I didn't take fitness and proper nutrition seriously until I had my first child. Being a new mom and working 10-hour days, 5 days a week as a nurse was challenging. Caring for myself properly soon went out the door. I would only care for my family, my patients, and would never stop to care for me.
Soon I gained so much weight that I was unable to fit in any of my clothes. I was constantly fatigued and found every excuse not to start making changes "now". One day I had a conversation with my patient about weight gain, the results of poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle and I realized I needed to take my own advice. How can I credibly speak words to patients that I don't practice myself?
I decided that 3 days a week I would take a moment for myself and I would be consistent about it. I decided I would engage in activities that promote health and that I would not find one excuse not to do it! I treated workout days as if it were something that I had no choice but to do. I only ate foods that I knew were healthy choices and considered the alternative health results every time I wanted to make an unhealthy decision. Now I will admit this meant getting up at 4:30 am on some days so that I could get exercise in before work. It was hard at first but it soon became a way of life. I thought, I'd rather wake up at 4:30 am a few days a week now rather than to be in the ICU 30 years from now for months at a time due to stroke.
These behaviors became a habit for me and 3 months later I was back in my clothes, but best all, I had energy. I now had the motivation to go the extra mile when needed . This was a level of health that I had never experienced before and I wanted to share it with my daughters. I wanted to encourage them to incorporate these behaviors into their everyday life. I wanted to share my experiences with my patients and let them know they can make a change too! Most of all, I wanted to share it with my colleagues to help them remember to care for "self" first.
I recognized that a fellow nurse, Cara, shared my passion. We both knew all too well how being a caregiver often places you in giving mode, so much so that you forget about yourself. We knew other nurses might feel the same way-so we wanted to provide a platform that allows them to care for themselves from a health perspective. That is how Nurses 4 Ever Fit™ was born. It is our wellness advocacy initiative for nurses by nurses. we have created an environment that promotes fun, fitness, and fellowship. Nurse 4 Ever Fit™ now hosts monthly wellness events for nurses throughout the Atlanta, Georgia area. We have recently spread our touch to a national level by initiating our #nurses4everfitchallenge in the month of July. Nurses all over American were urged to choose a health/objective and post on social media when they engaged in the behaviors as a way to encourage other nurses to do the same We were excited to see the response from nurses all over and learned some great recipes and exercise, I must add!
Victoria Randle, NP-C, is a Family Nurse Practitioner, with over 10 year of nursing experience. Currently she practices in the urgent care setting PRN and is also the owner of The CNA Instructor Consultants, a consulting firm that helps individuals to start CNA schools in all 50 states.For even more information on Victoria and Cara's collaboration see this blog.
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