If you know anything about me at all, you know that I absolutely LOVE yoga (its a little obsessive actually).
And as you also know, I really love to write about how to help nurses take better care of themselves.
Which is why I was so excited to write a guest post for a travel nursing blog titled 3 Very Important Reasons Why Travel Nurses Need Yoga. (Please check it out here!).
Travel nurses have a lot on their plate! They take travel assignments in cities where they’ve never even been and then work in different units with entirely new staff. And then when they finally think they have everything figured out their assignment ends and they go someplace else!
On top of that they also have the physical and mental stress that comes with working 12 hours shifts.
Travel nurses need yoga.
By taking care of ourselves we are able to replenish our reserves and take better care of our patients and families. There is an endless amount of studies on yoga and its amazing benefits on physical and mental health.
As nurses, we need to practice what we preach and help lead our patients by example. Why should our patients take better care of themselves both physically and mentally if we are not doing it ourselves?
My Yoga Props Essentials:
I love this mat because it doesn’t get slippery once I start getting sweaty during a yoga practice. It is a thicker, more durable mat with a great chakra design.
Cork yoga blocks are the best. I love these blocks because they are durable and have a really good grip. They can assist with alignment and help you get deeper into many yoga poses.
These are amazing for restorative chest opening poses! I have 2 of these in blue and purple. I use them all the time to help me wind down after nursing shifts. I also love using the booster to put my hips and legs up the wall after being on my feet for a twelve hour shift!
This post may contain affiliate links. My disclosure page is really boring, but you can find it here.
So you finally got (or are thinking about getting) the Young Living essential oils starter kit.
Congratulations! You are in for a wonderful treat!
But first thing’s first. What do you do with your kit once it arrives?
With a little practice you will get really good with your oils and will discover your own style. But to get you moving in the right direction here is your 10 day essential oils starter guide challenge!
Education is Important!
The best way to learn how to use your oils is to try something new everyday. If you purchased your starter kit through my blog you automatically became a part of our exclusive Facebook Group “The Oil Spill.” This is a great resource to connect with people who have been using oils for many years and can share a lot of helpful information.
I am a registered nurse and I was introduced to essential oils through an Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program to use as a part of patient care at my hospital. That was over 3 years ago and I have loved using essential oils for myself and my family ever since!
(If you don’t have a Young Living essential oils starter kit, but you really, really want one you are in luck! You can order the starter kit here.)
So join us! But in the meantime, here is a little something to get you on your way. (But beware, if you don’t have a starter kit now, this is really going to tempt you to get one. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!)
Ten day Essentials Oils Starter Guide:
Welcome to your essential oil starter guide challenge! Young Living essential oil starter kit.
Day 1: Peaceful
Diffuse: 3 Lavender + 3 Stress Away.
Try an epsom salt soak by adding 3-4 drops of lavender with 1 cup epsom salts to your bath before bed.
Day 2: Immune Boost
Diffuse: 3 Thieves + 3 Lemon
Add 2 drops Thieves and 4 drops Lemon to your tea for an immunity boost. Add 1-2 drops of Lemon to your glass of water.
Day 3: Happy Day
Diffuse: 3 Peppermint + 3 Frankincense
Make a Peppermint and Frankincense oil roller (with fractionated coconut oil). The Peppermint will open the senses with its strong aroma and the Frankincense helps the mind be calm, composed and centered. Perfect for helping you stay awake and alert at work!
Day 4: Perk Up!
Diffuse: 3 Peppermint + 3 Lemon
Rub a drop of peppermint on the back of your neck when you wake up or before a workout. Or inhale deeply before a yoga session or meditation (my favorite!).
Day 5: Health Wellness
Diffuse: 2 Lavender + 2 Peppermint + 2 Lemon
Try the NingXia Red sample packet with a drop of Lemon (served chilled). Feeling congested? Apply Raven to your chest. Digestive system a mess? Try DiGize and Peppermint around your navel.
Day 6: Pain Free
Diffuse: 3 Raven + 2 Lemon + 2 Copaiba
Sore and strained muscles? Mix A few drops of carrier oil in your palms with Panaway. Rub it on your sore spots (neck, back, shoulders, etc.) Add Copaiba and Peppermint for added relief.
Day 7: Sleep Tight
Diffuse: 3 Lavender + 3 Stress Away
Rub lavender and Stress Away on the back of your neck.
Day 8: So Fresh & So Clean
Diffuse: 3 Citrus Fresh + 3 Lemon
Use the sample thieves cleaner packet to make a bottle of all natural cleaner to use on absolutely everything! Add it to an empty 16 ounce spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Add a couple drops of Citrus Fresh for an added cleaning boost and great smell! Use Lemon to get off any sticky residues or add to your dishwasher for a streak free shine.
Take the essential oil starter guide challenge! Young Living essential oil starter kit.
Day 9: Breathe Free
Diffuse: 3 Thieves + 2 Raven
Add a few drops of Raven and Peppermint to the bottom of the shower and breathe in deeply.
Day 10: Unwind
Diffuse: 3 Stress Away + 2 Peppermint
In a small glass bowl combine two drops each of Lemon, Lavender, and Frankincense with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Apply to your entire face. Let it soak in for a minute or two and then wipe off with a cotton pad or washcloth. Lemon helps with sunspots, Lavender soothes the skin and Frankincense is great for fine lines.
“That was amazing! But what do I do after I finish the 10 day starter guide challenge?”
Don’t worry, the love doesn’t stop there! There are literally thousands of uses and combinations you can use. Like I said earlier, if you purchase a starter kit with me here, then you automatically become a member of our exclusive Facebook group “The Oil Spill.” It is a friendly group of women with a whole bunch of essential oil knowledge who discuss recipes and ideas everyday and share the latest news about Young Living essential oils.
Another great essential oil reference that I have been using for years is the Life Science Essential Oils Pocket Reference 7th Edition (this is the most recent version): This book is a GREAT tool for learning about essential oils. It contains information regarding the history of essential oils, how they work, essential oil safety, techniques, how to make blends, and single oil data. It is basically a bible for essential oil lovers.
Welcome to the world of essential oils. Be well and thrive!
Do you have any questions about Young Living essential oils? What are your thoughts? I would love to hear!
I am crazy, deeply, madly in LOVE with essential oils.
There, I finally said it. My love for essential oils is officially out of the closet!
My oily love story began almost three years ago when I participated in an Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) program at my hospital (where I work an a ER/med surg resource nurse).
The 3 month, intensive program was designed for nurses to learn how to treat patients from a more holistic approach by combining both eastern and western therapies (including essential oil therapy, Reiki, yoga movements, and guided meditation).
I didn’t know much about essential oils at the time (except that they smelled amazing!). Fortunately, I was given a Young Living essential oils kit in the program to practice with on patients and my colleges in the program.
Since then, the results I have seen using essential oils with patients has been incredible. I have been able to help patients with essential oils for nausea, anxiety, fatigue and even pain. In some cases we were even able to reduce some of their medications such as anti-nausea medications or other narcotics. Our hospital even has 6 of the Young Living essential oils stocked on most of the units to use for patients.
As a nurse, I learned about essential oils as a way to treat my patients more holistically.
The healthcare paradigm is changing.
This makes me so happy. I love it when my patients take responsibility for their own health. My ideology around patient care has forever changed, as it has for many doctors and other professionals in the health care system.
My goal with essential oils is to live a more toxin and chemical free lifestyle and use products that I trust are actually safe for my family. I am able to make so many easy DIY products and I love it because I know exactly what goes into them.
8 Reason Why I Love Using Essential Oils. (And why you should too!)
8 Top Reasons Why I love Essential Oils:
#1. I believe in evidence based care.
I am a registered nurse at a large teaching facility in Los Angeles. Everything we do in the hospital has to be evidence based. In other words, if it hasn’t been proven to work in literature, then we don’t use it. That is the gold standard!
Essential oils are not junk science. Not only have they been used for over 4500 years, they have been widely studied and documented in medical literature to be effective and useful for treatments for a multitude of ailments. (You do need to make sure you are using oils from a reputable company which is why I use Young Living Essential Oils- you can read about their seed-to-seal process here).
PubMed is full of studies on essential oils. For example, there are over 2000 research studies on lavender alone (one of my favorites!). Peppermint has over 1200 published studies. (PubMed is a search engine for research studies, please visit if you would like to read any essential oil studies firsthand).
Essential oils have been used as part of a holistic approach to healthcare in many US healthcare institutions in recent years. In the hospital where I work I have been able to help my own patients using ginger for nausea and lavender for anxiety. In some cases we have been able to reduce some of the patient’s medications. We keep it stocked in the Pyxis along with all of the other medications we give our patients.
#2. I can clean my home with chemical and toxin free products.
I have to admit, when I was told I could make my own toilet cleaner, bathroom tile scrub, floor cleaner and surface cleaner using thieves essential oil, I was pretty skeptical. So one Saturday afternoon I made my own DIY cleaners and put them to the test. Guess what? They actually worked better than some of my store bought products!
The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization focused on environment and public health, recently came out with their “Cleaners Hall Of Shame” List. Many common store bought cleaners contain carcinogens, asthma instigators, poisons and cancer causing ingredients.
As the mother of a two-year-old and a newborn, I want to keep as many toxic chemicals out f my house as possible! I don’t need them getting their cute little hands on them and then putting them in their mouths.
#3. I can make my own non-toxic perfumes.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has found that one-third of the substances used in the fragrance industry are toxic. But because the chemical formulas of fragrances are considered trade secrets, companies aren’t required to list their ingredients but merely label them as containing “fragrance.”
I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty scary! Fortunately now I am able to make my own DIY perfumes with vanilla, rose, geranium and jasmine essential oils at home (as an added bonus, my husband loves them).
#4. I save money by DIYing my lotions, face wash and body scrub.
When I was is nursing school I quit using my expensive face creams and body lotions in place of coconut oil to save money. In fact, I used almost nothing but coconut oil on my skin for almost 6 years. Not only did I save a ton of money but I realized that using home products can be as good as many expensive store bought products.
I have become a little “fancier” in recent years. But all the good quality, organic products are so expensive! I could easily spend $75-$100s for one jar of eye cream alone.
Now I am able to make my own eye cream, lotion, face wash and body scrub with essential oils and I feel like I am using the same organic, expensive products I would buy at a spa. (My absolute favorite is my body scrub: 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup sugar, 5 drops lavender and 5 drops frankincense. Ahhhh, heavenly!).
When I started adding a drop of frankincense to my face lotion every morning and night I notice a noticeable improvement in my skin texture within two weeks. And my skin smells delightful to boot!
#5. My home always smells amazing.
Diffusing essential oils is one of the easiest ways to discover all the benefits of aromatherapy, which can include:
- neutralizing odors
- inspiring a positive emotional state
- supporting your physical wellness
Diffusing essential oils throughout my home helps me to reduce my stress and relax a little. With two small babies, a nursing career and a busy life I can get a little overwhelmed sometimes (don’t we all?). Diffusing essential oils is how I try to chill out when I don’t have the time to actually sit still and relax. I enjoy having the ability to make my home a working sanctuary.
There are so many essential oil blends to make. My go-to right now is called “Gentle Baby.” Six drops in my difuser and my life instantly becomes a sweeter place (my blood pressure is lowering just thinking about it).
Difusing lavender essential oil during a yoga practice is a divine treat!
#6. Great for beauty treatments on the skin.
The skin is an amazing organ. It has the ability to protect us from the outside world… to an extent. Pretty much everything you put on your skin can seep right through and into your bloodstream. Including many dangerous chemicals and preservatives in skin products that can cause inflammation and worse. But if you are using natural skin care, including homemade skin products made with essential oils then you know you aren’t inviting these nasty ingredients into your body.
Remember how I said I am all about evidence-based care? Well, there have been a ton of studies showing that essential oils like lavender and frankincense are wonderful for the skin by reducing inflammation, helping with wrinkles, and even chronic wound healing. You can read for yourself here, or here, or even here.
#7. I can enhance many of my recipes.
Adding essential oils to food and drinks are a simple way to incorporate antioxidants into my life. It is very important to check oil bottles for the supplement facts label to know which oils can be ingested. Essential oils are very potent so you’ll need a lot less than dried herbs. Depending on the recipe, usually a drop is plenty.
Here is an easy one to start with: add a drop of lime to your sparkling water (or beer!)
My favorite: 3 drops of lemon in my loaded veggie bean salad dish!
#8. Great for stress relieving activities
Have a meditation or yoga practice? Adding essential oils in a no-brainer. Essential oils are perfect adjunct to yoga, meditation, reflexology massage or just trying to relax. I love adding aromatherapy to my yoga practice. Added bonus: yoga is so good for you, especially if you have a stressful job or are an ER nurse, like me!
Interested in trying Young Living essential oils?
(You can purchase a Young Living Starter Kit Here. By ordering a starter kit of Young Living essential oils you automatically become a part of our exclusive Facebook group “The Oil Spill” where we discuss various recipes and uses for essential oils and offer support for oil users.)
Food for thought
Consider a new way of treating yourself and your family. Take a look at some of to toxins you are bringing into your body and your home.
Review the ingredients of the products you put on your face and body. Do you know what they mean? Can you even pronounce them? Are you blindly trusting them to be both effective and safe?
Treat your body like a temple. Fill it with vital nutrients and antioxidants. Give it some tender love.
You will be less likely you are to wind up as one of my patients, which is a very good thing!
Have you thought about using essential oils? What are your thoughts? Please let me know if you are interested in or have any questions about essential oils. I would love to help you get started!
(This post may contain affiliate links. My disclosure page is super boring but you can find it here.)
Many nurses are very good at encouraging patients to follow a regular exercise routine and at teaching ways to manage stress for optimal health. Taking their own advice about healthy lifestyle behaviors though, well, not so much.
As an emergency room nurse who has worked as a resource nurse on various units all over the hospital, I see first hand the outstanding care that is being given to our patients. The nurses I work with bend over backwards. At times they even risk their own health and safety to care for total strangers.
The work can be back-breaking, literally. Most days are very physically demanding with little rest. Over time, the work is depleting to an RN. Sometimes even resulting in permanent injuries (hello, chronic back pain!), extreme burnout or even depression.
How much work does it take to be a nurse?
Being a nurse in the hospital demands a lot on the body. The job often requires moving non-stop for grueling 12 hours shifts (or longer). It can include lifting and turning patients several times throughout the day. In addition to physical stress, nurses are often multitasking multiple patients with unique medical issues and making clinical decisions in potentially life-threatening situations.
Yoga can help nurses take better care of themselves.
To say that being a nurse causes wear-and-tear on the body is an understatement. As a result of years of heavy lifting many RN’s are suffering from chronic back problems. I know several who have had to go out on disability and sadly still suffer from permanent chronic back pain.
In nursing school we are taught “proper body mechanics” that are supposed to prevent back injuries while moving, lifting or turning patients. Recently however, there is new evidence suggesting that their really is no safe way for nurses to lift patients.
In addition, being a nurse often requires walking up to 15,000 steps or more in a single shift. A study found in the National Library of Medicine reported that many nurses walk up to five miles in an average 10 hour shift. However, in the Emergency Room and on many other units, I would argue that we actually walk much more then that. In fact, I wear a pedometer at work and I have logged up to 35,000 or more steps in a single day. That is the equivalent of walking 14 miles in a single shift!
The emotional and physiological drain of being a nurse can be overwhelming.
Being in the hospital is stressful. As a result, sometimes patients or families take their stress out on the people they are in contact with the most: the nurses. Yet it is our job to remain compassionate and continue to advocate for our patients in spite of this.
Burnout in the profession is common. Even I have questioned my decision to become a nurse for this reason on a few different occasions. I’ve tried to explain to friends and family how incredibly complex and stressful being a registered nurse can be. I think it is just one of those things that you really can’t understand unless you experience it for yourself.
All venting aside, I’m not going to run off and chance careers, or encourage anyone from not becoming a registered nurse. I derive an immense amount of pride and passion for what I do. I also enjoy working with intelligent people who have the same drive for helping people that I do.
It is, however, not a career for wimps.
Nurses need to practice yoga.
There are so many physical and mental benefits to practicing yoga regularly.
Nurses need to make self-care a priority. Not only does self-care result in better overall patient care, but ultimately it replenishes our depleted reserves. Yoga helps us take better care of ourselves and our families.
There is an endless amount of studies on yoga and its amazing benefits on physical and mental health. The Mayo clinic has stated that “yoga may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate” among many other benefits.
For the purpose of this article I am focusing on three of the biggest nurse health related issues. But don’t be mistaken, there several more benefits then I am not mentioning here.
Benefits of yoga for nurses:
As I mentioned earlier, nurses have a high workload in many hospital wards. The stress is compounded by managing patient healthcare needs and treatments, daily occupational stressors and even the many frequent changes in technology.
A study published in the National Institute of Biotechnology Information investigated the effects of yoga on stress coping strategies of ICU nurses. After only 8 weeks of yoga the results showed that the participating ICU nurses had significantly better focus coping strategies and a major reduction in perceived mental pressure. If that is what can happen after only 8 weeks, imagine the impact a regular, permanent yoga practice could have on stress management levels.
Prevent or eliminate chronic low back pain
Chronic back pain in the nursing population is a common ailment. An evidenced based review at the Texas Women’s University reported that estimates of chronic low back pain among nurses range from 50%-80%. Fortunately, the review also presented an overwhelming amount of studies that found that regular yoga significantly reduced symptoms associated with chronic low back pain and greatly improved overall physicality.
Yoga stretching not only increases flexibly, but increases muscle strength and prevents injuries such as chronic lower back pain. In a career as physically demanding as nursing, the more physically stable we are, the better care we can give to ourselves and our patients.
Prevent burnout and compassion fatigue
Urban Zen Integrative Therapy Program training at UCLA Medical Center. Nurses are learning how to integrate holistic healthcare like yoga with traditional medicine.
Lack of self-care can easily result in burnout and compassion fatigue in the nursing profession. As much as I hate to admit it, even I have questioned how long I can continue with the immense workload and emotional drain that is required of me as a nurse. Thankfully, I have found a productive way to manage this is through yoga and meditation.
A study published in Workplace Health & Safety on yoga for self-care and burnout prevention of nurses found that yoga participants “reported significantly higher self-care as well as less emotional exhaustion upon completion of an 8-week yoga intervention.” While the control group demonstrated no change throughout the course of the study, the yoga group showed a significant improvement in scores for self-care, mindfulness, and emotional exhaustion outcomes.
Yoga is good for you!
Yoga is a productive way to prevent some of the most common health ailments among nurses. Empowering nurses in self-care helps to create a happier, healthier and more productive work environment.
For better or worse, nurses serve as role models in the healthcare community. We need to practice what we preach. Why would a patient listen to our advice on how to life a healthy life if we are not living one ourselves?
Sarah, Mother Nurse Love
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