Heroes Need Self-Care Too

An interview with a Registered Nurse

“A pandemic is not what we chose, but a pandemic is still what we’ll do.”

Nicole in her nursing attire
– Nicole, Registered Nurse

This quote is from my sister, one of the millions of nurses across the globe that was battered by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nicole is a Registered Nurse at a local hospital, and already in her first year of being a nurse in the field, she was confronted with the unprecedented world of the COVID unit.

I am truly inspired by her, and all the other healthcare workers for the true grit and selflessness they have displayed in the past year. I decided to ask her some questions, so we could all take away some bits of advice on how to stay well during the pandemic. So please make yourself comfortable, and read up on the inside scoop of the healthcare world in 2021, and how workers stay positive.

(Responses edited for clarity and length)

Q: What are your tips for staying mentally and physically healthy?

A: “Physically, wash your hands, and take care of yourself. Eat good, rest, drink lots of water. It’s not always easy to do, but these are things you can do to take it back to the basics when you don’t feel well. Mentally, try to do something you like to do, even if it’s just for a short period of time. Sometimes a quick reset is all you need to get you back into the swing of things.”

Q: How do you decompress?

A: “I spend time taking care of no one but myself, or having to worry about anyone else. I also like to be outside. I like to self-pamper like taking a bath, washing my face, doing my nails, and working out. On my few off days, I like to pack them with time with friends and family.

Q: Do you see anything positive coming from this pandemic in terms of the healthcare field?

A: “I feel a few positives would be, first showing how valuable nurses are. We are more than just a nurse, we are there for the most crucial moments in their lives.”

“Sometimes we are the last person that someone interacts with before they pass away, or helping them get out of bed for the first time. It’s those moments of helping patients through their bad times and good times that make it special.”

“Another positive is that we are going through something for the first time together, so we are forced to brainstorm and work together even more, which I think is a good takeaway to have for the rest of our careers.”

Q: How are you and other healthcare workers feeling now vs. at the beginning?

A: “At the very beginning no one knew what to expect, so there was fear and uncertainty. Then there was success and excitement when things started to go right when we started to figure some things out and be more prepared. But now there’s honestly just a lot of exhaustion since it’s been close to a year of this. The vaccine helps give people some hope, but there’s good feelings and bad.”

Q: Do you think COVID nurses are feeling more exhausted in particular?

A: “Yes, there’s no question. There originally was an idea of ‘let me take it one shift at a time because that’s all that we’re prepared for’ whereas now it’s ‘let me take it one shift at a time because I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring.’ You can’t focus on how long the pandemic is going to last, focusing on today is all the mental capacity or energy we have right now.”

Hearing herself she gave a nervous laugh, “This sounds so negative,” but sometimes you have to go through the negative parts in life to truly appreciate the positive.

Q: How have the supplies or treatments evolved over time?

A: “At first we were told to conserve gloves because we simply did not have the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that we needed. Now we struggle with simply having the sheer rooms for these people, or having enough staff to care for patients. [More rooms and more staff] are the supplies that we don’t have, and that’s something that you can’t really replace or prepare for. Another interesting thing is how much we have learned throughout, and how much the treatments have changed, such as our source of oxygen and medication.”

Q: What has been the thing you have struggled with or been challenged by the most?

“If you ask most nurses, the reason they went into nursing is because they wanted to care for people and to help them in their biggest time of need, and see them get better.”

A: “The most troubling struggle for me is that we don’t see most of our patients get better, most of our patients just get worse. Yes, we see some people get better, and those successes are nice to see because they help make up for the bad. It’s just hard not to dwell on all the bad sometimes. Another really frustrating thing is when people who haven’t seen the inside of a hospital or COVID unit feel that they should give their opinion or advice. It just feels like as a nurse right now, you can never do enough. And that thought wears on you. It’s all just exhausting.”

Q: What do you tell yourself during the really hard days and moments?

A: “First, I try to brush off the opinions of people that don’t know what it is like right now. As far as with the patients, it’s the little victories. It’s good to look back and think ‘even though I don’t feel like I had a good day, it was a good day because of these reasons’. I think it’s good to look at the positives because if you constantly dwell on the negative, you are really going to feel that burnout.”

Q: Lastly, is there anything you want to say to people outside of healthcare, or to your fellow healthcare workers?

A: “To other healthcare workers I would say: Keep it up, I know it’s exhausting, but someone is looking up to you. Someone is always looking at you thinking ‘wow they’ve got it together, they’re doing something good’. To families of loved ones in the hospitals: Trust that we are doing what we can. We feel for you not being able to see your loved ones, but we promise we love them and are treating them the best we can. To the general public: Don’t make a joke of things around nurses because we have seen things you can never even imagine, but we’ll never be the ones to complain about it. That’s because it’s the profession we chose, it’s the profession that we love. We will still be the nurses that will go running toward a situation instead of away.”

“Just know that we are doing the best that we can every day.”

My parting thoughts

Nicole then rose from the couch, eager to get out of her scrubs from her shift. With my mom calling us for dinner, I sat there for a moment on the couch, feeling both thankful and astonished. I realized how lucky I was to be sitting next to a hero at the dinner table. We would not have made it through the last year without our healthcare heroes, and I want to make sure that will not go unnoticed. So if you are reading this, and you are in healthcare, thank you. Thank you for your absolute selflessness, and for the sacrifices you’ve made in your life for others. Keep your head up, and just know we are all looking up to you. I truly believe there is light at the end of the tunnel, and when we reach the other side, it will be because of you.

In sincerity,

Lauren

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✨Wellness Wednesday✨

Let this stand as a reminder to be kind to yourself because not every day is going to be amazing. It is perfectly fine to let yourself feel the emotions you feel when you are down because it is in dealing with these emotions that you make progress with your mental health rather than bottling everything inside. There is no one form of progress!

Go BIG!
#bigfoothealth #gobig #wellnesswednesday #mentalhealthcheck #bekind #progress
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✨Wellness Wednesday✨

Love the world. Sounds like a simple statement, but it’s not. It requires choosing to embrace and love the difficulties in life. It involves believing in all the good in the world. It necessitates waking up every morning and choosing to love the world because it encapsulates so much life. It is in this that you will find happiness, so Go Big and choose to love the world and it just might love you right back.
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Try posting some of your favorite quotes, lyrics, and verses (like this one) around you as helpful reminders to be the best you can! Go big!
#gobig #bigfoothealth #lovetheworld #wellnesswednesday #love
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✨Wellness Wednesday✨

The best way to start achieving your health goals is your mindset, the goals of striving towards the best that you can be! Of course, you may have days where that goal seems so far away. But it is POWERFUL to hold onto that thought in the back of your mind that says, “I can do this!” So remember that being healthy isn’t just about running a mile or eating your fruits and veggies, but also to take care of your inner health!

Go BIG!

#healthylifestyle #mindsetiseverything #bigfoot #bigfoothealth #gobig #wellnesswednesday
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✨Wellness Wednesday ✨

With Valentine’s Day being last Sunday, we all know the importance of cherishing and caring for our loved ones. However, do we ever look at ourselves of our Valentine? Have we looked at our reflections in the mirror and only had negative thoughts? That’s why, at Bigfoot Health, we challenge you to start giving your love NOW to yourself, because you deserve it!
#bigfoothealth #gobig #selfcare #selflove #wellness #healthylifestyle #positivevibes
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With all good things comes moderation, and this includes caffeine! We all need that burst in our day, but just remember your caffeine limits. Go BIG, and crack a smile after you sip your morning coffee! ☕️😄

#healthylifestyle #caffeine #bigfoothealth #healthyliving #gobig #selfcare #healthiswealth
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As the late Nipsey Hussle once said “Hard work and dedication”, Consistency is key in pursuing a healthy lifestyle. To what ever you put your mind to stay dedicated! 💯 #gobig#Bigfoothealth#consistencyiskey🔑#dedication#practicemakesperfect#juggling#hardwork ...

Working out should be a celebration of yourself, of how much you can do and how great you can feel about yourself! Of course, as much as we stress on “pushing limits”, it’s healthy to understand what we currently can’t handle. It’s great to take care of ourselves! So remember, Go BIG in the way that works best with you! 💯

#bigfoothealth #gobig #pushyourlimits #takecareofyourself #healthyboundaries #workout #workoutmotivation #healthylifestyle
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Don’t get stuck in the stillness!

Keep up with your hobbies, and don’t be afraid to try new ones! Studies show the abundant benefits to partaking in hobbies and having structured down time.

GO BIG and try something new today! It’s never the wrong time!

#gobig #bigfoothealth #moveyourbody #healthandwellness #skating #winter #hobby #somethingnew
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Are you nervous about the COVID-19 vaccine? Wonder what getting vaccinated was like? If so, check out my interview with my sister, an amazing healthcare worker, on the Bigfoot Health blog (link in bio)! Go BIG! 💪

#bigfoothealth #covid #pfizer #moderna #healthyliving #healthcareworkers #vaccines #wellness #gobig
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Hey Bigfooters!
I interviewed my sister, a registered nurse, about what the past year has been like as a healthcare worker, and how she stays healthy.

If you want to hear about the insightful things she said, click the link in bio!

#bigfoothealth #healthcareworkers #nurse #healthandwellness #gobig
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💫Wellness Wednesday💫 Take this quote from poet and activist Amanda Gorman who recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” at the presidential inauguration. We cannot be unmotivated, we are the light that will guide the next generation to success with unity. #bigfoothealth#gobig#wellnesswendesday#motivation#presidentialinauguration#bidenharris2021#amandagorman#poem ...

Today, we honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, a national day of service. Go out and do something good for someone, whether it’s sending care packages, virtually volunteering, or being a companion to someone!

It is also equally important that we strive for intersectionality and cultural awareness not only today but keep it a continued conversation! It is a known fact that health disproportionately affects BIPOC communities, and that’s why learning and uplifting their voices in healthcare is so important.  At Bigfoot Health, we want to promote dialogues, awareness, and health for all, and this is what makes us whole.

Check out our blog (link in bio) written by the amazing Tajuana Lordeus on cultural humility, and keep Dr. King’s quote in mind as you start your day.

Go BIG!

#mlkday #intersectionality #bigfoothealth #supportbipoc
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