural, balsamic vinaigrette.
4. Chocolate-Chia Pudding with Strawberries
If you usually eat oatmeal for breakfast, give the first meal of the day a refresh by trying this chia pudding. Chia seeds are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, and minerals. Best of all, this dish requires little to no prep time. For ingredients, you’ll need an unsweetened nut milk of your choice, vanilla extract, chia seeds, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and fresh strawberries. In a bowl, combine 1 cup of nut milk, 3 tablespoons of chia seeds, 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of cocoa powder, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract, and maple syrup to taste. Stir the ingredients thoroughly, cover the bowl, and place in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove the pudding, add in some sliced strawberries, mix it up, and enjoy!