Joseph (Joe) Treimel 4287

Joseph (Joe) Treimel

Retired nurse continues beekeeping, running, cycling, and cooking to stay well

Building healthy habits over your lifetime allows you to do things the average person can’t do. It opens the door to complete wellness that can last a lifetime — physical, mental, and emotional. That’s what retired nurse Joseph (Joe) Treimel has personally witnessed.

Years ago, when he attended his 15-year high school reunion, Joe saw the results of unhealthy lifestyles in his classmates who were once athletes. This motivated him to take better care of himself — both mentally and physically.

Joe decided to take up running because it fit into his schedule as a full-time nurse, part-time student, husband, and father. He still runs 3 days a week and it has impacted his life in multiple ways.

With time, I found that while running, I was able to process personal issues and problem solve,” says Joe. “It was exercise, but it was a means of reducing stress, too.”

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Nursing and Beekeeping: More Alike Than Different
About the same time as the reunion, Joe embarked on a new hobby: beekeeping. Growing up, he had neighbors who kept bees and the activity always intrigued him. Turning to this hobby during adulthood gave Joe another outlet to escape the stressors of everyday life. Even in retirement, beekeeping feeds him.

“I’ve always enjoyed the feeling of having my hand in nature and working with bees,” says Joe. “Managing the bees involves a lot of critical thinking, which is also what we do in nursing.”

Managing bees means keeping them healthy and strong. For example, if left to fend for themselves, parasitic mites can overtake a beehive and kill it. Through beekeeping, Joe helps ensure this and other problems don’t grow within the hive.

A healthy beehive results in honey, but it gives Joe so much more. With beekeeping, he sees the positive difference that comes from creating healthy outcomes for the bees. It’s a lot like nurses who help their patients manage health difficulties. The altruistic benefits of seeing a patient get better are similar to the benefits of helping bees thrive. And at the end of the day, it was your efforts that made it possible.

Beekeeping also helps Joe get his mind off other things that might be stressing him out. While working in the hive, his mind is focused on the bees as he pushes mental burdens aside.

“Beekeeping is relaxing for me because I’m focused on the bees and it takes me away from things that are mentally stressful,” adds Joe. “I simply put all of my thoughts into the bees.”

Cycling for Mental Clarity
Over the years, Joe also took up cycling. He enjoys bicycling 2 to 3 times a week, 15 to 40 miles per ride. He loves it for both cardiovascular and mental benefits — this is another activity that helps Joe unwind. He enjoys it so much that in 2021 he completed the Empire State Trail where he rode over 750 miles in 11 days.

“During that ride, I had an objective to cover a certain distance and a plan to get from one place to the next,” says Joe. “I averaged about 77 miles per day, and I also got to enjoy the scenery and historical sites as I was riding.”

Not everyone can complete such a strenuous ride, and Joe credits his healthy lifestyle for helping him accomplish it.

Cooking for Wellness
In addition to being a runner, beekeeper, and bicyclist, Joe is also a cook. Ever since he can remember, he has prepared meals from scratch, allowing him to avoid processed and prepared foods. He prefers simplicity with his meals, opting for plates of cooked vegetables and pasta with a simple, homecooked tomato sauce. For snacks, Joe munches on fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We know prepared and processed foods are more likely to contain unhealthy ingredients,” says Joe. “That’s why I avoid junk food, fast food, and other processed foods as much as I can.”

Through it all, Joe finds motivation in the physical and mental benefits he’s experienced from his lifestyle. All these habits have helped Joe stay healthy and better cope with stress.

“I can get out and run or cycle and other people will say, ‘I wish I could do that,’” says Joe. “And what motivates me is that I can do that.”

Joe’s Advice
Establishing these healthy habits early in his life and continuing them today has helped Joe become the healthiest version of himself. Now as retired nurse, Joe has a refreshed perspective about what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle. His advice for other nurses:
  • Be patient: Changes don’t happen overnight, they take time. Results will happen, but they won’t happen instantly.
  • Never stop learning and growing: This is just your starting point. Everyone must start somewhere — keep going.
  • Do what you enjoy: Find an activity that not only benefits your wellness, but also brings you enjoyment.

Joe Treimel is a retired nurse and a member of Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ New Jersey.

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Blog #healthynurse Spotlight 11/22/2022 3:45pm CST

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The #healthynurse Spotlight is a shout out to nurses who are making changes in their lives to improve their health and wellness. You can too! Read their stories for inspiration here.