Another Crazy Holiday in the ED

I’ve been an emergency room nurse for over 30 years. I’ve worked many holidays, and for lots of reasons, it’s holiday madness. This past Monday, Labor Day, didn’t disappoint! Craziness! But I made some time last night to answer the questions about health and priorities that I had challenged you to think about over the holiday. Let me share some of my answers to the questions I offered before we move on.

Is Health a Priority to Me?

My top 3 priorities in the big picture of life include daily fellowship with God, loving and serving my family, and improving my health. Health was in my top three! Was it first? No, I didn’t immediately think of health when I started my list. But as I looked at my daily “to-do” list, I could see that health is clearly a daily focus for me. Every day one hour is blocked out for aerobic exercise, Pilates, stretching, and/or strength training. As I write this post, my husband and I are on a journey toward improved health which has sharpened our focus on health eating, physical activity, decreasing stress, and improving our (ok, my) sleep habits.

Is the pursuit of healthy living “too hard” for me? Some days it certainly feels too hard for me. Yesterday was one of those days. As I mentioned earlier, I worked a long, hard day in the ED on Labor Day. I stayed over because we were so busy, I totaled over 15,000 steps all day, and then when I did get home, I wasn’t able to get right to sleep. When I woke up yesterday morning, I’d had about five hours of sleep, and I was tempted to say “forget it” to the exercise bicycle and my stretching routine. Honestly, my hips, my back, and my knees were all screaming in pain from the hard day’s work the day before. In the end, I did do my usual exercise routine, but only after a lot of back and forth in my mind.

How Health Relates to My Other Priorities

As I thought about my list of priorities, I had to consider how difficult it might be to achieve any of my goals if I didn’t have my health. I also thought back to when I had my heart attack and much I wanted to be healthy once I was no longer healthy. Losing your health to chronic illness can certainly change your perspective and your goals. I also considered why I want to be healthy, and the reason relates back to another of my top 3 priorities: my family. So it seems like the priorities are all interconnected and it would certainly be more difficult to achieve many goals in life without one’s health.

In my next post, l’d like to explore how we make choices when it comes to your health. Sometimes doing what’s right is pretty simple. If someone offers me a jelly donut, I’m gonna say no because jelly donuts don’t fit into my healthy living strategy (although I might hesitate for a minute if they offered me a bag of donut holes, but that’s another story!). So the jelly donut is clearly unacceptable to me. What about not getting enough sleep? What about working a stressful job? Do our choices always indicate that we’ve made a commitment to a healthy lifestyle? Or do we turn a blind eye when it’s convenient? Stay tuned!

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