Take the Time… 

 In Work Life Balance/Worksite Wellness

When we were little kids my dad would sometimes call us out into the yard to have a look through his telescope. It was often during the colder months, and we would shuffle out in our pajamas (despite my mother’s protestations), to gaze at some celestial phenomenon or another. When the opportunity to see something was particularly rare, he would tell each of us how old we would be when we could see it again. My father seemed to have a way of making time stand still. Sometimes he was asking us to contemplate the wingspan of a hawk, to be really quiet and listen to crickets, or to look very carefully for the first crocus on a walk in early spring. He cultivated in us a sense of value in taking a little time out each day to enjoy something simple. Whenever I hear the expression “the best things in life are free”, I think of what I learned from my dad.

Since this month’s theme is “work/life balance”, I wanted to take a little time to mention some of the things we can do to improve the quality of our lives as we muddle through the week. Instead of reserving relaxation for our days off, we could integrate relaxation into each and every day.

When is the last time you took a walk through your neighborhood? Have you exercised today? All you have to do is put on your sneakers and head out for twenty minutes. Be sure to notice the scents and sounds of your surroundings. Is it freshly cut grass, the scent of a rainstorm coming? Is it silent but for the sound of your sneakers on the pavement? Be present during your walk. For those twenty minutes focus on where you are and revel in being alive. When thoughts of work or other responsibilities come to the fore of your attention, let them float away. They’ve got no business bothering you during your walk. You’ve spent between eight to twelve hours at a job and you must now add a workless experience to the other side of your life’s scale.

(Click here to read about the Japanese practice of “forest therapy”.)

Do you ever engage in yoga or meditative practices? If you don’t have time to get to a yoga studio, consider unrolling a yoga mat in the yard or in your home and trying one of the hundreds of videos available online. You can do many of the yoga routines in less than thirty minutes!

(Click here for a link to a video on yoga for flexibility.)

(Click here for a documentary on the science behind yoga.)

If you are feeling stressed out during the day and don’t have time to break for meditation or yoga, why not take a few minutes to lower your cortisol? Try a “power pose”. (Click here for an enlightening video on how changing body language can change the way one feels.)

Want to take some time to relax and can’t get to a quiet place? Why not utilize sound recordings from nature to go to your happy place. During your break, pop in your headphones and try one of these:

(Click here to listen to the sound of whales.)

(Click here to listen to the sound of rain.)

(Click here to listen to the sounds of the rainforest.)

(Click here to hum along to Michael Buble!)


Each day, don’t forget to pack yourself the lunch you would make for someone you love.

Drink at least a big glass of water at the start of the day, another at lunch, and another in the evening. Shoot for 6-8 per day, but do those three no matter what.

Before going to sleep, why not open up a window for a few minutes to let in some fresh night air? Get enough delicious sleep. (Click here if you want to know how to get a better night’s sleep.)

This week, make it a point each day to spend at least one hour of QUALITY time on you! It doesn’t need to be fancy. It just needs to be something just for you. And when you finally get the hang of it, empower a fellow nurse or family member to do it too!

Stay tuned for more on September’s theme of work/life balance.


Lisa Ertle and the Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation – NJ 2017 Team

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