Happy Nurse’s Week!

She didn’t think twice going the better of her 12-hour shift without a break for food or being able to run to the restroom. This never bothered her because the roots of her happiness and self-worth lay deep inside her abilities to heal and do good for other people.

You may be curious to walk through what a typical 12 hours of her shift might be like, but there is no typical shift for this lady, because she’s an ER nurse.

Some days she’s overwhelmed by the losses she couldn’t prevent or overwhelmed by the stresses and demands of her job; by the small population that she could never please no matter how hard she worked.

Most days, however, she’s so filled with joy from sharing life’s most tender and vulnerable moments with patients and their families, being there for people in their greatest time of need.

May 6th-12th is National Nurse’s Week!

What I’ve written is about ER nursing because this is the field that I work in. There are so many specialties and subspecialties of nursing but many things are the same across the field: nurses are strong, kind, caring, and they’re there for you in your greatest moments of sickness and need. They are educators and advocates, team players and support systems.

Many people know or even love a nurse, take this opportunity to verbally thank them for the wonderful things that they are doing for your community- this is something they may hear much less than you think!

Photo by Courtney Hedger on Unsplash

As always, happy nurse’s week to & I am beyond thankful for the many nurses past and present that I have had the pleasure of working with. All of you have shaped me into the nurse and woman that I am today. Your kindness and compassion make the world a better place. I’d also like to thank my co-workers who aren’t nurses but make my life so much better on a regular basis, you all haven’t been forgotten!

Everyone try to wish a nurse Happy Nurses Week! 🙂

Xoxo,

Katie

Book Review of “Spiritual Lighthouse: The Dream Diaries of Ann Marie Ruby” by Ann Marie Ruby

Thank you to Ann Marie Ruby and her team for providing me a copy of this book to read in exchange for my honest review of it.

Title: Spiritual Lighthouse; The Dream Diaries of Ann Marie Ruby

Author: Ann Marie Ruby

Instagram: ann_marie_ruby

Twitter: @AnnahMariahRuby

Published: December 14, 2017

Can be purchased on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Spiritual-Lighthouse-Dream-Diaries-Marie/dp/0692999477

This book is a collection of 40 of Ann Marie Ruby’s favorite dreams that she shares in interesting and easy to read detail with her readers. These collections are not only spiritual but also give much information rooted in science and history which was very appealing and delighting to me. I felt this way as I am a very scientific person who has also always been very interested in the spiritual side of the world, so this was the perfect content for me! Ann Marie Ruby’s collection of dream also presents thought provoking ideas about the application and representation of dreams throughout history in Egyptian, Hindu, and several other cultures and faiths.

Throughout her book, she gives examples of different ways that her dreams have come true or have been a guiding light to her throughout her life and the ways that this has influenced her life and her spirituality. Reading her book has given me a whole new interest in paying attention to and writing down my own dreams and what they could mean to me. I am a person who dreams often and had never taken much time to consider the gift that this was and the things these dreams could be telling me.

This book although based in spirituality would be a very interesting read for any person, whether they feel strong in their faith or not. There is a lot of other very interesting content such as some of the meanings of specific pieces of her dreams, her travels and journey that these dreams have led her on, the history and science of dreams, and much more.

This book will take you some time to read as it is around 300 pages long, but it was such a interesting read and I would definitely recommend this read to others.

I have included the Amazon link to this book in the top of this posting but I have been informed that Ann Marie Ruby has several other awesome books out about many different topics, check her out!

Xoxo,

Katie

Celebrating Earth Day

Photo by Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash

Today is Earth day! While we should be trying to take some time as often as we’re able to celebrate and honor this beautiful planet we are so lucky to live on, today is the perfect opportunity to take a moment to step back and think of some great ways to celebrate and give back!

Take a walk and spend some time outside. If you’re able to, physically connect with the earth by touching it with your bare hands or feet. This direct connection with the earth is called “grounding” and is believed by many to give people a direct connection to the earth’s energy.

Photo by Steve Enoch on Unsplash

Dedicate time and make changes to give back to the environment. There are many ways this can be done and you’ll have to decide upon the one that you enjoy most and fits you best. Ways that this could be done include by planting trees and other plants, by cleaning the environment. You could look into reducing your wastes by getting reusable ziplock bags, straws, and cut out plastic bottles by replacing them with reusable bottles and cups. Try shopping with reusable bags! They’re sturdy, large, and so much better for the environment.

Stay educated! There’s a lot to know about how the things you buy will break down into waste and if they can be reduced, reused or recycled.

Recycle everything that you can! On this topic, make sure that you’re separating everything into the right bins.. Our lovely recycling people don’t want to spend their day doing things that we could have!

Photo by Filip Zrnzević on Unsplash

There’s a lot that we all can do today and every day to thank the earth for all the wonderful days we have on it. What are your favorite ways to celebrate the earth? Have you done anything special today? Hope everyone is having an amazing start to their week!

Xoxo,

Katie

The Many Lessons I’ve Learned From Grief

I’ve recently had my first very complicated encounter with loss and subsequent grief. This is a blessing because it means I’ve been so fortunate thus far as to not have to experience something so painful, but it’s also very difficult because it’s been a little blindsiding and devastating.

This experience has taught me so many things about loss, grief, and coping that I wasn’t ready for and never could have dreamed of, but could not be more thankful for.

I learned that the grief response can be more than the psychological, effecting you physically as well. It can create things in people like pain (or increased pain), nausea, dizziness, and a handful of other physical symptoms.

Grief is something that each individual person feels and experiences completely different. The way that I grieve something and the way that you would grieve the exact same thing would likely be very if not completely different.

Photo by Emma Francis on Unsplash

Grief often influences people’s nightly rest. While people are going through a tough time, it’s more difficult to get to sleep and also harder to stay asleep. On this note, people also have a higher rate of falling ill while enduring long-term stressors.

Something that’s very important to note about grief is that while the grief that I’m currently experiencing is the loss of a loved one, you can have very valid grief about just about anything. You can grieve the loss of a job, the loss of your independence, loss of limb or some kind of injury, the list could go on forever!

I’ve found that while going through loss and grief that self-care has been so important. I’ve found this experience to be so draining emotionally and physically. I’ve relied so hard on my loved ones throughout all of this. I have no idea how I would have made it this far and will continue to make it without them. There truly aren’t enough and great enough words to thank them.

Grief and waves of overwhelming sadness will touch you at random times throughout the day without warning. It’s important to acknowledge it, be with it, and not resist your feelings. Give your grief the space and whatever love that it needs.

Lastly, if you need support or need to talk, be sure to reach out and get the help that you need. You’re not alone and you should never feel alone while you’re going through this process. I hope that anyone else who finds themselves going through any kind of grief is able to cope well, get the love and support that they need, and continue forward with strength and courage. Never hesitate to contact me.

Xoxo,

Katie

Mid-April Affirmations

Firstly, some of you might be wondering just what affirmations are. Affirmations are statements we compose or recite to ourselves or aloud that affect our conscious and subconscious minds. They’re a self-driven way to practice positive self-talk, self-love, create peace and serenity for ourselves and others, among many other possibilities.

April is the start of Spring! This is a time for new and fresh beginnings. Plants have started to bloom and so will our energy. This is the perfect time to start practicing some self-love and putting some goodness into the world with your affirmations.

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Affirmations are something you can make up yourself to be specific to you and your life or can be easily found in books or online. I’m sharing some of my favorites with you here.

This Spring and year….

I am enough.

I am strong.

I am worthy of real and fulfilling love and respect.

I face this new day with energy, strength, and courage.

I make mistakes and that’s okay. I will learn something valuable from each of them.

I forgive myself for my mistakes.

My self-worth is not determined by others.

I am always a work in progress and I am proud of my accomplishments.

I choose happiness.

I will not worry about the things I can’t control.

I am utilizing this Spring as an opportunity to bloom and grow.

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

I hope that if you’ve never used affirmations that you’ll consider giving them a try, they can really re-shape the way your thought process works in a very positive way! Do any of you have a daily or absolute favorite affirmation? Hope you’re having a great start to Spring and are getting some beautiful weather wherever you are!

Xoxo,

Katie

Curious about the best ways to support your mental health? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Start by getting a great night of sleep! Nothing sets you up for a good day like a great night of rest. Lack of sleep often causes irritability, lack of motivation, and an increase in sadness.
  • Using positive self-talk and affirmations. This may sound silly, but when you say “I’m the worst” even jokingly, that has a negative connotation on your personal outlook and self-esteem. Something as simple as telling yourself “you are doing amazing!” is the supportive gesture you deserve to give yourself.
  • Prepare and eat healthy meals. What you eat fuels your body and mind! & On that note, drink lots of water, too!
Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash
  • Take social media breaks. Give yourself and your mind time to relax and recuperate. Social media can be addicting and a source for comparing our lives to others. Use that extra time for quiet time, to write, or to do whatever your favorite thing is!
  • Evaluate your relationships: nourish the healthy ones and distance yourself from the toxic ones. Take the time to verbally thank people for the good they bring to your life.
Photo by Kevin Delvecchio on Unsplash
  • Keep in close contact with your loved ones. Talking with the people you love the most always boosts and supports my mood!
  • Give yourself plenty of time to complete tasks. Rushing creates stress and anxiety, makes people late creating stress and anxiety and perpetuates an unhealthy cycle.
  • Take the time every day to count your blessings. Instead of focusing on the bad, list all the reasons you have to be happy. You’ll be surprised how quickly this begins to permanently change your perspective!
  • Set personal boundaries. It’s okay to say no sometimes. Make sure that you’re not bending until you break.
  • Do kind things for others. Helping other people is good for them and makes you feel amazing, too!
  • Make an exercise routine. Exercising is an outlet for your tension and anxiety, it keeps your mood steady, and keeps your body healthy.

Your mental health is so important and I hope that you’re finding time to make it your number one priority! You can’t pour from an empty cup. Make sure you’re the best you for everyone by treating yourself right. I hope you find some things on this list that you’re already doing and a few more that you’re ready to add on! Happy reading!

Xoxo,

Katie

My Intriguing Journey to Becoming Gluten-Free

Due to a series of unfortunate (and drawn out) events, I found out a while back that I have Celiac’s Disease. For those of you that are unfamiliar, this means I can’t eat anything that contains or has come into contact with any wheat, barley, or rye, collectively known as “gluten”. Yes, that means no beer. Yes, it also means I’ve been cast away from my favorite and most delicious friend, pizza (although I’ve found some decent gluten-free substitutes for both).

Photo by Peter Bravo de los Rios on Unsplash

You all might wonder where this leads me? To the gluten-free isle of the health food section at Hy-Vee, tears just rolling down my face, with nothing but vegetables in my shopping cart. “Is this how I die? From starvation?”, I think to myself. It’s really too bad that none of this came with a manual.

So, how’d this all begin?

About two years ago, I began having terrible migraines. I had loads of testing done with no real answers. I was put on medication that had terrible side effects and didn’t help me much. After lots of medication changes I was finally able to feel like a human again- most of the time. I started to develop this really weird rash after meals occasionally and then began to develop stomach pain and cramping, tachycardia (fast hart rate), trouble sleeping, and severe fatigue. I spent about a year’s time very uncomfortable and more than confused. I finally began keeping a food journal, had quit drinking alcohol, and was eating close to a completely plant based diet just trying to be the least miserable I could be. 

Even with the food journal, I wasn’t able to draw clear lines between what might have been causing my problems. It was my boyfriend who finally suggested gluten as the culprit. “You’re ridiculous”, I teased. As time went on, though, it began to make sense. I stopped eating gluten and the headaches, rashes, and all the other symptoms resolved. I called my doctor with all of this information and the nurse said “just avoid gluten then, you should be fine”. I said, “shouldn’t I have some kind of testing to verify? Shouldn’t I have it on my record, officially?” “no” she said, “you should be fine”. As I spoke with my boyfriend’s sister who is a dietician, I found out that if it did need to be verified, I’d have to re-introduce gluten into my diet and then eat it for SIX WEEKS. No thanks. I called the doctor’s office back and made an appointment to have my blood drawn and see the doctor. He said he believed clinically I had some intolerance but the blood work would prove if I had an allergy. 

I received news of my allergy shortly after and we discussed a few options of where to find some educational materials. For me, this was a fairly new disease that I knew little about. I didn’t know anyone with this dietary restriction at this point and I surely didn’t know all of the sneaky places gluten could hide. Unfortunately, I went through months of avoiding most foods (and eating out) for fear of feeling ill. 

Luckily, I’ve learned a whole lot in a little time and am back to being able to eat the right things without too much fear and without generally having to suffer any consequences from it. If you or anyone you know has a gluten allergy or intolerance and you ever have questions or would like to talk, please don’t hesitate to speak with me!

Does anyone out there have any dietary restrictions that they have or have chosen for themselves? It seems that our lives and entertainment kind of revolve around food (at least in the U.S.). How have these dietary restrictions affected your lives?

Thanks for reading! Hope you’re having a great week!

Xoxo,

Katie