International Nurse Day: 3 Things Nurses Do To Push Forward

Many of us know nurses that are a treasure in our lives.  Whether your family member or friend has made it their career to be a healthcare profess...

Many of us know nurses that are a treasure in our lives.  Whether your family member or friend has made it their career to be a healthcare professional, or a wonderful nurse has supported you in your health journey. We recognize, admire, and look to all the nurses in our lives on International Nurse Day this May 6th. Usually, the theme of IND recognizes that nurses are important leaders in healthcare across the world. This year's theme is no different - Nurses: A Voice to Lead, a Vision for Future Healthcare.

“This global COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world the important role that nurses play in keeping people healthy across the lifespan,” said Annette Kennedy, ICN President. “While there has been significant disruption to healthcare, there has also been significant innovation that has improved access to care. In 2021, we will focus on the changes to and innovations in nursing and how this will ultimately shape the future of healthcare.” To read more about the theme for IND2021 check out the International Council of Nurses website. 

You need not look far for examples of why nurses are so important, especially after the last year and a half. Their resilience is inspiring, their commitment to public health stirring, and dedication  to advocating for their patients is remarkable. Through this last year and a half nurses around the world have banned together to create a unified front, battling the pandemic and countless other health crises around the world. Naturally, we should be looking to them for their expertise, and vision for the future. But first, we have a more basic question - How do nurses continue to put their best food forward day after day? How do they fight the possibility of “burning out”? How do they continue to be super humans against all odds? We have compiled three favorite tips right here. 

Put Basic Needs First

Becker’s Hospital Review asked 27 nurses to share their advice on how they cope with the current public health crisis and many nurses speak on the importance of your basic needs: sleep, water, healthy food.

We operate at our best when we are living a healthy balanced lifestyle. You cannot strongly face the challenges of being a nurse, caregiver or someone with type 2 if you are “burning the candle at both ends”. You have to take the time to power down at the end of each day, give yourself some phone free time. Make sure you set aside enough time for quality consistent sleep. Many nurses strive to drink enough water, and eat healthy snacks and meals during their long shifts. 

It’s OK, not to be OK 

Whatever emotions come up, positive or negative, acknowledge them and give them space to exist. Whether you are a nurse on the frontlines or a person with type 2 - the ride of life can be a rollercoaster of emotions. Try not to judge yourself so hard for your feelings. Be aware of them as they come and go. 

Counseling is an excellent way to find new perspectives and tools. Not only does it make you a better communicator with others but also with yourself. Counseling has countless benefits including relief from anxiety and better expression and management of emotions. If you don’t want to seek out counseling, seek out a listening ear from a friend or family member. 

Pushing away your feelings is not necessary. You are not a robot.  If you are struggling navigating emotions or stressors during this time, communication is everything. Get in the habit of talking to yourself and know your resources outside of yourself. Your emotions are valid.

Take a Reset 

Many nurses and other caregivers or people in high stress jobs find it beneficial to take immediate or planned resets. What is a reset? A reset is something like “taking a 10 count” before responding to something perplexing or frustrating. Whether it’s having a meditative moment on your break and doing breathing exercises, or taking a minute to reflect in the driver seat of your car before getting out and starting your day. The University of Michigan Health Systems remind us that, “Deep breathing is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The brain then sends this message to your body. Those things that happen when you are stressed, such as increased heart rate, fast breathing, and high blood pressure, all decrease as you breathe deeply to relax.”

Summary

Self care is not complicated. Most self care is taking a step back to evaluate your physical and mental health and wellbeing throughout the day, and making sure you put time and effort into giving back to you. Want to know more about how you can stay mentally and physically strong with type 2, through all chapters of life? Check out our Winning Type 2 Diabetes Togethergroup on Facebook. Why? It’s not only a good place for diabetics from around the world to connect, but it is a safe place to share experiences. 

Finally, how can we give our thanks to the 28 million nurses worldwide? Express your gratitude by sending a thank you card with a written note to a nurse that has positively impacted you. Share a heartfelt thank you story on social media, referencing a special nurse or nurses who you are thankful for. Give a nurse a self care gift (a candle, massage gift card, healing crystal, their favorite healthy snack etc.) as a reminder that although they are busy battling for the health of all, they must take a minute to take care of themselves too.