Laura Hall, RN
Laura Hall, a nurse at Forks Community Hospital, once considered herself “fit enough” and “healthy enough.” But was she thriving?
“No,” she says. And she was far from what she’d known as a young, active volleyball player with a strong foundation in health and fitness.
But in her early 20s, Laura started nursing school and found her first year to be particularly challenging. She was bypassing her own health to stay up late to study. She was drowning in overwhelming responsibilities as president of the nursing club and a newlywed. To say she was stressed out would be an understatement.
“I bought into the idea that nursing school was supposed to be hard and miserable,” said Laura.
That stress was affecting her health. She no longer exercised like she used to, and her fitness deteriorated. That’s when she realized: It wouldn’t make sense to become a nurse and take care of others if she wasn’t taking care of herself first.
Making a Change
This realization gave Laura the motivation to make her second year of nursing school happier and healthier.
She placed more emphasis on herself. At-home workouts gave her back the structure and support she was missing. Packing healthy meals and snacks brought nutritious foods back into her life. She made getting enough sleep a priority.
That second year of nursing school, her grades didn’t suffer despite spending more time on herself and less time studying. Her brain was getting enough sleep, which was helping with concentration and memory.
“I felt great, and it carried over into my life as a nurse,” said Laura.
Life as a Nurse
As a nurse working afternoon shifts, Laura now uses the mornings as time for herself. She gets eight hours of sleep each night. She wakes up and feels like she has the entire morning to work out and focus on healthy habits.
Sure, Laura experiences setbacks. But they usually happen when she’s not prepared — like when she doesn’t pack a healthy lunch and finds herself splurging on café meals that don’t make her feel good. These setbacks give Laura more motivation to be proactive and prepared.
As a nurse, Laura understands the health and wellness challenges that nurses face. Her advice:
- Give yourself grace. Society has this huge misconception that we have to do everything. It’s OK to rest. Take care of yourself.
- You have to be disciplined. Motivation comes and goes. People are always waiting to feel motivated, but you’re not always going to be. Stick with it.
- Start small. Don’t overhaul your entire lifestyle in one day. Take it one habit at a time. How can you drink more water today? How can you eat an extra serving of vegetables at dinnertime? Keep building on small wins.
Laura Hall, RN, is a nurse at Forks Community Hospital in Forks, Washington.
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