BREATHE!

from Creative Commons

 

We all do it. We rarely think about it. Most of us do it pretty much the same. There are

differences though – through the nose, through the mouth, quietly, noisily, using the

chest, using the abdominals, fast, slow, deep, shallow. Nurses and doctors listen to your

chest to hear the sound of your breath in your lungs. There are a lot of different sounds

there; crackles, wheezes, sometimes it even sounds like a washing machine, and

sometimes there isn’t much sound or even none at all.  Are you doing it right? Are you

getting the most bang for your buck from your breathing?

chest to hear the sound of your breath in your lungs. There are a lot of different sounds

there; crackles, wheezes, sometimes it even sounds like a washing machine, and

sometimes there isn’t much sound or even none at all.  Are you doing it right? Are you

getting the most bang for your buck from your breathing?

there; crackles, wheezes, sometimes it even sounds like a washing machine, and

sometimes there isn’t much sound or even none at all.  Are you doing it right? Are you

getting the most bang for your buck from your breathing?

sometimes there isn’t much sound or even none at all.  Are you doing it right? Are you

getting the most bang for your buck from your breathing?

 

Teaching us to breathe is a waste of time:

we all do it all the time.

 

But, is it really a waste of time? What happens to you if you don’t breathe properly?

Why is breathing important? We need to get oxygen into our bodies and carbon dioxide

out of our bodies to keep us alive. Our cells need oxygen.

 

How to Breathe Properly

The above link has some interesting information.

Below are the differences between proper and improper breathing

Proper vs. Improper Breathing

Proper Breathing

Effects pretty much every part of the

body. It oxygenates the body, revitalizing

organs, cells, and tissues.

Improper Breathing

Can cause problems for many systems in

the body, including the immune,

circulatory, endocrine, and nervous

systems.

Fuels energy production Mental fog
Improves focus and concentration Dizziness
Eliminates toxins Numbness
Strengthens the immune system Anxiety
Improves bowel function Chest pain
Reduces stress, tension, and anxiety Digestive problems
Increases feelings of calmness and

relaxation

Irritable bowel
Can lower blood pressure Neck and shoulder pain
Increases metabolism, aiding in digestion

and weight loss

(Karen Lee Richards. http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/coping-162182-5.html)

 

Courtesy of Curtis Wallace

 

I regularly use breathing to give me a boost when I am starting to droop in the afternoon

or early evening. At other times, I use breathing to relax and lower my heart rate. I also

encourage my life-coaching clients to breathe properly. Breathing deeply so that your

abdomen expands is one good way to ensure you are getting oxygen to the lower lobes of

your lungs; they are sometimes a bit short-changed. Give some different breathing

techniques a try.

 

Click on the link below and try the breathing exercises.

Three Breathing Exercises from Dr. Weil

 

from Creative Commons

 

 

 

 

 

Choose the Law of Attraction: Think Positive

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Choices, choices, choices: there are so many choices we have to make.  Have you ever come home from work & you decide to go out for dinner with your partner?  Your partner asks “Where do you want to go?”  You think for five seconds & say “I can’t make another choice today; it is just too hard.  You choose.”    So often we hear people, especially on TV say “I had no choice?”  Well guess what “We always have a choice”.  Sometimes our options are pretty bad (think about any election, not just the most recent); but, nonetheless we choose.  Not choosing is making a choice; something to remember.  The apathy of choosing to go along with what others decide will still produce consequences for you.

Choice is a huge topic; I’m going to focus solely on the choices we make for ourselves.  An overarching choice we all have, that affects all our other choices, is the choice to think positive or negative.

What thoughts are flowing through your mind right now?

Close your eyes for just one minute: what thoughts did you have?

  • Why am I sitting with my eyes closed when I have so much work to do?
  • I need to make a dentist appointment.
  • I wonder how the kids are really doing in school?
  • Is my boss happy with my work?
  • I need to wash the floor.

Are your thoughts generally positive or negative?  Think hard on that one?  How often do you get frustrated or angry when driving, shopping, interacting with your spouse or children, thinking about work, thinking about your weight?  How often are you happy or excited when you think about your spouse or children, your work, your weight, going for a walk, spring, spending time outdoors, your pet(s), or a vacation?  Whatever your answers; the choice is yours.

 

 “I strongly believe in the law of attraction.

When I am in a positive mood, I attract positive situations;

vice versa, when I am in a bad mood, more negative things seem to happen”.

Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum

 

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You might not believe in The Law of Attraction; & that is okay.  Sitting & thinking (dreaming) about what I want hasn’t gotten me anywhere; I was taught that hard work is the way to success.  However, I see lots of people working very hard & not getting ahead, not achieving their dreams.  I was very scared when I quit my job as a salesclerk to go back to school to become a nurse.  I had two small children to support & I hadn’t been the best student in high school. But, despite only having a grade 11 education, I made the choice.  I decided I would succeed.  But, I also knew I couldn’t do it alone.   I asked for help from the people I knew loved & supported me, including my ex-husband.  They all assisted me & helped me through my two years of school.  I am very grateful to have had such support.  Though I didn’t know it at the time, I now recognize the choices I made empowered The Law of Attraction & how my positive thoughts helped me to succeed.  I had to work very hard, & sometimes I wasn’t thinking positive; sometimes I cried because it was so hard & I didn’t know if I could make it – but, I pushed those thoughts aside.  I am so glad I did.

Dr. Mario Lehenbauer-Baum stated “I strongly believe in the law of attraction. When I am in a positive mood, I attract positive situations; vice versa, when I am in a bad mood, more negative things seem to happen”.  He goes on to say that circumstances don’t change immediately.  Our now experiences are a result of thoughts & actions taken over the last several years.  I encourage you to follow the link above & read more about The Law of Attraction.

 

like attracts like

 

Think Positive!  Have a positive outlook?  For me that is something like taking a placebo – I don’t care the placebo isn’t a real drug, so long as it works & makes me feel better.  If thinking positive can fool my brain & make me feel good; then I am going to think positive as much as I possibly can.  What do you need to make you feel better?  Could a change of thought or attitude make you feel better?  Would you be willing to give it a try?  I’m all in to try this out.

Can you think positive all the time?  Of course not – remember you are human & that means you are not perfect. Don’t be too hard on yourself.  But, if thinking positively makes you feel better for even a short period of time I think it is worth a try.  This beautiful video came across Facebook today about  Spreading Positivity.  I am sure just watching will bring joy to your heart.

A choice I have made is to give people the benefit of the doubt; sometimes I have gotten hurt, but overall it has served me well.  As a university assistant professor I told my students; “I trust you to not cheat, to be honest; I am not naïve though & I have life experience; so, if you choose to cheat or be dishonest I will not ignore it & there will be consequences”.  There are consequences for all of us, regardless of what choice we make.  I am not perfect by any means – I get angry because I have not bothered to think of the other person: I have blamed others for the way I feel i.e. you hurt me; when I know I can only be hurt if I allow others to hurt me.  Yes, your behaviour surprised me & destroyed my perception of you.  I will grieve for a while; because the vision I had of you was shattered.  But, it was my image, not yours; so I need to get over it.  The positive thought – I had a great time, I have learned, & now I move on to the next adventure of my life.

 

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What you think about is what you get.  That is the Law of Attraction.  I encourage you to think positively.

I am happy, all is good

I also encourage you to take a moment & read The Desiderata

 

 

 

I’m so busy, I hardly have time to breathe!

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Does this sound familiar?

Joe: “How are you?”

Busy as usual, not even time to take a breath.  How about you?” Jane says with pride.

“The same” Joe proudly responds.

Why are they both proud of this?  What has happened to bragging about the time you have for family, fun, golf, travel, or just plain reading?

Are you rushing from one activity, one task, to another?  How much do you have on your plate?  With all the things you are doing, do you see what is happening around you?  What about those changes you have been trying to implement at work; are they actually taking place, but you just haven’t noticed, or have they been totally ignored & you haven’t followed up?  What is happening with your spouse, partner, children – do you really know?  Of course you know, all activities are on the big home calendar that everyone uses so the family knows who is where & what each member is doing.

My husband & I have lived very busy lives for many, many years.  He continues to have a very busy life; but, due to health issues I have been forced to slow down.  When this first happened I was upset that I could not carry on with all that I was doing.  Friends said to me, “there’s always something good in everything; so there must be something positive for you in this”.  I agreed, but to be honest, it took quite a while before I found that being forced to slow down was actually a blessing.  As I slowed down I started to feel better physically & enjoy life again.  Now l just need to convince my impatient, curious self that I cannot say “yes” to everything I am interested in or want to do (I am learning, but am a bit slow at times).  I am learning I have to make choices & set priorities.  If I don’t take care of myself – physically, mentally, emotionally, & spiritually – someone else is apt to have to make those choices for me & set my priorities.  I don’t like being told what to do, so I must listen to my body (husband, friends, & physicians) & do what is best for me.  Doing what is healthy for me has actually allowed me to do many things I have been wanting to do for years – like writing a blog, offering life coaching, & writing a book.  And, I am finding time for my spiritual, mental, & emotional health in addition to my physical health.

What are you missing with your busyness?

  • Are you running the kids from one activity to another, but not having time to stay & watch them – unless you have your laptop with you so you can work?
  • Are you running from one activity to another but not really enjoying the activities?
  • Do you peak in on your staff & because no one tells you about a problem, you dash on to your next activity?

My husband is a diver.  He has often commented to me how many divers stop briefly, see a fish or two & then swim off to see what else is lurking beneath the waves.  He hangs out a bit longer, hovering silently in one spot & sees more fish & other underwater creatures that come to him, that come out of hiding when all is still.  What if we did that in our day-to-day lives?  Can you be still & silent for a minute.  Give it a try.  How hard was it?  If we can do this for a little longer what might we see & learn?

 

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I am doing my best to share what I have learned & experienced to promote self-care; especially self-care of my nursing colleagues through my blog, web-site, life coaching, & HeartMath®.  I have seen that what we are taught in nursing, about wellness being made up of physical, mental, emotional, & spiritual health is true. And, while we remember to take care of our physical health we forget the rest.  When did you last do something for your mental, emotional, or spiritual health?  What is that little inner voice of yours saying?  Are you sleeping well? Do you have too much stress and/or worry in your life.  Where do you get support?  Do you go to church, meditate, pray, or take time to reflect on your day, your life, or those things for which you are grateful?  Do you just sit outside & enjoy the beauty of our world? I challenge you to take just five minutes each day for one week, to sit outside still & silent; then reflect on what you saw, heard, & what you feel (maybe even write down your reflections).

I would love if you would share your experiences so we can maybe learn from each other.

 

Nurses! Self-Care is a Must: Stop Being Bullied by Your Workplace

As a nurse how many times have you told family members to go home?  Go home or you will get sick & not be able to help your loved one.  As a nurse, has anyone ever told you that?  Probably the closest you have gotten has been “don’t come near me & infect me with whatever you have”.  Nurses know that when they stay home sick they may not be replaced; therefore, colleagues will be left to pick up the extra work.  Working short staffed, you hope an extra coffee, maybe a chocolate bar or some donuts will provide extra energy to get through.  But, that only works for so long & then the next person gets sick & the cycle continues.  This is a familiar story that every nurse knows all too well.  You are not doing yourself or your colleagues any favours by continuing in this cycle of destruction.  As a nurse you are a leader: lead yourself by caring for yourself.

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As nurses we know what we need to do:

  • eat a healthy diet
  • get adequate sleep
  • be physically active
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • have a strong social support system
  • live in a healthy community
  • spend time with your family
  • make time for yourself
  • keep your brain active
  • embrace your spirituality
  • listen to your body

Of course this is easier said than done; the culture of ignoring self has been around for a long, long time. This is just the beginning; remember you are not selfish when you care for yourself.  If you do not care for yourself you will go from being a caregiver to someone needing care, & possibly be a burden to your family.  No nurse wants to be in that situation.

For two years I struggled with increasing fatigue, repeated sinus & other respiratory illnesses.  With prolonged physical problems, my mental status was slipping into the doldrums; I wasn’t depressed, but it was starting to seem that might not be far away.  I was prescribed time off work for ‘burn out’.  Though I felt much better after six months off, I did  not return to my previous state of health, & the amount of progress I made vanished within a very short period of time.  Eventually I was able to get back to work on a very restricted schedule, but within 4 months I had the same old respiratory illnesses, extreme fatigue, & body aches.  More time off, then a repeat of the same thing.  During this time – we’re looking at close to 2 years now – I was a slug at home.  I’d get home from work & collapes; no energy for anything.  My poor husband didn’t have much of a wife & was doing housework, shopping, & cleaning.

At about the one & a half year mark I finally got a diagnosis: I had an autoimmune disease (PBC) & it was responsible for the extreme fatigue.  Though I thought knowing the reason would help, & it did, mentally, it did not help my energy level, if I overdid I got quite ill.  This was distressing as I loved my job, loved being a nurse, but I could no longer work.  Unfortunately, I still couldn’t do much at home either, & was missing out on many of the things in life that I enjoyed.  If I had listened to my body & if I had taken better care of myself would it have made a difference?  Could I have prevented my autoimmune disorder, or could I have maybe felt better for longer?  No one really knows; &, that is the past & I am moving forward.

This is not about me, I’m doing ok & I have learned a lot; but, I hope my story inspires you to care for yourself.  I found out my workplace didn’t really need me.  My family managed, though they all had more work to do & none of them really needed that, especially because of me.  So what will you do?

My questions to you are these:

  1. Are you happy?
  2. Do you love your job?
  3. Are you happy with the amount of time you have for yourself?
  4. Are you happy with the amount of time you have with your family?
  5. Are you satisfied with your health?
  6. Do you feel you are missing out on anything?

You know what the answers should be: what changes do you need to consider?  How will you make these changes?

I believe every nurse is a leader; whether he or she thinks so.  But most important everyone must know thy self, must lead thy self.  Self-care is difficult: our culture puts so much pride in working too many hours, working too hard, not having time to eat well, or get enough activity, going to work when ill, not taking vacations, & not having time for self that we brag about these ‘hardships’.  I don’t think this makes much sense: do you?

What can you do?  Start with yourself, talk to your colleagues: can you support each other in a quest to be healthy & happy?  I am passionate about nursing & leadership: I hope to see the changes I have been championing come about in my time, but I need your help.  Let me see the initiatives demonstrating nurses caring for themselves.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”.

-Mahatma Gandhi-