By Lucinda Cave, MSN, RN
January, 2017 . . . . A New Year . . . Fresh start . . . Clean slate . . . unblemished, untried, unworn . . . and ANA has designated it the “Year of the Healthy Nurse.”
A healthy nurse as defined by the ANA HealthyNurse™ program is one who actively focuses on creating and maintaining a balance and synergy of his or her health, safety, wellness and live to the fullest capacity physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. A HealthyNurse™ is a better role model, educator, and advocate – personally, for the family, for the community, for the work environment, and for the patient.
So shouldn’t a Healthy Nurse Blog go on and be all about setting health-oriented resolutions? Ideals for which to strive so that we can truly live up to the Healthy Nurse definition above?
Eat nutritious food. Cut back on junk.
Drink more water and less sugary soda.
Don’t sit (for long periods, at least).
Take the stairs.
And speak to patients about all this, so they can be healthy, too.
Well . . . no. Not that there is anything wrong with these goals, it’s just that they are very difficult to maintain for an entire year. And even the struggle to try can leave one feeling deflated and defeated. Definitely not healthy.
So what’s a reasonable alternative? We still want to be healthy.
How about something a little different? Like this idea stolen from Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist, and author, Regina Brett, and modified to work for a Healthy Nurse.
Instead of New Year’s resolutions, Ms. Brett creates a ‘Happiness Jar’. As she goes about her day, she finds, and truly experiences moments that make her happy. She jots them down, and slips them into an actual Mason jar. By the end of the year, she has nearly 400 happy memories she can take out, reread, and relive.
What about creating a ‘Healthy Jar’? It can be actual or virtual, but some way of collecting daily healthy choices and behaviors you’ve made throughout the year.
My ‘Healthy jar’ is virtual. If it was an actual Mason jar, my cat would certainly knock it over, break it, and I’d end up in the emergency room with stitches. Not healthy! My ‘jar’ is a desktop document, easily accessible, onto which I can type a sentence or two about healthy choices. I will attempt to add to the list everyday, but if I miss, I can always add more later.
So far I have two entries (a late New Year start).
Saturday, January 7: Went to the gym late evening. When I came out, snow was lightly falling, and looked like sparkling diamonds under the streetlights. (Really cool! Sometimes everything looks better after a good workout.)
Monday, January 9: (Yeah, I know. Skipped a day already. Never mind. This is my Healthy Jar. And there will probably be some days later on when I’ll want to write two. Or more.) Work colleague suggested we take a walk and get coffee. Kept me from grabbing from the candy bag across the hall. Walk was invigorating, fun and a refreshing break.
Looking for, and recording everyday healthy choices and behaviors can actually be fun. And already, this practice might be causing healthier choices. A walk with a colleague for coffee was definitely a healthier choice than the candy bag treat across the hall. Maybe this non-resolution will turn out acting just like a New Year’s Resolution after all. Only better, because it might work!
Try it yourself. If not for a year, at least for a ‘time’. And share your successes. Here, on the ONA Website, with colleagues, perhaps with patients.
***Well. Well. After I nearly completed this ‘non-resolution’ blog, what does ANA do? Encourage resolutions. To celebrate the Year of the Healthy Nurse they are holding a “What’s Your Resolution?” contest. Nurses can win Amazon gift cards by sending in videos to illustrate New Year’s resolutions in one of five categories: physical activity, nutrition, quality of life, rest and safety. Check out the details.