RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "care for the caregiver"

Throwback Thursday: Your 10 Step Guide to a Rockin’ New Year

By Carol Ebert, RN, BSN, MA, CHES, CWP

The word TRANSITION means the passage from one form, state, style, or place to another – CHANGE!  Some of you are cringing thinking about change, but others are thinking – BRING IT ON!  How many transitions are you experiencing right now?  From holiday over-eating to New Year reckonings about weight?  From worrying about money to wondering what else you could do to increase your income?  From working in a job that is not a fit for you to wondering what else you could be doing? From leaving the workforce to enter the world of retirement and not knowing how to adjust? Transitions are everywhere at any time and can be perceived as negative or positive.  I prefer the latter and have some thoughts to consider.

T – Trust your instincts.  Rather than be caught off guard when things change, take the high road and note what your gut is telling you about what it going on. Keep in mind the change you are experiencing might be just what you have been secretly wanting!

R – Reset your eating and exercise program.  Have you been stuck and know you want to get healthier but not sure how to make the first move? I’m sure you have dealt with this before, so reflect on what helped you be successful in the past and recreate those steps.

A – Adjust your thinking from I CAN’T to I CAN.  See yourself healthy, happy and whole.  Send time every day imagining yourself being your best and being grateful for all that you are and have.  Hang up pictures to visually represent what your goals look like so you can start living in that body even before you get there.

N – Notice what you need right now. Go outside right now for a walk.  Yes – right now!  By yourself!  Take a notepad and pen along because great ideas are sure to surface while you are walking and you may want to write them down before you lose them.  Focus as you walk on what you really need right now to move forward thru this transition. This will be your starting point.

S – Set goals in alignment with your values to create the life you love.  Have you ever taken the time to really ask yourself what you want? Yes, you know what your mother wants for you, what your kids want, what your partner wants, and what you “should” want.  But what do you really want?  Write down 3 dreams you have for a more complete life and post it where you can ponder it.

I – Integrate all your skills into a single focus.  By now you have probably acquired a lot of great life and work skills that make you the fantastic talented person you are.  During this transition, you might find that it is time to put them all to good use and see what emerges.  Write down a list of everything you are great at – write until you can’t think of anything else – at least 30 things.

T – Train yourself for new skills.  After I had acquired all the skills I thought I needed in life, I opened up myself to what might be next for me – the key – being open to possibilities.  What showed up for me was “wellness coaching”, or some people call it “life coaching”.  When I was searching for “what’s next for me”, a friend coached me and after just 2 sessions, I had a new direction, a plan, and I was on my way again.  I loved the experience so much, I was trained to be a coach as well as a coach trainer.

I – Invite new opportunities.  When I was transitioning out of the workforce and into my own independent wellness business, I needed to figure out how to earn money while still doing the work I am passionate about.  Because I remained open to new ideas, I was presented with a way to help people get healthy as well as make passive income that could grow over time.  The key was to stay open to new ideas and give them a chance to see if they could work for you.

O – Own up to what is best for you. Not sure what direction to take as you transition?  Your guide should be how you “feel” about what you decide to do.  As they say, if it feels right – do it?

N – Now is the time to reinvent yourself.  I wrote a whole chapter on this in the book Wise Women Speak – Choosing Stepping Stones Along the Path.  My gift to you is a free download of this chapter by logging on to my website http://carolebert.com/meet-carol/free-ebook/

Enjoy the process of your transition.  Remember, it’s about the journey not the destination.  Fun times ahead!  Contact me at any time for support – carol@carolebert.com.

The dangers of compassion fatigue

Nurses are the frontline of patient care, making them the most susceptible to compassion fatigue, a state of mental exhaustion caused by caring for patients and their family through times of distress. It’s important that nurse managers are aware of the risks, identify the signs in their staff, and provide guidance to nurses that need it. While the increase in stress and unhappiness caused by compassion fatigue are evident, some of the other consequences are less obvious:

Increased medical risk: Compassion fatigue can lead to an increase in medical errors due to a lack of communication or inability to react. Nurses suffering fatigue can become unsympathetic, self-centered, and preoccupied, to the detriment of a patient’s care. To read more about this connection and how to counter it, check out Reduce Nurse Stress and Reduce Medical Error from HealthLeaders Media.

Decreased retention: The increased stress and potential trauma associated with compassion fatigue can drive new nurses away from the field. The American Association of Colleges of Nurse reports that 13% of newly licensed RNs work in a different career within a year of receiving their license, and 37% said they were ready to change careers. Many reported that the significant, ongoing emotional stress was a factor in their dissatisfaction.

For more information on combating nurse fatigue, check out the Health and Wellness section of the Strategies for Nurse Managers Reading Room:

Don’t underestimate damage caused by burned out nurses

Preventing nurse fatigue
Beat nursing stress and stay calm and collected

Free Excerpt from HCPro’s new Critical Thinking book!

Avoiding Autopilot

CTB Cover

Rarely are we genuinely thoughtless—that is, without thought. But often we are not giving our thoughts much consideration. In today’s world, there is much distraction and sometimes we are guilty of distracting ourselves just to prevent our minds from focusing on the things that are most important (electronic devices proliferate and give us many opportunities to engage in mindlessness). So, to be genuinely able to think about thinking, we must avoid going onto autopilot.

Autopilot is the state of being where we are largely going through the motions, not thoughtfully engaged in the activities of life. It is when we arrive at our destination but cannot remember the traffic on our commute, or taking the last turn or even whether we stopped for the traffic signal or not—it happens to all of us, and that is autopilot. The key is in recognizing when it is happening and being willing and able to intercept your unconscious mind and instead coax it to be present in the real-life situation you’re living. It is learning to move our conscious mind from nowhere to now here—a subtle but essential difference!

Being present in the moment is the essence of mindfulness, and it is powerful! Mindfulness wakes us up to sensations we have been failing to notice. It reveals patterns in our activities that we’ve become blind to. It permits us the full engagement in the reality happening in front of us and even within us, silently, steadfastly, sacredly. Mindfulness may enable us to improve our health, connect more successfully to other people, enlarge our thinking, focus our perception, and even strengthen our intuition. Mindfulness is the polar opposite of autopilot!

To read more, visit the HCPro Marketplace

 

Rock Your Health: How to get what you want every time you ask

I know – that doesn’t sound possible. But how would you like to raise your odds of success?

Have you ever wanted something to happen to improve your life and it just wasn’t happening? No matter how hard you tried? Maybe you were trying too hard and need to slack off a bit. Sometimes we block our desires by pushing too hard and then get frustrated thinking “Why aren’t I getting anywhere? I’m working as hard as I can and getting nowhere.”

Here’s an example. I was teaching a class for teachers on how to bring positivity into the classroom using the Law of Attraction and suddenly realized that as much as I know about all the ways in the world to attract great things to my life, I still don’t always practice them. This class became a reminder of that, so I’d like to share with you five tips to help you do less, feel better and attract more.

Here are some tips to get you started.

  • First decide what desire you want to manifest for yourself
  • Create a Vision Board that represents what your desire looks like and display it where you see it every day
  • Schedule time every day to focus on your desire in a relaxed state
  • Practice techniques you enjoy daily that relax you like meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, exercise, listening to relaxing music, etc.
  • Keep a journal of all the things you start manifesting as proof that it works

Now you will be on your way to getting what you want (almost) every time you ask. I would love to hear your comments about this.

Rock Your Health: Overcoming the “Summertime Blues” with a wellness twist

We’re halfway through summer and I’ve had more hot dogs, cakes, s’mores, barbecues, and party dinners then I handle. It’s all good because I get to celebrate with friends and family, but I’m feeling out of control with my eating.

Wouldn’t this be a great time to reassess our healthy lifestyle choices and maybe consider tweaking a little bit? Here’s an idea for you. I do a brief wellness review twice a year to see how I’m doing about staying on a healthy path. I also use this as a tool for all my coaching clients as they embark on a new lifestyle path, so it might be very helpful for you right now as well.

Just email me to get a free download so you can do your own reassessment to start getting back on track and ready for fall. Have fun with this!

Rock Your Health: 10 Life lessons from the blackberry patch

Picking blackberries is my ZEN thing to do in the summer, as it takes me away from the usual city stuff and allows me to become re-connected to nature and who I am. And since I am also a Life Coach, I see the application of my experience to those of you who might like to do some soul searching as well.

Here are my thoughts on the experience of picking in the patch. YOU can decide how this can apply to your life.

B – Be prepared before you enter the patch.

Shorts and tank tops are not picking attire. Blackberries grow on long prickly vines that not only scratch me easily, but can wrap around my ankles and trip me if I start moving too fast. I prepare and protect myself with long-sleeved shirts and pants, preferably denim, socks, and shoes, no sandals.

L- Listen to the sounds of the woods for guidance.

If birds are chirping pleasantly, bugs are buzzing around making a lazy sound, leaves are fluttering in the breeze and I feel calm, then all is well. At a moment’s notice, however, I have heard a screech or a squawk or a fast rustling thru the woods and know that something is up! It’s amazing if I don’t have the distraction of all the “people noise” that the sounds of nature are there to guide my survival in very basic ways.

A – Analyze your next move before you take the first step.

Before I start to pick, I scan the entire patch and get the big picture of how I will proceed. Where is the best entry point that provides the easiest access, has the least amount of entanglements and yields the biggest return. This is a “prickly” venture and can lead to a lot of scratches, so I need to be strategic and move carefully as I proceed.

C – Check behind you often.

Sometimes when I keep moving forward as I pick, I only see one side of what is available. When I turn around periodically, I see more berries that I might have missed if I were always looking forward. I like to use the “turning technique” by planting my feet in one spot and picking in all directions before I move on, so I can see all the angles.

K – Keep moving deeper into the patch.

The best is yet to come. The first glance does not reveal the true bounty that lies within. As you go deeper, you start developing the “eye” for what you are looking for and you start seeing more of what is there than you originally thought. And berries always appear smaller from a distance, so when you get up close and personal, you really can see how big and beautiful they really are. Of course moving deeper into the patch means more vines, more stickers, more scratches, but no pain – no gain. It is well worth it to forge ahead.

B – Berries that fall to the ground before you get to them are a gift.

Two things are happening here. If you get overly greedy and try to pick too many berries at once with your hand, there might be overflow and they might fall out of your hand and onto the ground. The positive spin on this is that there might be a critter on the ground that had a wonderful berry drop from the heavens right down to the ground in front of it – and it perceives it as a gift! So instead of getting frustrated when you lose the perfect berry, think of the joy that critter feels when it appeared.

E – Expect to experience some pain

I never make it out of the patch without a few scratches, mainly on my hands with exposed skin, but if I pick slowly and steadily and avoid quick moves, I keep it to a minimum. There will be times when you are tempted by a beautiful cluster of ripe berries to reach farther than you should, and then it is easy to get off balance and fall, or pull a muscle. Again, slow, deliberate, and calculated movements reduce the possibility of pain and suffering.

R – Rejoice over the experience.

Appreciate the bounty you are harvesting, how nature provides such delicious and nourishing treats, that you have taken the time to be with nature, be with yourself and be “one with the berries”. The best stress management tool there is for grounding and it’s all FREE.

R – Ripe berries have the best flavor and are easiest to pick.

The biggest berries are the ripest and sweetest, and they are the easiest to pick. When you hit on a cluster of them all ripe and ready, you can cup your hand around the whole bundle and they slide easily off the vine and into your hand. Very smooth! Most of the time the biggest and ripest are found in the shade or hidden among leaves, so when you find them they are a complete surprise. I always get excited when I find them – and usually shout out to my picking partners – “I’ve found the mother load!” So always keep your eyes open when picking, because the best berries might not be in full view, they might even be very low under a lot of brush and you might have to look a little harder to find them.

Y – Young berries need more time to mature

Just because a berry looks ripe doesn’t mean it is. You’ll know right away if it is ready to be picked because if it hangs on tight to the vine and you can’t easily guide it off, it’s not ready. A gentle tug will tell you if it is time or not. If you start pulling too hard you could mash it and then it is of no value to anyone.

So if you want to coach yourself today, ask yourself – How does this apply to your life?

Rock Your Health: Gluten-Free for You and Me?

How much gluten are you consuming daily and it is affecting your health?  Just look around at work at how much is staring in your face daily.  Check out these facts.

G – “Gluten” refers to proteins that occur naturally in wheat, rye, barley and cross-bred hybrids of these grains

– Labels on foods using the claim “gluten-free” now must have a gluten limit of less than 20 ppm (parts per million)

– Until now, celiac patients did not know what the words ‘gluten free’ meant when they saw them on a food label

T – Three million people in the United States have Celiac Disease which is 1% of the population

– Eliminating Gluten from the diet is a big challenge for those with Celiac Disease

– Now the FDA has set guidelines for the use of the term “gluten-free” on food labels to help people with celiac disease maintain a gluten-free diet.

 

F – Foods that contain gluten trigger production of antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine which limits absorption of nutrients and leads to other serious health problems, including nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, growth retardation, infertility, miscarriages, short stature, and intestinal cancers.

– Removing Gluten from the diet is the only way to manage Celiac Disease

– Eliminating Gluten from the diet will also improve life for many others who are gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive.

E – Eliminating the following from food will allow food manufacturers to use the label “gluten-free”

  1. an ingredient that is any type of wheat, rye, barley, or crossbreeds of these grains
  2. an ingredient derived from these grains and that has not been processed to remove gluten
  3. an ingredient derived from these grains and that has been processed to remove gluten, if it results in the food containing 20 or more parts per million (ppm) gluten

Want more support around this issue on how to live a gluten-free lifestyle?  Email me at carol@carolebert.com

Rock Your Health: Are your joints starting to act up?

As the Nurse of Wellness that I am, my belief is that I am unstoppable and will live forever. Can you relate? But the mechanics of my body have a different story to tell. Over-use syndrome of doing too much, in too much of a hurry, and not honoring the fact that my body might need to slow down a bit to move safely and not get hurt  took its toll on my knee.

Yes, I was on crutches with a swollen left knee from just squatting down briefly.  Go figure! But I have learned from this experience. YES – ONCE AGAIN – another learning experience!!

  • I had to ask for help, even when it pains me to do so
  • I had to do less and the world didn’t end because I’m not scurrying about
  • I had more time than I thought and could catch up on reading and making calls to reconnect with others – you know; all that old-fashioned stuff we don’t always seem to have time to do.
  • I became more efficient with my movements because I had to rest my knee more often instead of being in perpetual motion
  • I received visitors who brought me great food and great conversation
  • I discovered how valuable friends are who will rally around me when I am down and out
  • And finally, I learned that my joints need more respect as I age so I don’t injure myself needlessly.

So as I healed with ice, elevation, powerful anti-oxidants, essential oils, relaxation, ibuprofen and crutch-walking, I realized we are all on this journey of aging so I hope you give your “joints” a chance to serve you to the best of their ability. Respect them and they will carry you through.

Be well on your journey!  Would love to hear your story about how nursing can be tough on your joints!  Email me at carol@carolebert.com

Rock Your Health: 6 Daily habits you should definitely steal from history’s greatest “Creatives”

Are you exercising your “creative juices” as you move forward with your latest challenges? Did you know that being more creative makes life more fun and improves your health too!  Apparently famous creative people over history use “wellness strategies” to improve their creativity. Check it out!

Napping: Charles Darwin took a nap every day. Studies show that “sleeping on it” really does work. And while the idea of catching a few moments of rest midday may be perceived as lazy, it can actually be way better for productivity than trying to soldier through a particularly sleepy afternoon.

Wellness tip – I do something similar by taking 30 minutes to groove on my Chi Machine for relaxation. Not only do I get a great BUZZ when my Chi (energy) is flowing freely, but I often fall asleep as well!

*How often do you take time for a nap and what benefit do you receive when you do take one?

 

Being social: Lots of history’s greatest thinkers regularly visited and dined with their friends, which can help fend off the loneliness of being a creative entrepreneur.

Wellness tip – I am attracted to others with creative minds and when we are together we are “in the flow” where ideas come easily, they bounce back and forth and we have great fun. And feeling good doing what you love in the company of others like you is good for your heart and soul.

*How often do you tap into the creative juices of your naturally creative employees?

 

Exercising: Charles Darwin took 3 walks per day. Charles Dickens took “strenuous walks” through the countryside. Victor Hugo took long strenuous walks on the beach. Milton walked up and down his garden. Freud walked around Vienna at “terrific speed”.

Wellness tip – Exercise really kicks in my creative juices so I not only receive cardiac health benefits from my Jazzercise class and walking outside, but I also come up with even more ideas I can use. I often have to stop in mid-exercise to write down something brilliant I just thought of.

*What is your exercise routine and what creative thoughts occur when you are doing it?

 

Taking breaks: Giving themselves a chance to do something other than work in the middle of the day, whether it be a lunch with family or a quiet project, was popular with many of the greats. W.H. Auden did the crossword. Charles Darwin played backgammon with his wife.

Wellness tip – Breaks are hugely important for optimal health but I have to schedule them in or they don’t happen. We can work hard, but we need recovery time just like with exercise. So every 2 hours I stop and take a walk, have a cup of tea with a snack, or do a relaxation exercise.

*How often do you take breaks in your day – and make sure your employees do the same thing – to give the body/mind a chance to recover?

 

Decompressing at the end of the day: René Descartes and Charles Darwin both regularly allowed themselves time in bed at the end of every day to think about their day and come up with ideas, and, it’s safe to say, they didn’t do it with the TV on.

Wellness tip – I declare an end time every day or I will not stop working. The computer gets turned off and stays off, then off to exercise class followed by down-time eating and visiting with my husband to wind down for the day.

*What is your plan for decompressing from the day?

 

Sleep: Tchaikovsky, Hugo, Beethoven slept 8 hours each night, Dickens, Franklin, Darwin and Milton slept 7. And the majority prepared for sleep by winding down with reading, playing cards, conversation, listening to music, taking a bath.

Wellness tip – And today the old adage of sleeping 7-8 hours each night for rejuvenation still stands. I make sure the bedroom is dark, the windows are letting in fresh air and because I easily awaken to outside sounds I have a setting on my clock that creates the sounds of rain to block that out.

*What are your sleep rituals and how well are you doing with them?

 

Hopefully these “creative” ideas from past and present will be just what you need right now! And if you need a “Life Coach” who can help you sort it all out, contact me at carol@creatingwellnesscultures.com

Dealing with secondary trauma for mass-casualty nurses

Many emergency nurses are used to dealing with badly injured patients and sudden death, but when it comes to caring for victims of mass shootings and their families, the healing process can be very different. Lesa Beth Titus, BSN, RN, a trauma coordinator for Mercy Medical Center that treated victims of the mass shooting in Rosburg, Oregon, told Nurse.com that nurses think they are immune to the everyday tragedies of the emergency department, but the aftereffects of a mass casualty incident were very different.

Studies show that repeated exposure to traumatic events can have a similar effect to experiencing trauma directly; this experience of trauma is referred to as secondary trauma. One study found that about one in three emergency nurses experienced anxiety, depression and sleep disorders, while one in 10 showed clinical levels of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). David Tetrault, PhD, MDiv, who worked as a chaplain at Banner-University Medical Center that treated victims from the Tucson, Arizona shooting, said that a mass shooting adds another layer of complexity, as it calls into question your personal values, which makes coping more difficult.

The public nature of mass casualties can make it more difficult for nurses suffering from secondary trauma as well. The media attention can serve as a constant reminder of the event, delaying the return to normalcy that many seek after a traumatic experience.

What can help nurses suffering from secondary trauma? It’s important to recognize that everyone reacts differently, and it’s important to respect that. Joy A. Lauerer, DNP, RN, PMHCNS-BC, explains: “We know that trauma is long-lasting and that it affects the brain and neurological systems… and some people process trauma more readily than others.” Struggles with trauma can last for years, and the trauma can be retriggered as well.

Basic self-care can have a positive effect on those dealing with trauma; eating well, proper sleep and exercise can all help the healing process. Talking with friends, family and others with similar experience can also help. As a manager, there are variety of stress management tools to help workers, and some hospitals have used protocols developed for first responders for their staff. A staff debriefing can be helpful, but it’s also important to checking in with staff regularly and provide them with voluntary ways to express themselves.

While it might be difficult to consider, having some preparation or training in place for dealing with traumatic experiences can help staff heal. As Lauerer points out, “[Emergency Departments] do a lot of disaster preparation. But I don’t think it ever prepares you for what this is going to feel like.”

To read the “The healer’s journey” article series, click here.

Want to receive articles like this one in your inbox? Subscribe to Nurse Leader Insider!