Wellness IRL: Interview With Rachel

Wellness IRL: Rachel | Jennifer Diaz | Hand Lettering by Amy May Paper

Wellness IRL: Rachel | Jennifer Diaz | Hand Lettering by Amy May Paper

Welcome to round two of the Wellness IRL series! I'm excited to introduce you to my friend Rachel, an ER nurse, a talented baker, and one of the most adventurous people I know! Some of the closest people in my life are nurses (I married one of them), and I've always had the utmost respect for them. Not only are they providing care for people during some of the most vulnerable moments of their life, but 12 hour shifts can be grueling, taking a toll physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

Taking care of people can be exhausting, and it's often difficult to fit in time for yourself. It takes a combination of intentional decision making and scheduling to maintain your health and wellness, while also meeting the needs of others! Below, Rachel shares some of her personal strengths and strategies that help her stay balanced, fit, and well! 

What aspect of your personal wellness is going really well for you right now?

For my personal health and wellness, consistency is key to maintaining optimal physical and mental health.  I made a goal to continue working out on a consistent basis through the holidays, and I am happy to say I managed to follow through!  Whether it was a run outside, or just a quick ten minute body-weight exercise challenge, I was able to consistently keep my health a priority. 

Finding balance in everyday life can be challenging. What helps you stay focused?

Keeping a consistent level of physical fitness helps my stress levels stay at a lower level.  This helps me maintain focus and concentrate on the present day or situation, as well as keep future goals in mind.  Another aspect of my life that helps me stay focused is knowing that there will be differences every day to look forward to.  As an ER nurse, I never see the same situation twice, and it helps keep me focused since you never know what kind of emergency situation you will see next.

When you’re feeling burned out or demotivated, what/who do you look to for inspiration?

As a nurse, I see many people who cannot care for themselves, let alone exercise.  Knowing that I have been blessed with the gift to be able to be independent and physically healthy always seems to renew my spirits when I feel like I want to have a lazy day!  Of course, there are some days that I decide to take the day off in order to rejuvenate for the next day!

I can only imagine how grueling it must be to work 12 hour shifts in the ER! How do you find the time throughout your busy schedule to stay active and also decompress?

I don’t always work out on days that I work since my job is so physical.  Usually I just do a couple of quick weight lifting exercises right when I get home, before I start to unwind.  Taking a long, hot shower always helps me relax after work.  I also always say a prayer before bed, and thank God for all of the wonderful things that happened that day.  It’s so much easier to stay focused on the positive than the negative.

If you were to name an aspect of your wellness experience that has had the largest impact on your life, what would that be?

Running has had the largest impact on my life.  In high school, I ran cross-country and loved running with my friends.  After high school, I started to get more into competing in races and obstacle courses.  My sister and I always love running together when we can, and I also enjoy running with my boyfriend.  Being able to incorporate physical fitness into my life, while being able to spend quality time with loved ones, is a huge bonus for me!

What is your favorite form of exercise?

I have so many, it’s hard to choose!  I would definitely have to say running and weight lifting are near the top.

What is the best piece of health/wellness advice you’ve received?

Never stop working out, because it gets harder to get back into it the older you get.

I know you’re quite a talented baker. Care to share your favorite thing to bake?

Baking is one of the things that adds joy to my wellness.  I just love preparing the goodies, smelling them as they bake, and indulging in them with loved ones.  Cookies are one of my favorite things to bake, specifically molasses cookies during this time of year.  They remind me of helping my mom bake when I was young.

Any encouraging words for someone looking to improve their overall wellness?

You can always do more than you put your mind to, and don’t wait to start in the future! Carpe diem!

What are you most looking forward to in the near future?

I’m looking into expanding my knowledge of nursing, either through legal nurse consulting or becoming a nurse practitioner.  I’m looking forward to whatever the future may hold!

I hope you feel inspired and motivated by Rachel to continue working on your own wellness journey! And to all the other nurses out there, THANK YOU for all you do!