7 Quick And Easy Workouts For Busy Nurses

7 Quick And Easy Workouts For Busy Nurses

This post for helping nurses find new quick and easy workouts that they can fit into even the busiest schedule.

Nurses know more then anyone that there are so many benefits to exercise.  It helps our minds, bodies and souls because it:

  • Helps to control weight
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Manages blood sugar and insulin levels
  • Improves your mental health and mood
  • Strengthens your bones and muscles
  • Improves your sleep
  • And most importantly, it releases hormones that make you feel good!

But as a busy nurse, it can be so hard to find time to exercise, especially since the average workout class lasts about 60 minutes.

The good news is that there are lots of workouts that can easily be done at home on your own time whenever you have a few free minutes. Below are seven ideas that will help you squeeze in a quick & effective workout with minimal equipment and time.

So, take off your scrubs, put on your workout clothes and get moving!

7 Quick And Easy Workouts For Busy Nurses

7 Quick And Easy Workouts For Busy Nurses

Here are 7 quick and easy workouts for nurses to fit into their busy schedules:

Bodyweight Exercises

Think you must to get to the gym and lift weights for an hour to get stronger? Think again!  As the name implies, bodyweight exercises use your bodyweight to build strength, no equipment necessary. Bodyweight workouts can focus on the upper or lower body or combine them both for a total body workout.

You’ll do moves such as push-ups, squats, lunges and tricep dips that rely on your body weight and proper form to work your muscles. These moves either don’t require equipment at all or can be done using items around your house, such as a sturdy chair. Some people also like to use an exercise mat to provide a bit more cushion.

Running

While running is often associated with training for a marathon or distance, it can also be a remarkably efficient workout for those who don’t want to spend hours exercising. Running for just 20 or 30 minutes will get your heart rate up and your blood pumping, and all it requires is a pair of supportive running shoes.

If the weather doesn’t permit you to run outside, see if you have access to a gym—even the smallest, most under-equipped workout room usually has at least one treadmill.  And if you dislike the repetitive nature of running, create a music playlist or download a compelling podcast so you can get two things done at once as you move.

Plyometrics

Plyometrics, also called jump training or plyo, is another form of an intense and efficient cardio workout. Exercises include the squat jump, tuck knee jump, lateral jump, power skipping, vertical jump, lunge jump and more. These explosive movements get your heart rate up and burn calories in a short amount of time.

A word of caution: The intensive nature of plyometrics means that this workout isn’t the best choice for everyone, especially those who have lower body or back issues or those who are new to working out. However, if you’re already in good cardiovascular shape—say, you’ve been running a lot and you’re looking for some variety—plyometrics is definitely worth checking out. Quick and Easy Workouts For Nurses

Kickboxing

Boxing requires a lot of equipment. You need a punching bag, gloves, hand wraps and so on. Certain versions of kickboxing simplify this approach, allowing you to practice without all the equipment (sort of like shadowboxing). As the name suggests, kickboxing focuses on powerful kicks, with the hands and feet being used as the main contact points.

This karate-inflected style can be used as self-defense, but it’s also a very popular workout class both online and in real life. If you’d like to get out some aggression and stress while getting in a workout, simply Google “at home kickboxing workout videos” and plenty of results will pop up. You may feel a little silly punching and kicking the air at first, but you’ll be sweating in no time!

Aerobics

Aerobics is a catch-all term that refers to any activity that strengthens the heart and lungs, such as walking and swimming. Some aerobic exercises require a lot of time or equipment–or both—but plenty of others can be done at home whenever you have a few minutes. Lots of online cardio workouts fall into the aerobics category and they often have a theme such as step or dance.

Classes usually range in length from 10 to 60 minutes, so you can choose whatever suits your schedule. Make sure you check that no equipment is required before deciding on an aerobics workout. Some don’t require anything at all besides tennis shoes, while others may use a step-up box, light hand weights or other small equipment.

Abs

In their original form, very few ab workouts require weights or other equipment (though you might want to use an exercise mat to provide a bit of cushion and keep you from slipping during core work). From planks to crunches to sit-ups to leg lifts to toe touches to oblique twists, there are literally dozens of ab exercises you can do at home whenever you have a few minutes free in your schedule.

If you need some inspiration, there are lots of ab workout videos available for free on YouTube to get you started.

Women doing bodyweight exercises

Body weight exercises are a fast and easy workout for busy nurses.

HIIT Workouts

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is more of an approach than a specific type of exercise. HIIT involves giving your maximum effort to exercise for a short period of time (usually less than a minute) followed by an even briefer rest period.

You may also have heard of Tabata, which is a specific type of HIIT workout that follows this pattern: eight rounds of 20 seconds of exercises at maximum effort and then 10 seconds of rest. HIIT can be used for bodyweight exercises, plyometrics, running—pretty much any workout you can think of. HIIT is a great way to shake up the pace of your workouts and increase their intensity and efficiency without eating up more of your precious time.

Now, its time to get moving!

If you’re a busy nurse who’s crunched for time (and really, who isn’t over scheduled these days?), check out one of these workouts to fit exercise into your day. Any workout is better than no workout, so even if you only have a few minutes, make them count!

HEY NURSES!  Remember to sign up for your FREE COPY of “The Nurse’s Guide To Health & Self Care” E-book in the sign up box below! (scroll down)

Recommended Reading:

About The Author

Debbie Swanson, Real Caregivers Program at allheart.com

Deborah Swanson is a Coordinator for the Real Caregivers Program at allheart.com, a site dedicated to celebrating medical professionals and their journeys. She keeps busy interviewing caregivers and writing about them and loves gardening

7 Easy Restorative Yoga Poses For Nurses

7 Easy Restorative Yoga Poses For Nurses

7 Easy Restorative Yoga Poses For Nurses

Every nurse knows that the stress from patient care over a 12-hour shift can be exponential.  Yet many nurses aren’t giving themselves the tender loving kindness we give to our patients!  (I have written many times before about why nurses need to practice yoga).

Yoga is more than just exercise.  It offers caregivers a way to give themselves more self-care (ahem, nurses!).  Furthermore, it helps nurses take even better care of our families, our patients and ourselves in the process.

Restorative yoga is a great way for nurses to reconnect with themselves and provide recovery for their bodies after the end of a 12-hour shift of caring for patients.

7 Easy Restorative Yoga Poses For Nurses

(The information on this post is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease and is meant for educational and informational purposes only.   You should always consult your physician before starting any exercise program.  You can read our disclosure policy here.)

Here are 7 easy and restorative yoga poses for nurses:

#1.  Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Child's Pose

Child’s Pose

Health benefits of Child’s Pose for nurses:

  • Releases tension in the back, shoulders, and chest
  • Helps alleviate stress and anxiety
  • Stretches the spine
  • Relieves neck and lower back pain when performed with the head and torso supported
  • Gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles (gently is the key)
  • Stretches muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the knee
  • Calms the mind and body

#2.  Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Health benefits of Happy Baby Pose for nurses:

  • Opens hips, inner thighs, and groin
  • Releases lower back and sacrum
  • Stretches the hamstrings
  • Relieves lower back pain
  • Calms the brain
  • Helps to relieve stress and fatigue

#3.  Supine Spinal Twist(Jathara Parivartanasana)

Supine Spinal Twist

Supine Spinal Twist

Health benefits of Supine Spinal Twist for nurses:

  • Brings blood flow to the spine, hips, and shoulders
  • Stretches the hips, glutes, abs, back, chest, shoulders and neck
  • Opens the upper body
  • Helps alleviate lower back pain
  • Helps correct poor posture

#4.  Reclined Goddess Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Reclined Goddess Pose

Reclined Goddess Pose

Health benefits of Reclined Goddess Pose for nurses:

  • Opens the shoulders & chest
  • Opens the groin, inner thighs, and hips
  • Helps relieve stress and anxiety

#6.  Legs Up The Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

Legs Up The Wall Pose

Legs Up The Wall Pose

Health benefits of Legs Up The Wall Pose for nurses:

  • It reduces edema in the legs and feet
  • Relieves tired leg muscles
  • Helps reverse the effects of gravity and may help digestion
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Calms the mind

#7.  Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

Supported Bridge Pose

Supported Bridge Pose

Benefits of Supported Bridge Pose for nurses:

  • Stretches and opens the chest, spine, and hips
  • Improves circulation
  • Helps to relieve stress
  • It improves digestion and stimulates the abdominal organs.
  • Stimulates the thyroid gland
  • Reduces anxiety and fatigue
  • Helps relieve lower back pain
  • Calms the brain and nervous system

#8.  Dead Body Pose (Shavasana)

Dead Body Pose

Dead Body Pose

Benefits Of Dead Body Pose for nurses:

  • Relaxes the whole body
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Quiets the mind

Additional recommended reading:  Tired Nurse Health Tips:  When Sufficient Sleep Isn’t Possible

Conclusion

Yoga makes you feel good.  And you deserve it, nurse!

Nurses need to experience what it is like to feel good in their own skin.  Yoga empowers nurses to create a happier, healthier and more productive work environment by making us the best version of ourselves.

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 live a healthy life if we are not living one ourselves?

Here are a few tools to get you started in your yoga practice:

1.  Yoga Mat

I love this yoga mat.   The quality is very good for the price.  I have this exact mat in my living room and after 2 years it still looks brand new.  It is soft with a relatively nice thickness compared to other yoga mats I have tried.  In addition, it has nice grooves that keep the mat in place.

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2.  Yoga blocks (with strap included)

Yoga straps are useful for all levels of yoga practice and can provide support, help with alignment and improve posture.  In addition, I love the Manduka cork yoga blocks because I have had mine for 6 years and they still look brand new!  Unlike foam blocks, these don’t disintegrate over time due to sweat and regular use.  They are also heavier and more sturdy with a trustworthy grip.  It is a good idea to purchase 2 because many yoga poses require the need for two blocks.

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HEY NURSES!  Remember to sign up for your FREE COPY of “The Nurse’s Guide To Health & Self Care” E-book in the sign-up box below! (scroll down)

Additional Recommended Reading For Nurses Who Need More Self Care:

Are you a nurse looking for more self-care?  What are you doing to take care of yourself?  Please leave a comment below!

Fit Nurse:  Simple Ways To Exercise As A Busy Nurse Mom

Fit Nurse: Simple Ways To Exercise As A Busy Nurse Mom

To the nurse who is also a momIt is possible to find time for exercise, but you are going to need to get creative.  Being a nurse mom is challenging, and it’s all about finding balance.

Long gone are the days when I could leisurely wake up naturally and decide whether I wanted to take the 9 a.m. or the 11 a.m. yoga class or when I would put my running clothes on in the afternoon and lay around until I “felt ready” to head out for my jog, sometimes several hours later.

Before becoming a nurse and mom, I used to put a lot of thought into the location of my runs.  Where would I go today?  The beach? Or to the running trail? I never even thought about how long I would be out. I just ran until I felt tired and then called it a day.

Now I’m lucky if I get to squeeze in a 20-minute run after I put the kids down at 8 PM.  And by that time, I’m usually so tired I can barely muster the energy to get out the front door!

For the record, I am happier now than I think I have ever been.  I wouldn’t change anything about all of the blessings in my life that make me so incredibly busy.  I LOVE being a mom and an ER nurse.  But, as a healthcare professional and a person who enjoys a little self-care here and there, I am all too aware that I need to get regular exercise if I want to keep my sanity intact.

Woman doing a plank

What are the simplest ways to exercise as a busy nurse mom?

Over the last month, I have been interviewing fellow nurses to find out how they squeeze in a workout while balancing motherhood and 12-hour shifts.  Some of the feedback I received was very encouraging!  The conversations I had with these nurses convinced me that it is, in fact, very possible to stay fit when it seems that there is no more time in the day.

For me, finding time for fitness has been a trial and error project.  Over the past three years (since my first baby was born), I have tried several methods to squeeze workouts into an already crammed work/life schedule.  Some of these methods worked, some I tried but didn’t stick to, and some never came to fruition.

My journey to stay fit, along with the information shared with me by my fellow nurse comrades, revealed four primary ways that nurse moms can successfully find time to exercise.

Simple ways to exercise as a busy nurse mom

It is possible to find ways to exercise as a busy nurse mom.  Be creative!

Fit nurse tip #1.  Work out before the kids get up.

Before kids, I never in a million years would have dreamed that I would be awake in time to make it to a 6 AM hot yoga class.  But free time is sparse now.  If I don’t make time somewhere, then it won’t happen. It’s as simple as that.

The good news is that when I drag myself out of bed early for a workout, then I feel amazing for the rest of the day.  Sure, I’m tired, but I would be even more tired if I didn’t exercise at all.  By starting my day with a yoga-induced rush of endorphins, not only do I feel better, but I am so much more productive throughout the day.

My goal is to make it to a 6 a.m. class at least two times during the week on the days I don’t work.  Also, I am usually able to fit one early morning class on the weekend as well.  Sometimes it ends up being only once a week, and sometimes if I’m lucky, all three.  But something is always better than nothing!

Fit nurse tip #2.  Work out on your lunch break.

A nurse friend of mine changes into running clothes and goes for a jog during her lunch hour.  Talk about dedication to your health!  She says it works for her because she can do it no matter what time her break is.  Additionally, the midday exercise helps break up the day, helps her deal better with stressful patient assignments, and gives her energy for the rest of the shift. And she is a good role model for patients to boot!

(On another note, my husband replaced his lunch hour with an F45 class 3 times a week.   Although he is not a nurse, he is a busy working parent nonetheless. The benefits for him are so obvious. He is noticeably better able to manage work stress and comes home with significantly more energy at the end of a busy workday. And he says he feels a lot better too!)

Fit nurse tip #3.  Work out after the kids go to bed.

I know a lot of nurse parents who make it to the gym or a yoga class after working a 12-hour shift.  This seems to be the most popular time for many parents because the kids are in bed and it’s an excellent time to work off the stress from the day.  It is an effective way to put the day behind you and do something for yourself after spending 12 hours putting patients’ needs first.

On occasion, I will try to go out for a run or a walk if I still have a little energy left in me, usually during the summer months when the days are a little longer.   Unfortunately, it is also typically when I am the most tired, and I just want to crawl into bed with a book and fall asleep. But I do love listening to music and disconnecting for a little while after a long shift, and a quick run is a relatively easy way to do that!

A post-work run for me is usually pretty quick, 20-25 minutes max.  Unfortunately, if I run too long, then I risk not being able to fall asleep, and there’s not much worse than that.  After all, sleep is essential to the already sleep-deprived parent!

Fit nurse tip#4.  Try squeezing in exercise during the days when you are at home with your kids.

Finding new ways to exercise as a busy nurse mom requires some thinking outside the box.  Why not try squeezing in a workout when you are at home with the kids during the day? Besides, isn’t taking care of a baby or toddler already a kind of workout in itself?

Here are a few ways to exercise with kids in tow:

  • Turn on a workout video in the living room (good when the weather is poor!)
  • Take the kids for a walk in the stroller
  • Take a stroller strides class with other moms
  • Run around with the kids on the playground
  • Kick a soccer ball around with the kids
  • Try teaching your kids with a Gaiam yoga video (watching my daughter practice yoga just melts my heart!)
  • Turn up the music and dance with the kids (it just doesn’t get more fun than that!)

How do you find ways to exercise as a busy nurse mom?   I very much enjoy hearing about ideas of what others are doing.  Feel free to leave a comment!

Additional Recommended Reading:

Nurse Health: Self Care For 12 Hour Shifts

Nurse Health: Self Care For 12 Hour Shifts

Are you a nurse who works long 12-hour shifts?

If the answer is yes, that’s awesome!  You are working in an honorable and philanthropically rewarding field.  But unfortunately, if you are like a lot of hardworking shift workers, you may at times feel overworked, exhausted, and even burned out.

Everyone knows that 12-hour shift schedules can be extremely demanding.  What are you doing for yourself to ensure that you stay healthy and thrive

With a little preparation and focus on your well-being, you can be both a healthy nurse and give great care to your patients.  Its time to focus on nurse self-care!

11 tips to THRIVE as a nurse during 12-hour shifts:

#1.  Sleep

To be a healthy nurse you must get a good night's sleep.

Nurse self-care should be a priority.   That includes getting a good night’s sleep!

Nursing schedules revolve around a need for 24/7 patient care.   Sleep deprivation is a real concern, especially for those working night shifts.  Nurse self-care starts with a good night (or in some cases day) of sleep.  Here are a few tips to encourage healthier sleep habits after you complete a 12-hour shift:

  • Turn off the tv (an hour of sleep is always more important than another episode)
  • Calm your mind and body with a few easy yoga stretches (hint:  yoga props such as a mat, yoga blocks, and a strap can be helpful with restorative stretches).
  • Take a hot shower
  • Try meditation (Headspace is a great meditation app for busy people)
  • Use good earplugs and a sleep mask
  • Get into bed an hour earlier than you usually do (& see how much better you feel after one week!)

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#2.  Exercise

Exercise is great for nurse health.

Nurse, get your heart rate up!

Get your heart rate up on your days off!  The benefits of exercise have been well documented is essential for nurse self-care.  It is no secret that regular exercise helps control weight, boosts overall energy, improves your mood, and helps decrease stress levels.  Not only does exercise benefit the nurse personally, but it also allows nurses to have the stamina to give better care to patients as well.

Need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A yoga session or brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.  Which, in turn, will help manage caregiver burden and help you feel your best.

#3.  Grocery shop

a well balanced diet is important for nurse health and wellness.

A well-balanced diet is essential for nurse health and wellness.

Grocery shopping is so important for nurses and other hospital workers to ensure proper nutrition.  It is no secret that healthy food choices are crucial for overall good health and well-being.  Make sure you are filling your plate with high-density vitamins and minerals.  You simply can’t maintain good energy and stamina over a 12-hour shift on sugary snacks and fast food!

Plan ahead by creating a grocery list of the foods you want to eat while you are at work.  That way, you won’t be tempted to reach for something unhealthy when you have a few moments to eat in-between caring for patients.

Tips for nurses to make healthy meals fast:  Try making a big batch of quinoa, brown rice, or black bean pasta to have handy in the fridge.  These are a few great staples that you can build a nourishing meal around.  When you get hungry, you can mix in a protein, veggies, nuts or seeds, dried fruits, or even just enjoy them with a little olive oil and sea salt.   The key is to have healthy food that is easy to prepare BEFORE you get super hungry.

#4.  Eat a healthy breakfast

Oats: a simple yet nutritious way to start a 12 hour shift!

Oats: a nutritious yet straightforward way to start a 12-hour shift (nurse self-care can be tasty!)

Studies show that eating a nutritious breakfast (as opposed to the doughnuts and other goodies often found in the breakroom) can help give you:

  • More strength and endurance to engage in physical activity and maintaining stamina to survive through a 12-hour shift.
  • Improved concentration, which can help you give better patient care.
  • A diet higher in complete nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

Tips for nurses to ensure that you have a nutritious meal ready before each 12-hour shift:  Make several mason jars of overnight oats with a variation of these flavors: blueberry/strawberry/raspberry, peanut butter, and maple, banana and walnut, or almond and raisin.  You can add ground flaxseed or chia seeds for extra protein and antioxidant benefits. Then top it off with a dash of cinnamon for a delicious ready-to-eat breakfast.

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#5.  Pack your lunch

Healthy nurse habit: pack your lunch!

Healthy nurse habit: pack your lunch!

Packing a lunch will help ensure that you make wise food choices when you are in the middle of a shift and starting to feel tired.  And it will save you a little money to boot!

Here are a few items I use for packing my lunch that help me through every 12-hour shift:

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#6.  Incorporate healthy snacks into your shift

Almonds: a healthy nurse snack!

Almonds: a healthy nurse snack!

Nurse break rooms are notorious for having sugary snacks like donuts, cookies, or other unhealthy junk food all within an arms reach.  Sweets are so tempting to nibble on when you are tired and need a little extra energy.  But then a few moments later you crash and are even more tired.   On another note, eating nutritious and easy snacks will keep you energized during a 12-hour shift. 

Pack snacks like these in your lunch bag to help keep your blood sugar levels balanced during your shift:

  • Baby carrots, broccoli or other veggies & hummus
  • Celery and almond butter
  • Strawberries, blueberries
  • Granola and yogurt
  • Almonds or cashews
  • Avocado toast
  • Sliced apples and peanut butter
  • Cottage cheese with pineapple or banana
  • Trail mix

 

#7. Don’t overdo caffeine

Green tea: high in antioxidants!

Green tea: a healthy drink for 12-hour shift workers!

Many studies suggest that coffee and tea have incredible health benefits while also giving you an extra boost of energy.  Unfortunately, caffeine can also have the opposite effect by leading to rebound fatigue after it leaves your system.  Therefore, it’s a good idea to aim for moderate caffeine intake to help minimize rebound fatigue.

Additionally, one of the drawbacks of too much caffeine late in a 12-hour shift is that it can also cause insomnia.  And nurses need their sleep to help recover from the hard work we do taking care of patients each day!

Extra tip:  Green teas (like this one) can give you an energy boost with additional antioxidant benefits and without the caffeine jitters!

 

#8.  Get good shoes

Nurses must invest in good shoes to maintain foot health.

Nurses must invest in good shoes to maintain foot health.

It is not uncommon for nurses to be on their feet for 8 to 12 hours or longer during a shift.  That is why it is essential that you wear comfortable and durable shoes during your shift.

I have been alternating between my Dansko clogs and New Balance tennis shoes as a nurse for over six years.  My feet thank me for it.  Invest in quality footwear that is built to protect the feet of busy hospital workers who are on their feet all day.

“I wish I didn’t invest in comfortable, sturdy shoes,” said no nurse ever.

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#9.  Remember to drink water

Drink water throughout your 12 hour shift and stay hydrated!

Drink water throughout your 12-hour shift and stay hydrated!

Have you ever worked an entire shift and realized at the end that you forgot to drink water for the whole day.  It is so easy to do when you are extremely busy with back to back patients and heavy work assignments.

Invest in a good water bottle with a seal-able lid (to prevent accidental spillage).  Keep it where you do most of your charting in the nurse’s station.  And try to make it a priority to drink your water every hour during your shift to stay hydrated.

Here are a few favorites:

Make your own chia seed water:  Add 3 tbsp of organic chia seeds to your water bottle and mix well (you can add more or less to your liking).  Within a few hours, the seeds will blow up in size and into a gelatinous consistency.

(Chia seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, fiber, iron, and calcium.  Just another easy way to add nutrients into your busy day!)

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#10.  Wear compression socks

Nurse health: wear compression socks for venous health

Nurse health & your venous system: wear compression socks!

Compression socks or stockings are non-negotiable for healthcare workers who are on their feet for 12-hour shifts!  Here are three fundamental reasons why compression socks are a must-have for every shift worker:

  • Prevention of varicose veins:  Standing for extended periods causes valves in the veins to become weakened, causing blood to collect in the veins. This causes the veins to enlarge, increase in pressure and stretch, causing unsightly varicose veins.
  • Improved blood flow and decreased risk of blood clots:  A study by The Society of Occupational Medicine found that wearing compression stockings significantly decreased lower limb venous pressure in nurses who stood for very long hours.
  • Decreased swelling of ankles and feet:  Swollen ankles and feet are a common side effect of being on one’s feet for a 12-hour shift.

Many nurses who wear compression socks say that their legs “feel more energized” after a 12-hour shift.  Pregnant shift workers are especially at risk of leg swelling (due to increased blood volumes during pregnancy) and should consider wearing them to prevent venous issues.

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#11.  Do yoga

Nurses need to practice yoga for self care

Nurses need to practice yoga for self-care.

Nurses need yoga, period.  Not only does yoga replenishes depleted reserves after a 12-hour shift,  but a relaxed and more focused nurse can give better patient care.

Yoga’s amazing benefits on physical and mental health are well documented in the literature. The Mayo Clinic has stated that “yoga may help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and lower your heart rate,” among many other benefits.

Nurse self-care in the form of yoga is scientifically proven to be beneficial:

  • Stress management. study published in the National Institute of Biotechnology Information investigated the effects of yoga on stress coping strategies of ICU nurses. After only eight 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 eight 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%.  Yoga not only increases flexibly but increases muscle strength and prevents injuries such as chronic lower back pain.
  • Prevent burnout and compassion fatigue:  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.”

Are you a nurse who is experiencing burnout and want to live a healthier life?  Nurse self-care should not be an afterthought. Do you have any other self-care tips for nurses that you would like to add? Leave a comment! 

Additional recommended reading:

Travel Nurses Need Yoga To Stay Healthy!

Travel Nurses Need Yoga To Stay Healthy!

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 why nurses need to practice yoga.

In particular, 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:

Gaiam Yoga Mat 

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.

Yoga Blocks

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.

Yoga Bolster

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!

10 Day Essential Oil Starter Guide Challenge!

10 Day Essential Oil Starter Guide Challenge!

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.

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.

Essential oil starter guide challenge! Young Living essential oil starter kit.

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!