Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - #healthynurse Spotlight Series - Brenda Lee Word-Williams, RN, BSN, CMSRN 4303

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - #healthynurse Spotlight Series - Brenda Lee Word-Williams, RN, BSN, CMSRN


Nurse uses HNHN community to stay motivated and live healthy.

Having a community of people around you who understand and accept you is a rare and remarkable thing.

When you feel understood, you relate more to others and are probably more open to showing your true self. Finding a community that embraces you can cure loneliness, and it’s a crucial component of emotional and mental health.

That’s why community is such a central part of #healthynurse Brenda Lee Word-Williams’ story. She credits her family — including her significant other, her daughter, her grandchild, and the Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ community — with benefiting her well-being.

If you participate in the HNHN online community, you may have seen Brenda’s supportive comments. She’s an active contributor there, often encouraging others and sharing her own healthy living successes.

The HNHN community motivates Brenda to practice healthy habits every day, which include:
  • Eating right: Brenda prioritizes eating healthy. Her diet includes plenty of oatmeal, fruit, eggs, tea, salmon, shrimp, meat, and potatoes. Brenda keeps portions small and only indulges in moderation.
  • Physical activity: Brenda lives close to a football field with a track, so she walks there every other day. Getting outside for a stroll is her favorite form of exercise.
  • Mental and spiritual wellness: Brenda uses apps to listen to calming sounds, like waterfalls, every day. This helps her relax and takes her mind off any stress or anxiety she’s feeling. As a spiritual person, she also reads daily Bible passages, which builds her inner strength and reassures her that everything will be OK.

“All these healthy tactics help get my mind in the right place,” says Brenda.

Challenges Become Motivators
Choosing a healthy lifestyle isn’t easy for Brenda, especially since she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her knees more than 5 years ago. But Brenda channels the diagnosis into motivation — she knows keeping her weight down through healthy eating and exercise helps with her condition.

“My diagnosis made me more driven,” says Brenda. “At first, I was really afraid but seeing a rheumatologist has helped me.”

Another motivator for Brenda is her grandchild. Brenda wants to take care of herself, so she can play with her granddaughter, take her on outings, and spend time with her for years to come.

“I want to enjoy my retirement in about 7 years — to travel and do things I haven’t been able to do,” says Brenda. “I can only make that happen if I’m healthy.”

And that’s where community comes in again.

Brenda deliberately surrounds herself with people who keep her focused on prioritizing her well-being. Whether it’s her grandchild who wants to play, her significant other who understands the importance of her mental health, or the HNHN community who holds her accountable — they all want her to be well.

“I don’t like to disappoint other people or myself,” says Brenda. “Being in the HNHN group helps me stay accountable. And it reassures me that I’m doing a great job when I see other people my age doing similar things.”

Brenda’s Advice
It’s easy to put your wellness at the bottom of your to-do list, especially if there’s no one in your corner rooting for you. Brenda recommends that nurses strive to:
  • Persevere: Keep going and don’t give up. Taking care of yourself isn’t easy, but in the long run, you’ll be happy you kept pushing forward.
  • Believe in yourself: Know that you can do it.
  • Find your community: Surround yourself with people who believe in you and encourage you.

Brenda Lee Word-Williams, RN, BSN, CMSRN is a nurse at Rush University Medical Center.

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Blog #healthynurse Spotlight 01/02/2023 10:12am 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.