Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN,
For Nurses Week, we are promoting the “year of the healthy nurse.” We are encouraging nurses, like you, to focus on having a healthy mind, body, and spirit, to support your overall wellbeing. For me, I love exercise and have become more committed to it than ever. I find that the simple activity of exercising helps to clear my head and prepares me for my day. If your body and the mind are healthy, the care you can give your patients will be improved.
Exercising has so many benefits for the body: weight management, endorphins that elevate your mood and the energy it delivers to you. Here are my personal five tips for exercising that I believe will help improve your mind, body and spirit.
- Establish routine. As nurses, our schedules can be pretty hectic and unpredictable, which is why it’s important to establish a regular exercise routine. This is key because when you neglect to establish a routine, it’s easier to make excuses or find reasons not to workout. For me, I go to the gym at 5 AM because that works for me. Take a step back and see what time works best for you. Exercise has to be established as a priority and built into your schedule for a day or for the week.
- Stand up regularly at work. As nurses, we stand up most of the day which is a wonderful way to stay active during the day. I find that getting up every once in a while is important to do at work because it keeps the blood flowing. It’s as simple as taking a brisk walk around the block, the facility or the grounds that can make all the difference. If you have the opportunity to have a standing desk, use it. I love mine. It makes it easier to walk around the office, and simple tasks that require you to go to a different part of the office are no longer hard to do.
- Use a medicine ball as your chair. If I am going to sit at work, I always sit on my medicine ball chair. This keeps my body still exercising even when I am sitting because it keeps my leg muscles moving and works out my core.
- Switch it up. When it comes to exercise, many of us are creatures of habit. We tend to gravitate towards doing the same routine on the elliptical, treadmill, or muscle work out. Regular workout is great but to maximize the time spent at the gym it’s important to include variety in your exercises to keep your muscles challenged. This helps overcome a weight loss plateau, builds new muscles, and prevents boredom from doing the same routine.
- Meditate for five minutes a day. Spend five minutes a day doing either spiritual meditation or just focus your mind in a direction of positive thinking. As nurses, we have stressful days. Meditation helps relieve some of the stress you face in your day-to-day life.
I have found that when I take care of my body and my mind my overall spirit is better. Nurses have hard days and multiple stress points at work. Whether its meditation, yoga, or exercise, all of these methods help improve the work-life balance we all reach to achieve.
Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN,
Chief Executive Officer, AWHONN
Lynn joined AWHONN in 2014 with more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare and nonprofit sectors. She is a highly skilled national leader in the field of nursing and previously held key national leadership positions with three global health organizations: the American Cancer Society, the American College of Surgeons, and the Susan G. Komen Global Headquarters. Lynn has also served in top leadership positions with several hospitals and healthcare systems.