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Nursing & Mental Health

Happy Nurse’s Week to all of my fellow nurses out there!  I am very proud to be a nurse. It’s an amazing profession. Nursing is more than a job, though; it is a calling. It’s not just something you do, it is something you are; so it can be hard to maintain a level of separation when work is such an integral part of who you are. So how can nurses step back and make sure that they are caring for themselves in addition to the wonderful care they provide to their patients? First, let’s take a look at some facts.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) found that hospital nurses are twice as likely as the general public to suffer from clinical depression.  That is, 9% of “everyday” citizens experience clinical depression while a whopping 18% of nurses are affected. At first I found…

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Impact of Gardening on Mental Health

This week we celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day, and there’s no better way to celebrate these holidays than by getting your hands dirty. Gardening engages you physically, mentally, and socially. Health benefits are numerous and you don’t need to live in the suburbs or the country to experience gardening and its benefits.  Gardening can positively impact a number of health outcomes, including: Reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety Decrease in reported stress and mood disturbances Decrease in BMI Higher reported sense of community Increased physical activity Improved cognitive function Gardening has both immediate and long-term effects on health. For individuals with mental health conditions, horticultural therapy - using gardening as a means to facilitate dialogue and skill building - has shown promise for improving chronic and acute mental health conditions. People report feeling happier almost immediately when engaging in gardening. Over time, individuals lowered their BMI through physical activity…

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Coping with Stress

Since 1992 The Health Resource Network (HRN) has sponsored Stress Awareness Month in April, with National Stress Awareness Day observed on April 16th. Stress affects all of us, so take this time to learn how to identify your stressors and familiarize yourself with the tools for coping with stress. Kinds of Stress There are two forms of stress: acute and chronic. We all face acute stress each day - from the traffic on the way to work to the realization that you didn’t prepare for tonight’s dinner. Acute stress is highly treatable and manageable. Acute stress can even be exciting (remember your first roller coaster?). Stress initiates our fight or flight response, sending chemicals through our brains and bodies that help us react. For example, think about the last time you were in a car and someone cut you off. How did your body feel? What was your physical reaction?…

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Mental Health & the Holidays

Some people who experience holiday sadness or depression have feelings that are triggered by the holidays but go away when the season ends, while others experience a more severe depression that is triggered during the holiday season and lasts well into the New Year. The holiday blues - feelings of anxiety or depression around the holidays - can lead to long-term mental health conditions. The National Alliance on Mental Illness shared tips for managing the Holiday Blues in this video:

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