Be The Healthiest You in Your Busiest Season

We asked our friend Clara, of @clarascleaneats to give us some much needed advice on how to stay healthy during this crazy time of year! Below you'll find her tips and tricks to stay on track while working 12 hour shifts or finishing up school.

As healthcare providers, we not only get to wear PJs to work, but we also have the opportunity to be role models in the way we live our lives. Just take a step back and think...

Whether you are a neurosurgeon, respiratory therapist, family nurse practitioner, or patient care technician, we all commit to improve our patients’ lives. We have this amazing platform to promote healthy lifestyles through leading by example, yet we don’t take full advantage of that! How can our patients trust us with their health if we neglect our own?

As a first year BSN-RN student, I have been stretched in ways I didn’t even know were possible. My nursing program has taught me how to care for patients, perform sterile skills, communicate effectively, and work alongside other healthcare professionals. But in the midst of validations, papers, clinicals and exams, I’ve maintained my healthy lifestyle. If this pizza and beer lovin’ girl can do it... So can you. So wherever you are in your journey in the medical world– you’ve got this. Do it for you, do it for your patients.

Let me preface by saying this: It ain’t easy. But like you may have all learned through residencies, studying for boards, and those 12 hour shifts, nothing worth having comes easy.

1. Plan AheadEvery Sunday night, I get my wall calendar, planner, to-do list, and phone. Along with deadlines, meetings, and important dates, I plan my meals and workouts out for the week. This helps me tremendously to stay on track, and reminds me to only get the really important things at the grocery store. (Except chocolate. Always get chocolate.)

2. Set Goals – In the same way that we set short-term and long-term goals for our patients, we also need goals to stay on track. In my planner, I set short-term goals, such as exercising AT LEAST 3 times a week. In the notes section, I set long-term goals for myself, such as maintaining my GPA so that I may be initiated into Sigma Theta Tau next year. Having clear goals and aspirations keeps us from merely dreaming, and pushes us to act.

3. Stop Dieting – Forget the Atkins diet, Beyonce’s lemonade diet, or the 1 meal a day diet – unless you have Celiac disease or lactose-intolerance. I hear people say all the time, “I hate diets. They never work!” That’s because they don’t. Diets are created with a time-frame in mind. After that time frame, you are bound to go back to your pre-diet ways. This means you will go back to your pre-diet weight/habits. Instead, adopt a “diet” that will sustain you for life. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be enjoying my burger rather than obsessing over the calories in it.

4. Something is Better Than NothingIf you miss 1 out of 3 workouts this week, shake it off. You worked out 1 more time than you would have without this goal! That is a feat in itself. Instead of stressing out and beating yourself up about it, use it to fuel another gym sesh next week. You worked out 2 times more than you would have without this goal! That is a feat in itself. Instead of stressing out and beating yourself up about it, use it to fuel another gym sesh next week.

 

5. Educate Yourself – Learn about the foods you’re eating. Learn what “low-fat” and “sugar-free” really mean! Learn how each muscle is used in each exercise, and learn how you use those muscles in transferring patients and running to the crash cart. Knowledge is power.

6. Stay Focused on your Goals – It’s easy to skip a workout because you just don’t feel like it. It’s easy to order takeout, rather than making dinner after a long day. But I can say with certainty that you will not regret a workout and the glorious endorphins. You will not regret taking some time out of your day for yourself.

7. Treat Yo Self – Last but not least, treat yo self! *Insert Donna and Tom in Donna’s Mercedes-Benz* This is all about making a gradual lifestyle change. You don’t need to cut out all carbs immediately! You don’t need to say goodbye to your favorite molten lava brownie! You don’t need to restrict yourself from the things that you love to have a healthy lifestyle. Kale and quinoa may be good for your body, but pasta, Netflix and wine are good for the soul.

Clara Moon is a first generation college student at Georgia Baptist College of Nursing at Mercer University. When she's not at a coffeeshop studying for pathology and pharmacology, she's trying out new recipes or making a green smoothie after the gym.