Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - #healthynurse Spotlight Series - Maria Creed, BSN, RN, CCM
Nurse finds joy in travel, food, and friends, even after the death of her son.
When something terrible happens, it’s easy to let it pull you into a black hole of negativity. But a change in mindset has the power to turn something negative into something positive.
It’s easier said than done, but #healthynurse Maria Creed, BSN, RN, CCM, has been able to accomplish this feat. She’s faced many hardships over the years, the biggest being the death of her 8-year-old son. While it took some time, she’s learned to use healthy coping mechanisms (including having a positive outlook) to get through.
For example, thinking about her son’s death used to fill Maria with unbearable sadness and grief, understandably. Now, looking back, she’s been able to think of his death as the day he was born into heaven, which brings her much-needed peace and comfort. This powerful way to reframe her loss gives Maria the emotional, mental, and physical strength she needs to stay well.
In addition to these critical mental shifts, Maria also focuses on what brings her joy. She’s learned what works for her, including:
- Making time for herself and her family each day
- Trying new hobbies like scuba diving or hang-gliding
- Meeting new people with similar interests
- Traveling somewhere different at least two times a year
- Getting outside every day for a walk
“There is something for everyone, all you have to do is go out and try things,” says Maria. “Find what makes you happy and more excited about life.”
Making Memories With Family While Traveling
One of Maria’s most beloved traditions is traveling with her other son, who is in his late teens.
“I was working a lot when my son passed away, and I decided I needed to spend more time with my other son,” says Maria. “Work is important, and I love my job, but I needed to do more with my family.”
The pair made a pact to take road trips and travel somewhere new at least twice each year. Some of their favorite trips have been to foreign countries like Mexico and big cities like Chicago and New York.
Traveling to unfamiliar, exciting places allows Maria to try new things (like scuba-diving) and make memories with her son. The two especially love finding local, mom-and-pop restaurants with delicious, made-from-scratch meals.
A Vibrant, Social Life
Beyond traveling, Maria prioritizes spending time with new people. She recently met a group of international women who get together at local restaurants to socialize and dine. This group introduced Maria to vegetarian Indian dishes, which she discovered she loves.
“If I hadn’t met this group of women, I never would’ve tried unusual and unique Indian dishes, and learned how much I love them,” says Maria. “I’m not the most outgoing person, but I’ve learned that putting yourself out there and meeting new people means you might find something new that you like.”
As a self-described foodie, Maria also loves cooking new dishes at home. She’s currently working her way through a delectable vegetarian cookbook. Mango slaw on whole grain bread with mashed avocado is one of her favorite newfound dishes.
Doing More for Herself at Home and at Work
As a nurse, Maria loves what she does for a living. Caring for people is her calling. But she also knows there’s more to life than working.
“I love my job, I love working, and I love the relationships that I have at work,” says Maria. “But I decided to do more things for myself.”
Maria enjoys getting outside for some fresh air and going for a walk. Even when she’s inside four walls working, she’s thinking about and prioritizing self-care. As a Well-Being Champion, Maria encourages other nurses to focus on their wellness. She strives to lead by example and inspire others through her own actions.
“Everything I ask my team to do is something I’m already doing,” says Maria. “If I say let’s walk, or let’s do a certain challenge, it’s because I’m doing it, too.”
As the person who brings wellness activities to the team, Maria enjoys improving her own wellness while helping others. For her, it’s a win-win. And with her well-rounded approach to self-care, she’s a wonderful example of what mental, emotional, and physical wellness looks like.
“The future is important, but it’s not something that’s guaranteed,” says Maria. “Try to live for today — don’t leave it for tomorrow.”
Maria Creed, BSN, RN, CCM, is a nurse and Well-being Advocate for Humana.
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