My five go-to ways to ‘recharge’ on your day off!
Today I wanted to share some of my favorite tips for how to ‘reset’ on your day off. These are my tried and true’s after a long day or challenging week. I hope they help you manage your busy schedule and keep up with the demands of a high hospital census!
Let’s say you just finished a 12 hour shift at work. Or maybe you just finished three twelves in a row, and on nights! Ugh. You’re probably exhausted and feeling like all you want to do is sleep. I totally feel ya. Instead of just hiding under the covers until its time to head back to the hospital, let’s reset and re-charge, so you are fresh and ready for the rest of your week.
- One: Move your body. This could be something as simple as stretching while your morning pot of coffee brews. If you foam roll, you could focus on rolling out a few tight areas. The upper back, between the shoulder blades, and the hip flexors are great places to start. (Sitting at a computer when charting makes these areas super tight, and my posture isn’t always the best by the end of my shift.) Rolling out those tight areas always feels great.
Here are a couple of foam roller options. The first is fairly basic, but it gets the job done and is long enough to help roll out both shoulders at once.
This roller is the same one I use at home. It has texture and nubs on it to really get into any tight muscles. If you are new to foam rolling, this particular roller (and some other ones) comes with an ebook full of exercises to get you started! Plus it’s available in an array of colors.
- If you’re feeling really ambitious you could even sign up for a yoga class at a nearby studio. There are also amazing free options on You Tube for yoga flows you can do in pajamas, in the comfort of your living room.
Takeaway: Just gently moving your body (in a purposeful way) as soon as you wake up is a great start to your day!
- Two: Hydrate. I’m not sure about you, but there isn’t always a lot of down time at the hospital. We hardly get a chance to sit down long enough to eat something, let alone drink from our gigantic water bottles we so optimistically brought to work with us. The days I am in the OR, I usually have to call someone in to give me a break so I can pee, or try to hold it for a break between cases. I think I subconsciously dehydrate myself to avoid this.
- As such, I try to hydrate as much as possible on my days off. Plain tap water works just fine, but I usually put lemon slices in my water if I’m feeling fancy (and if I have lemons in the fridge). I also have these great water bottles with a separate ‘basket’ where you can put fruit to make your own spa water. My go to infusion uses sliced strawberries and a few mint leaves!
I found these water bottles online and they are really great for making your own flavors of infused water. You can find them on Amazon or something fairly similar at Bed Bath and Beyond. Bonus, if you have any BB&B coupons lying around, it’s an even better deal!
- Just try to avoid the sugary mix ins or really concentrated ‘fake fruit’ drops. Those aren’t going to do much to make you feel re-energized.
Takeaway: You have been working hard and are likely more dehydrated than you realize. Make your water fun and flavorful so you will be inclined to drink more! Hydration helps battle fatigue and keeps your skin glowing!
- Three: A little pampering/self-care. You are likely showering anyway, so why not take a few extra minutes to do something that makes you feel great. I love a really nice face mask, a hydrating body scrub, or even a hand treatment. With all the recycled air and dry conditions at the hospital, (not to mention the drying hand sanitizers we use all the time), my skin is often dry and itchy. These are some ways that I like to show myself a little extra attention, without taking up my entire day, or breaking the bank. It makes a noticeable difference too!
Here are some fun face masks I love! If you have oil or acne prone skin, this clay mask with TeaTree oil is perfect for breakout prone skin without being too drying.
If you workout a lot, and have sweaty skin, I really love the Fre Detox Me Face Mask. It’s perfect for first thing in the morning (while doing your yoga) and feels just as pampering in a nice bubble bath at night! Bonus, use my code ‘DTT’ for a discount!
- Obviously its a nice option to go to the spa or make a nail appointment but if you are short on time (or short on cash) an at-home face mask or scrub is a great way to feel rested and recharged. Taking a few extra minutes to put on some luxurious lotion afterwards and really let it soak into your skin can take it to the next level.
Takeaway: Your skin needs a little TLC. With the ingredients you probably have in your kitchen you can whip up a concoction to have you feeling and looking amazing!
- Four: Rearrange your to-do list. Who doesn’t have a to-do list that’s a mile long waiting for you on your days off? If you find that you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out by this daunting list of things to do, just pause.
- Re-organize and re-prioritize your list into sections. Start with the top three things you must do for the day. Then write down three things that would be nice to accomplish for the day. Keep the remainder of the items (or loose ends) on your list, but a bit further down. Maybe in a section labelled “if theres time”.
- Start by focusing on the most important, pressing issues on your list (those top 3 must-do’s) and cross them off as you go. Stay focused! Don’t deviate from the top three items and make sure you get those done before distracting yourself, or working on anything else. (That means tell yourself no Netflix or Instagram until you get those top 3 items done! I promise it will make a huge difference.)
I really like this timer cube to help me stay on track. You can just set it for however long you want to work on something and it lets you know when the time is up. I use this to stay focused on my tasks and to help quickly cross off those to-do’s on my day off. These come in all sorts of colors and time choices to fit your needs!
- Keep your list handy! Either in the notes section of your phone or if you are old school (like me) on actual pen and paper. Just be sure not to lose it in the bottom of your purse or on a messy desk!
- Putting your energy and effort into the most important things first, and making tangible progress can make a huge difference. Celebrate the small wins, and every time you cross something off, give yourself credit! It will help keep the momentum going.
Takeaway: There will always be things ‘to-do’. Making a list of the most pressing items, and focusing on the top three each day will help you prioritize where to spend your time! Taking this approach can help reduce stress and avoid overwhelm! You may even surprise yourself and accomplish more than you anticipated!
- Five: Recharge your batteries. Figure out what it is you like to do to reenergize and reconnect with yourself.
- Maybe it’s getting outside for a walk in nature. Perhaps you like to quiet your mind with breath work and meditating. Journaling is a good way to get lots of thoughts and ideas out from our minds and onto paper. This is particularly helpful if you are dealing with a lot or have too many thoughts on your mind. Even finding a few minutes to listen to nature sounds (on iTunes or youtube videos) can help reduce stress and help recharge you!
- I sometimes find that a phone call to catch up with a distant loved one makes a huge difference. Ever since I became an Aunt, I love using the FaceTime feature on my phone to see my nieces and nephews.
- Spending even a few minutes reading a good book (fiction, non-fiction, self help etc) can also help.
- Find out what is important to you and what makes you feel most centered and alive. Then carve out time for that! Maybe you only have a few minutes, or maybe you have an hour or more. Go with that you’ve got. Use whatever time you have available to your advantage!
Takeaway: Ask yourself, what can you do today to focus on health and wellbeing to ensure you are happy and present. Being centered and recharged will allow you to give your best to yourself and those around you.
I hope these tips are helpful for you! I try to do each of these things on my days off. At this point, it’s like second nature and I really look forward to the routine. No item really takes that much time to complete and the benefits are amazing!
I know that new routines can sometimes be challenging, but give I hope you’ll give them a try! Leave a comment below with your favorite strategies to de-stress!