5 Things You Can Do to Feel More Energized Each Morning

5 Things You Can Do to Feel More Energized Each Morning

Are you tempted to hit the snooze button when your alarm goes off each morning? Do you groan at the thought of starting your workday? If this describes a typical day for you, a few tweaks to your daily routine can help you develop healthy, morning habits to put more pep in your step and help you feel more energized.

1. Try bullet journaling.

These days, this journaling craze seems to be sprawled across the pages of just about every major online site. But what is it, exactly? Bullet journaling mixes your to-do list, events, and notes in a brief format called “rapid logging.” While it takes a bit of time to master the layout and terminology associated with bullet journaling, once you understand it, you’ll find it can be a great resource to track your most important ideas, tasks, and wishes. Bullet journaling for a few minutes a day can help you feel more organized and use your time more efficiently, so there’s less mental effort expended on trying to remember what you need to get accomplished—less mental effort means less time spent stressing out and more time resting or doing activities you enjoy.

2. Never skip breakfast.

You’ve probably advised your patients never to skip breakfast. But when it comes to you, often, it’s easy to prioritize others before yourself. To fuel your body for the day, you need a combination of healthy fats, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber to keep you on your toes. If you’re searching for simple breakfast ideas, check out my piece, Energize Your Mornings with These Gluten-Free Breakfast Ideas.

3. Begin your day with inspiration.

In a demanding job, it’s not difficult to sometimes feel overlooked or unappreciated. As a caregiver, you need to put your oxygen mask on before you tend to others. More specifically, you have to keep your tank full—remain inspired—so you can be effective in helping your patients. Finding inspiration can come in many forms, but the point of searching for it is to encourage your heart. Maybe a brisk, morning walk through nature will refresh you. Or, maybe you’re a spiritual person and a morning devotional is just the thing you need to uplift your spirit. Find your inspiration and make it non-negotiable to include it in your schedule each day.

4. Have a glass of water.

Dehydration can lead to fatigue; so, when you hydrate your body upon rising, you’re more likely to feel energetic. Plus, a well-hydrated body can help you think more clearly. Additionally, if you’re feeling sluggish throughout the day, reach for the H2O. Even mild dehydration can cause you to feel lethargic.

5. Put a morning playlist together.

Music has a way of instantly boosting your mood. Rather than slogging your way through your house as you get ready for work, put together your favorite tunes to feel more energized. Plus, no one will know if you decide to dance around a little while you’re at it. The exhilarating songs will get the blood flowing and do away with the morning grogginess.

5 Tips for Beating Holiday Burnout

5 Tips for Beating Holiday Burnout

Between work, fewer daylight hours, and the fast-approaching holiday season, it’s easy to experience burnout this time of year. If you’re feeling resentful, unfulfilled, exhausted, or bored of your job, these are your body’s warning signs that it’s time to make some changes—fast! Check out the following tips to reduce stress and beat holiday burnout.

1. Take inventory of your work-life balance.

Chances are good your work-life balance has gotten out of whack. When you’re home, are you able to disengage from work? Or, do you find yourself continually thinking about your job even when you’re not there? How’s your sleep, or your exercise regimen? If you’re overly focused on work and neglecting the activities that enhance your life, now is the time to reevaluate how you spend your time. Try shifting your attention to the things that increase your energy and sense of optimism, as opposed to drain or diminish them.

2. Immerse yourself in self-care.

As natural-born caregivers, it’s almost standard practice to put other people’s needs before your own. But if you want to beat burnout, it’s essential you incorporate a variety of strategies to help you unwind, relax, and rest each day. Maybe there’s a novel you’ve been excited to read? Or, perhaps you’ve been craving some time immersed in nature? Find whatever it is that de-stresses you and carve out some time for yourself. If need be, mark it on your calendar, and make these self-care activities non-negotiable. To combat burnout, you must continually recharge your mental, physical, and spiritual battery.

3. Set boundaries and stick to them.

This time of year, it’s almost a given that you’ll be tempted to overextend yourself in some way. But the more depleted you become, the closer you’re inching toward full-blown burnout. Set your boundaries for your work and home life and stick to them, even if you’re concerned you might be letting others down. Simply put, you can’t function well if you’re running on empty or ignoring the parameters you’ve set in place to revive you.

4. If you can take time off, consider doing it.    

Nursing is a 24/7 job, and patients’ health needs don’t stop just because the holidays are approaching. Knowing that others depend on you can create a sense of pressure that makes you feel like you can’t take time off. However, if you have the option to use some of your vacation time, consider doing it. Time away from work will help you feel less overwhelmed and more rejuvenated. Plus, you don’t need to travel if you don’t have the time or money; planning a short staycation might be just the thing you need to rest up.

5. Attend a continuing education class.

If you’re like me, your email inbox is flooded with a list of end-of-the-year sales for continuing education courses. There’s nothing quite like learning a new skill or deepening your understanding of an existing technique to re-invigorate your nursing practice and know that you’re helping your patients to the best of your abilities, and you’re combating burnout in the process!

3 Foam Roller Workouts to Reduce Back Pain

3 Foam Roller Workouts to Reduce Back Pain

Low back pain is a common complaint among many health care professionals. With long hours on your feet, repeated bending, and twisting, it’s no wonder your spine is aching at the end of the day. If you’re looking for a fast, safe way to get some relief, a foam roller might be just the tool you need to release the tight tissues of your body and ease your discomfort.

Plus, foam rollers are reasonably priced and can be found online or at most stores that sell sporting goods. Although they come in different shapes, densities, and sizes, a basic, high-density foam roller is a great place to start to learn some beginning techniques and learn what feels best to you.

Here, I’ve rounded up three videos that will show you how to use a foam roller to reduce or eliminate your back pain.


1. 15-Minute Foam Roller Tutorial for Low Back Pain Relief

In this 15-minute video by YogiApproved.com, the instructor guides you through a variety of exercises that release and mobilize the spine. Verbal cues are given to help deepen the sensation you may feel or to back off if a movement is too intense. What makes this video unique from others is that the instructor combines foundational yoga postures with the foam roller to target hard-to-reach muscles that become taut and contribute to low back pain.

2. 4 TOP Foam Roller Stretches for a Healthy Spine by Bozeman, MT Sports Medicine Specialist

If you’re pressed for time, this short video by Pro Chiropractic showcases four stretches, which will keep your spine healthy by improving mobility and flexibility. Foam rolling lengthens muscles, increases circulation, and delivers nutrients to restricted areas of your body, even when you only have a few minutes to spare. Since these stretches require a minimal time commitment, there’s no excuse not to give your back a little TLC!

3. How To Massage Away Lower Back Pain with Foam Rolling

In this video, foam roller DVD creator, Michaela Sirbu, leads you through a gentle session to remove trigger points and knots in the muscles that support the spine. These exercises are useful for both the novice foam roller user and the expert. A few words of caution when using a foam roller: You don’t need to induce pain to release the tight tissues in your body. Most likely, it took a while for the muscle tension to accumulate, so it’s going to take you a bit of time to dissolve it. Also, don’t hold your breath when performing the stretches. A steady breath will relax your body, reduce stress, and optimize the benefits of the foam roller.

5 Life Hacks to Burn 100 Calories a Day

5 Life Hacks to Burn 100 Calories a Day

Be a better nurse. Sleep more. Eat healthier. Exercise each day. Try this new diet.

If you’re like most nurses, you see and hear these messages every day. But some days, you just can’t fit in all the necessary self-care tips you’re supposed to incorporate into your life. Maybe you find a way to get more sleep, but it’s at the expense of exercising. Or, to be a better nurse, perhaps you’re spending less time on healthy eating, so you have more time with your patients.

Are there some lifestyle hacks to burn calories and fit more fitness into your life without a lot of hassle?

Yes, there is! In this article, I discuss five ways to burn 100 calories a day without adding more stress to your life or rearranging your schedule to accommodate huge chunks of time. With these simple strategies, you don’t have to head to the gym for extra calorie-burning.

1. Take the stairs.

You likely have several opportunities throughout the day to take the stairs (as opposed to waiting in line for the elevator). Since the stairs are often readily available to you, they’re easy to incorporate into your daily routine with next to no additional time spent. If you take the stairs for a minimum of 10 minutes per day (provided you keep a consistent pace when you’re moving), you’ll burn right around 100 calories.

2. Chuckle out loud.

In 2005, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that 10-15 minutes of belly laughter a day could burn up to 50 calories. If you spread that belly laughter our during your shift, you’ll not only burn 100 calories, but you’ll boost your mood and smile your way through the day in the process.

3. Pick up your walking pace while at work.

For those of you who track your steps with an app or device, a brisk, one-mile walk will burn approximately 100 calories. Although your typical day probably consists of several starts, stops, and periods of sitting down, pick up the pace in locations where you have a longer jaunt (like from the parking lot to the building, down long hallways, through the cafeteria, and more). This way, you’ll sneak in exercise while on duty.

4. Stand whenever possible.

An article from Shape magazine suggests standing, as opposed to sitting, for a minimum of 40 minutes per day to burn 100 calories. Also, the article mentions you don’t have to stand for 40 consecutive minutes—You can break it up into four 10-minute segments, which might be more suitable in a busy setting.

5. Cook dinner for yourself and your family.

Shredding, chopping, dicing, and cleaning up your culinary endeavors will give your metabolism a jolt even before you eat. Depending on how vigorously you cook, 40-50 minutes of cooking prep is sufficient to hit the 100-calorie mark (and maybe more).

Over time, the calories burned by making these small changes will add up. It can’t get much easier than this to torch calories.


Get in the Fall Spirit with 10 Inspiring Quotes

Get in the Fall Spirit with 10 Inspiring Quotes

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.
~ Rumi

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.
~ Enya

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.
~ Unknown

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

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