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

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

Mindfulness Monday

Happy Monday, everyone! I’d like to get everyone’s work (any otherwise) week started off the right way with some awesome tips on being mindful this and every week.

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Although this is very difficult, try to do one thing at a time. Completing one task at a time allows us to really be present in the moment with whatever it is that we’re trying to accomplish.

Along with being present in the moment, try not to think too much about the past or the future. Being with this moment allows us to cherish the now and avoid anxiety about what’s been or what’s to come. 

Photo by Keegan Houser on Unsplash

Don’t dwell on the past or mistakes that have been made. Spending too much time with these things only allows them to limit and hurt you. Recognize these feelings, be with them, and then move on from them.

Realize what you can and cannot control, practice acceptance of these facts, and practice keeping a positive outlook on things. You cannot change the past but you can change how you deal with things and how you act going forward.

Be kind to yourself, you deserve it! You are doing your best and your best is really great. Listen to your (and others) feelings without passing judgement. Over time you’ll find that this will give you some new insights into your feelings as well as the feelings of the people around you. You can use these insights to better communicate your feelings and with other people.

Photo by Marko Blažević on Unsplash

At the end of your day, list 10 things that you are grateful for. What are things in your life that you love the most dearly? We spend much of our day focused on tasks and concerns, when we could be thinking of all of the really great things that we all have to be thankful for. The things that I am especially thankful today and each day are my loved ones, my educations and my ability to use it to help other people, my good health, and that warm weather is finally coming (YAY!).

I hope that everyone is having a great Monday. Let’s all start this week mindfully and try to keep that momentum going throughout the rest of the week. I hope you’re able to learn something new and practice at least one of these mindfulness activities today and each day this week!

Take care!!

Xoxo,

Katie

Spring cleaning your space and your mind: The necessities.

Although my heart is saying spring, where I’m at the weather is not yet so nice. Regardless of this fact, it’s never too early to get a jump start on cleaning and organizing your life and mind! Sometimes this daunting task can seem overwhelming and you may not even be sure where to start.

Decluttering your physical space.

It’s often difficult to part with your belongings and if you’re anything like me, you can easily justify exactly why you should hang it back up in the shadowy depths of your closet, to be reckoned with another day. It’s important to go through and evaluate what is really important to us and what’s not. Eliminating all the extra distractions and clutter hugely decreases stress and will give you a fresh start to the warmer months!

Photo by krystina rogers on Unsplash

Important things to ask yourself when going through your closet include:

– Have I used or worn this item in the past year? If you haven’t used it in the past year of even 6 months, chances are that you probably aren’t going to use it any time soon.

Photo by Duy Hoang on Unsplash

– Do I realistically have plans to use or wear this item in the near future (and does or will it fit properly?). Is this a formal dress you have plans to use shortly? If so, then fine, you can keep it. If not, don’t trick yourself into keeping the clutter.

– Is the only reason that you’ve kept this item because it holds sentimental value for some reason? Is this your favorite skirt from high school but will probably not fit again? Is it a t-shirt that you CANNOT part with but can instead have a portion held in a picture frame?

– Is this item of something that I feel absolutely amazing when wearing? If the answer is maybe, sometimes, or no, the item can probably go. 

Decluttering your mental space.

Cleaning up your mental space can often be a bit more challenging and proves to take a more conscious and consistent effort on our parts. But nevertheless, it can and should be done so that we can live in our best and happiest state.

Ways to declutter and clean up your mental space include:

– Regularly practicing gratitude. Making gratitude a priority will shift your frame of mind from the negative to the positive, ridding it of some of those pesky thoughts.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

– Be patient with yourself and the people around you. What you show others, you’ll receive in return. Manifesting a patient and caring environment inside and out of your mind will enrich

– Let go of the thoughts that aren’t currently serving you. Dwelling on thoughts from the past or thoughts that are negatively affecting you are a waste of your time and energy. Use that time and energy for anything more productive toward you and your happiest mental space.

made by me w/ Word Swag app

– Practice positive self-talk and affirmations. Just like regularly practicing gratitude, regularly practicing positive self-talk and affirmations completely re-wires the way you think to be more positive, supportive, and happy and have less negative thoughts.

– Meditate. This exercise for your mind helps you to be more mentally clear, have less racing thoughts, and to feel more centered and calm.

Spring cleaning is important in many different ways and gives a lot of us a fresh start to warmer weather. It’s hard to get started, hard to get through, but always rewarding. What are your favorite ways to spring clean? Hope everyone has a great start to their week!

Xoxo,

Katie

Thankful Thursday

I’d like to start out by saying that I hope that everyone is having a great Thursday. I’m not sure about anyone else’s week, but mine has been long and trying. We’re so close to being done with this work week! Throughout this demanding week I’ve been keeping things in perspective by trying to focus on the countless things I have to be thankful for right now. I believe when times get tough, I believe it’s so important to consider making a little shift of attitude and perspective to help to shine a little light on any situation!

Although my job can be very difficult, I’m beyond blessed to be able to spend my life taking care of people’s physical and mental wellbeing, educating patients and their families on a multitude of different topics, and getting the opportunity to make amazing connections with people on what would otherwise be the worst days of their lives in the emergency room.

I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to be continuing my education at my first-choice university (GO HAWKS!!). I’m so fortunate to be able to continue to learn and grow throughout this journey. This degree is also something that I could never be achieving full time while working full time without the hugely amazing support system I have. They’ve been encouraging me and supporting me from the beginning and the end is finally in sight!

Something that I often take for granted because it’s something that always seems to be there is my pretty constant state of great health. I am reminded often by taking care of my patients that there are so many people in the world who would wish for nothing more than to have good health again, and I am so glad to have mine.

I’ve been blessed with the most wonderful family, parents, friends, boyfriend, and his family. I could really not be more happy or lucky had I hand-picked them all. I know that no matter how terrible of a day or week that I have, that it will pass, that I have this great support group and many people to call and make plans with even if that just means wine on the couch. Life is so much better with my loved ones.

Lastly, I’m thankful for my ability to look for and see the positive in even the worst of situations. My parents worked hard to teach me this and on my worst days, they and my boyfriend remind me how to see this way again.

For all of these things I am thankful this Thursday and each day! What are some things you are thankful for today?

Hope everyone has an amazing rest of the week, hang in there!

Xoxo,

Katie