So, I have recently had the opportunity to make some changes in my nursing career. I took a position as an Admissions Coordinator Nurse, which meant quite a few changes to my responsibilities, my day-to-day tasks, and even my work schedule. Switching from a twelve-hour shift schedule to Monday through Friday has been a dream come true for many reasons. The change in hours has afforded me the chance to spend every night and weekend with my family, and have a regular sleep schedule. There are definitely changes to my activity level, without a doubt. I work at a desk now, instead of in a bustling emergency department. The heaviest thing I think I lift now is my backpack, not nearly as heavy as a patient. So, how does this new job change how I approach fitness? Well, there are a few things that immediately had to change.
First of all, I had to make the most of my allotted workout time each day. To accomplish this, I had to re-train my body in regards to my sleep/wake patterns, first and foremost. I took a week off between ending the old job and starting the new one. Over the course of the week, I made myself go to bed earlier than I used to. I tried to physically be in bed by 9:00 or 9:30 every night, and if needed, I would take a melatonin to help fall asleep. I also took the advice of a lot of research I read and tried to eliminate the TV or phone usage before going to bed. There is even an app you can get to try and filter out the blue light from your phone after a certain time of day to help get you ready for sleep, this works for my laptop as well. Getting into bed is one thing, but falling asleep was another, at first. I found that reading a book or even listening to audiobooks helped me zonk out a lot quicker than I thought they would. I switched my old bedside lamp to a Himalayan Salt lamp, which provided, for me, a more natural light than the artificial lamplight. Once I was getting to bed at a decent hour, it was a lot easier waking up at 4:45 or 5:00 in the morning than I thought it would be. When I wake up, I go right to the cold water and drink a big glass, or I will throw in some pre-workout powder as needed for a tough workout. Now, I don’t have a ton of time to get my training in, especially with two kids, 2 years old and under usually waking up at the most inconvenient of times. My wife and I make sacrifices, we trade off or try more high-intensity workouts that can be knocked out in 20 to 30 minutes. There are a lot of good apps that you can download to help you with finding a good workout, or we can go to some of the old standby workout DVD’s we have. I am lucky in that I have my gym in my basement. For me, it was worth the trade off of a “man cave” to have a place that serves way more of a function to both my wife and myself that just for lounging and watching movies on an obscenely large television screen.
So the workout routine is working, now what else? Well, there is that tricky little area of diet. Now that I am not home during the weekdays as often, we have to be prepared for the week’s meals like never before. The crock pot has become one of our go-to pieces of kitchen equipment. Protein shakes can be put together in the blender the night before and blended up right before work. The biggest obstacle is to avoid those pre-packaged meals, the processed stuff that really kills your healthy eating.
I am lucky in that my boss is a forward-thinker. Even though I am at a desk for 8 hours, we have the option to sit or use them standing, which I take advantage of every day. Even with the standing, I take some time throughout the day for a quick little walk to get the blood flowing and legs moving, even if it’s a walk to refill my water bottle or use the restroom (that I use more often because I am constantly refilling my water bottle.)
So far, everything is working out well, I may not work out every single morning, but I don’t keep hitting snooze because I don’t need to. Speaking of which, if you need some great ideas on how to get your morning started right, head over to iamawakeandalive.com and read the article Mark Smith wrote on the very subject.
I hope this blog helps, and I plan on updating as time goes on, I am sure there will be other challenges that will arise, but as with anything, having a solid plan is a surefire way to come out ahead.