All my life I have rarely been sick, in fact there have only been two times that I can recall. So, about three months ago when I started feeling bad, it was out of the ordinary. I did not have any obvious symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, headache, runny nose etc. I just had a lack of energy and no appetite. During this time it made me realize that “I would rather have great health, more than any material thing”; not that I do not like nice things or places. As children, many of us dreamed of growing up and having lots of money, big houses, cars and anything else that money could buy. We were only focused on the “material” things. There were never any thoughts about our physical or mental health.
I would rather have excellent health, than all of the money in the world. If you are sick and cannot get around, what good is having money and things, if you cannot enjoy it? Some people may say that they would use their money to hire the best doctors, but that is no guarantee that you will have good health. I often think of our patients that we are taking care of in the hospitals and clinics, they are relying on us to give them the best possible care to make them feel better. During this time, they become dependent on the healthcare staff and this may be hard for many that are used to having control of their own lives. Before you make an assumption that the patient is “difficult” or “hostile”, remember that these are people that were working, taking care of themselves and families and making their own decisions. We need to include them in all aspects of their care, instead of dictating what will be done. Although we may have our daily assignment planned, discuss with the patient the Plan of Care and let them have some input on the order of some things, to give them that feeling of control. We still have to stay on task, but we need to make them feel like adults and not like children being told what to do. Some people may think that this will interrupt your normal day, but imagine if it were you laying in that bed, how would you want to feel?
I have decided that I am going to enjoy life, spend more time taking care of myself and creating experiences with my daughter. I have been privileged to accomplish a lot of things in my life: writing my first children’s book, starting a home-based travel business, building my photography portfolio, traveling domestically and internationally; all while being a mom and nurse. We spend a lot of time taking care of others; but we must start taking care of ourselves; otherwise we will not be here for others.
So, the fatigue and loss of appetite that I was having was due to my Vitamin D level being critically low. I am currently working remotely, so eight hours of my day is spent inside on the computer. When I get off work, I wait until the sun goes down to go on my evening walk; therefore I was getting minimal to no sun. I am happy that this is a condition that can be easily corrected by diet, taking nutritional supplements and spending a few minutes sunbathing (in moderation). The benefits of sunlight is that Vitamin D is produced when your skin is exposed to the sun and it is one of the many vitamins our bodies need to stay healthy, relieve stress and increase energy.
I realized that work will be there; so I have made it a point to sit outside on my breaks and lunch. I am glad to say that I am feeling a lot better now. Never take your health for granted. You only have one life and you need to make sure to maintain your health. Take care of yourself, mind, body and spirit. The six best doctors in the world: sunlight, exercise, rest, diet, self-confidence and friends. Maintain them in all stages of life and enjoy a healthy life. Remember Health is Wealth!!
We are almost at the end of 2020 and one thing that this pandemic has reinforced is that life is “unpredictable.” It is great to plan, but unexpected events can quickly turn things around. These past 10 months have caused many people to slow down and analyze their situations. Many people have lost their jobs, homes, and lives. We could focus on the negative aspects (not to disregard them); but there have been some positive aspects to this unfortunate world event. As we enter into 2021, there are three concepts to embrace and apply to our lives, moving forward: “Pivot, Power, and Purpose.”
This year has caused everyone to refocus and realign how things are done. Every aspect of our lives has been affected and we did not just stop living or doing. Thanks to technology we were able to create new ways of doing ordinary things, such as using Zoom for work meetings, keeping in touch with family and friends; other platforms for kids to attend school; online grocery shopping and food delivery; attending movies, concerts, award shows, exercising, weddings, graduations, and even funerals. We had to learn to “Pivot,” which means to turn or revolve; creating new avenues to maintain the same activities of daily living. We realized there are many things that we took for granted, but we learned to make it work.
Secondly, hopefully this year has made us stronger and more resilient. Releasing our “Power,” which means the ability to act or produce an effect; possession of control, authority, or influence over others. Instead of sitting down and feeling sorry for ourselves, many people have used this time to go back to school, start a home-based business, complete unfinished projects, and create ways to help empower others. We need to take this strength, energy, and power and move full-force ahead into the coming year.
Finally, we all need to explore the reason that we are here, what is our “Purpose?” The textbook definition is an end to be attained, intention, and determination. So, in order to attain we must plan, propose, and design our aim. Discover things that are bigger than you. It is not about what you achieve, but how have you helped or impacted others. Give of your time and talents and surround yourself with positive people.
We tend to get wrapped up in the details of our busy life; but remember we cannot live on purpose, without action. So, learn to Pivot, use your Power, and live your Purpose.
We are in the first quarter of the year and none of us expected or envisioned that we would be dealing with the course of events happening now. It is almost surreal, like a scene from a movie. Many people entered the new year with the desire of having new goals, resolutions, and dreams. This was to be the year signifying “2020 Vision” seeing things more clearly. Everyone stated “this is going to be my year.” What we are going through now has been a real eye-opening experience.
Over the course of history there have been many epidemics, disasters, and social issues, which were usually contained in one region. People may have felt safe thinking, “it is not happening in my city, state or my area of the country.” These past three months, the “Coronavirus pandemic” has affected all U.S. states and multiple countries, and crossed every race, age, and socioeconomic group. This blog is not going to be filled with statistics, because we are bombarded daily from all media sources with the data. Updated information should be obtained from reliable sources such as the CDC (www.cdc.gov) or WHO (www.who.int).
This “global shutdown” has affected every aspect of human life. Freedom and things that we took for granted, such as shopping, going to the movies, dining out, visiting amusement parks, playgrounds, attending concerts, festivals, hanging out with friends and family, and most of all traveling has been brought to a screeching halt. Now families are going to have to learn how to spend more time with their families, reflecting on things to be thankful for and creating entertainment and meals at home.
For safety, government officials have issued “Stay at home” and “Lockdown” mandates, limiting travel for only essential needs. The goal is to try to decrease the spread of the virus, especially to vulnerable populations; hence a new term has been coined “social distancing.” Everyone is to keep a 6-ft distance from each other and limit gatherings of people to 10 or less. Social distancing is a physical separation and does not mean that you cannot communicate with others. The one positive note is that in this age of technology we all can stay connected to others whether they are in the same city or across the country.
Social distancing is important, but there are two populations that this may have an adverse effect on, those with mental illness and those that are in abusive relationships or families. Social distancing could cause “social isolation” and those with depression could have an increased risk of suicide. The worst thing is having individuals quarantined in the home with their abusers. If you know anyone that is in an abusive situation or has mental health issues, reach out to them, if possible.
We are not sure when this pandemic will come to an end, so during this time find ways to decrease your anxiety and stress and try not to panic. Some things that you can do is continue to exercise, keep your humor (in light of what’s going on), watch movies, create crafts and cook together, and make sure to reach out to those that may be alone.
May this pandemic not dim our vision. Stay calm, stay focused and productive.
I just returned from a leadership seminar in Jamaica, which was held at a luxurious resort. The thoughts of gaining leadership knowledge and skills, while on a beautiful island was exciting. Day three of my trip was devoted to community service. It was a satisfying feeling to be able to give back to others. We had the opportunity to visit a primary (basic school), a middle school, and a hospital.
Upon arriving at the schools they were surrounded by large gates. As we drove through the entrance we saw children in uniform and they were carrying their chairs from one building to the next. Despite the condition of the school, which had no air conditioning, no chalkboard, and no visible books, the children were excited to see us. The look on their faces was priceless when we gave them gifts of pens, pencils, markers, crayons, and books. They were very eager to learn about CPR and we had mini-manikins for them to practice on. Talking with many of the kids, their dreams and aspirations were amazing. Many want to be soldiers, police officers, lawyers, beauty technicians, chefs, and a scientist, just to name a few. Even though these children did not have the luxuries that most schools in the USA have, they were still enthusiastic to learn and very respectful to the teachers.
The hospital was another experience, which was very eye-opening, tear-jerking, and gut-wrenching. Although health care is free, the condition of the hospital and lack of supplies was deplorable. Again, just as at the schools, despite the poor conditions the medical staff were very pleasant, had smiles on their faces, and were very engaged in their work. We visited the pediatric unit where there were 45 patients, which normally holds 32 with only three nurses. They did not have IV poles or monitors, things that we take for granted in our health care facilities. The staff does the best that they can with what they have and they welcomed the medical supplies that we were able to donate. Seeing the other areas of the hospital, such as the laundry and central supply was very shocking; without staff there you would not know that you were at a hospital.
I think that every U.S. citizen should be required to visit a third-world country to see the conditions that people have to live and work under. They would see how blessed we are in the United States, even though we have some poor areas here. Driving down the streets of Jamaica there were multiple unfinished buildings, trash, and junk along the road. We saw a car that had caught on fire and was completely burned and charred, the firefighters were there with a hose, but the water trickled out like it was a home garden hose.
This experience was very educational, informative, and enlightening. It made me think of how thankful I am for what I have. My goal is to stop striving for material things and gain more rewarding experiences. Every U.S. citizen needs to reflect before complaining and be thankful for what they have. Be happy with the little that you have. There are people with nothing that still manage to smile. This also reminds me of a quote from Victory Today:
While you complain about your electric bill,
there’s someone with no home.
While you complain about your job,
there’s someone praying for a dollar.
While you complain about the food in your pantry,
there’s someone praying for crumbs.
While you complain about life,
there’s someone who didn’t wake up today.
Your complaints are simply blessings to others.
Well it has been a while since my last post, due to the “busyness” of life. Often times we let the things in our life take so much of our time, that we forget about taking care of ourselves. As nurses we are focused on taking care of others: our patients, our family, our friends, and sometimes even strangers. We have heard of the saying “Take care of yourself, so you can be there for others,” but how many of us actually practice this? This really hit home after hearing about the unexpected death of two colleagues over the past month. They both devoted so much time to their job and neglected to relax and take care of themselves.
Credit: Leslie McRae-Matthews
We have our plates so full with other people’s issues, cares, and needs, yet there is no room on the plate for us. There has to be a balance between work and relaxation. This is not new information for us—we just need to apply it to our lives. Many of us advise our patients about taking time to relax, meditating, and thinking about things they enjoy to decrease stress. These are some of the same principles that we can use.
When you start noticing that you are feeling anxious, moody, or depressed, these are signs that it is time to step back to refocus, recover, and renew. Many people relax by traveling, but you do not have to spend a lot of money to relax. Engage in simple activities, such as drawing, photography, taking a walk to enjoy nature, riding on a swing, or going for a swim. These activities are not an escape from reality or stepping into a “fantasy world,” but they will help you take your mind off of work or other issues, so that you can refocus. Take care of yourself and find that balance.