Summertime brings thoughts of slower days, languid days at the beach, and vacations filled with sunshine. Nurses don’t always get to match the ideal vision of a lazy summer, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t take advantage of this fleeting time of year.
Here are a few simple things to add to your summer 2017 bucket list..
Treat Your Feet
Your feet take a pounding – literally. Pamper them with a reflexology appointment, a pedicure, or just a good soak in bubbly warm water. Slather on peppermint foot lotion you stash in the fridge for extra relief. Spritz a cooling spray on your legs (make your own with water and essential oils). A barefoot walk on a sandy beach can also make your feet feel terrific.
Relax Your Neck
Your neck and shoulders probably feel like steel and nearly frozen in place with all the movement your day requires. Buy a heat pack you can warm up in the microwave or make your own with a long sock and some unhulled barley that you can pick up at the supermarket. At the end of a long day, it’s instant relaxation.
Be a Goof
Summer is made for letting loose a little. Skip with your kids, build a sandcastle at the beach, or rent kayaks and splash in the water for the day. Draw with sidewalk chalk. Have a picnic and bring hula hoops and a football to toss around.
Get Extra Sleep
A siesta is always refreshing and the restful effects can last for days. If you can spend extra time in bed in the morning or can hit the sheets a little earlier, you’ll boost your attention span, your mood, and your overall health.
Learn to Unwind
Nurses are never really off the job, so it’s sometimes tough to really relax. On those hot and humid days, grab a book or pop in some music and head to a cool spot. Be still and quiet and appreciate how different it feels from your typical work day.
Summertime food is special. Juicy fruits and plentiful veggies in all hues are at every corner farmer’s market. Pasta salads, potato salads, fresh salsa, and cold soups taste even better eaten outside. A flaming-hot grill waiting for all kinds of seafood, meats, and veggies (even watermelon can be grilled) can keep your kitchen cool and inspire you to try lighter foods. Take advantage of the bounty of summertime. And whenever you can, eat alfresco.
Don’t let the season go by without enjoying some quality time outdoors. Take a beach yoga class, walk with your friends or by yourself, take in an outdoor concert, watch fireworks, learn a new bike path, try a new swimming hole, or climb a mountain. Whatever you do, just being free of four walls is refreshing and inspiring.
Summer is supposed to be the most relaxing season. With warmer weather beckoning and an easier feel to the days, relaxing should be second nature during this time of year.
But for many people, summer can sometimes ramp up stress. Kids are home from school, and you’d like to spend some of their summer vacation making lasting memories with them. Or maybe the intense round of family events, block parties, weddings, baby showers, and trying to fit in vacation time has got your schedule, and you, stretched thin.
And then there’s work. Nurses’ work pressures don’t ease up just because it’s summer. But there are a few simple stress busters you can try right now that will help reduce your frustration levels and offer you some fun, too!
1. Make Bread
This one is weird, but true. The repetitive, steady kneading and pounding needed to turn dough into delicious bread is also a great way to lower your blood pressure. This summer, ditch the bread machine and make bread the old fashioned way.
Have you seen the news lately? Adults are snapping up coloring books faster than stores can keep them stocked. With companies gearing some coloring books toward adults with more intricate themes (think mandalas or Celtic patterns), grown ups are finding the meditative benefits of staying within the lines to be incredibly soothing.
3. Use Aromatherapy
For centuries, people have used scents to help influence their moods. Use peppermint to pick you up, lavender to relax you, and green apple to control your appetite. Luckily these scents can all be found at your local health food store in the form of essential oils. Mix a few drops into an unscented lotion or just put a few drops on a cotton ball to bring you instant sensory uplift.
4. Start at the Bottom
Nurses bodies work incredibly hard and one of the areas that suffers most is those poor feet. Your feet take a beating in any given day, so make yourself feel better by treating them well. Keep peppermint foot lotion (found in almost any drugstore or even the supermarket) in the fridge. When you get home, drop onto the nearest couch and slather some on your feet and legs for a soothing and instant pick me up.
5. Listen to Music
Don’t just put music on for background noise. Find music that is uplifting to you and sing along to it. If you don’t want anyone to hear you, blast your music when you’re alone in the car. If it makes you feel good, listen to it and enjoy the boost in your mood!
6. Dine Outside
Whether it’s having coffee on a park bench or grabbing dinner on a restaurant patio, there’s something so soothing and summer like about eating outside. This is one way to enjoy this very fleeting season that doesn’t involve packing, making a side dish to bring, or coordinating relatives.
Summertime is a fun season, but it’s not without stress (no matter what the magazines say!). You’re keeping track of everyone and everything and sometimes the “can’t-go-anywhere” winter weather seems appealing. But the season is so short – use a few stress busters to enjoy it even more.
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