Today’s Read: 4 minutes
You do you—better. Use these strategies to make your patient-care and self-care games stronger. Whether it’s talking about pain management options, understanding your headaches, improving your mood with a little iron, or preparing for a stellar holiday dinner, here’s the information to inform and motivate (if you need it) you.
Want to connect with other nurses about the serious and not-so-serious aspects of nursing life? Then check out Huddle. It’s the virtual nurses’ station made up of professionals like you.
Ask about cannabis use
Nurses and other healthcare providers should talk to patients about their cannabis use the same way they talk about other habits like smoking and drinking: routinely and without judgment. This is a conclusion of a research review published in Pain Management Nursing.
Some studies have suggested cannabis use is beneficial to patients with chronic pain who are also using opioids, and as a result, many patients are either using it or considering it, lead author Marian Wilson, PhD, MPH, RN-BC, said. That’s why it’s especially important for providers working in pain management to discuss the subject, though patients may be reluctant to because they might have been penalized in the past.
These conversations can address the confusion about the use of cannabis for pain management—from the gaps in research evidence to the laws around use. From there, a shared decision-making model can help nurses and patients can discuss options.
The shared decision-making model starts with either the patient or the provider bringing up the topic of cannabis use, then moving on to specifics about the patient’s situation, benefits, and risks of cannabis use based on research and evidence, and finally formulating a plan.
“Central to patient-centered conversations is understanding the top priorities of patients,” Wilson writes. “Researchers have suggested that clinicians should ask ‘What matters to you?’ as well as ‘What is the matter?'” The hope is that these conversations open the door to making patients feel more comfortable talking about cannabis use, because many don’t right now.
Pump up your mood
We know that dancing, running, walking, or any other cardiovascular activity can help stave off depression and anxiety. Now there is evidence that lifting weights can too.
Irish researchers recruited 28 well-adjusted, healthy young men and women and split them into two groups: the control group and the weight-training group. The latter did a series of simple resistance exercises—lunges, lifts, squats, and crunches, using dumbbells and other equipment at least twice a week for eight weeks. Both groups periodically had their anxiety levels tested, including at the end of the program.
While the control group remained their chill selves, the weight training group scored 20% better on the anxiety tests. They had started with low levels of anxiety, but felt even less at the end of the trial.
The study did not look into how weight training can affect anxiety, but researchers suspect that increased physical and psychological potency figure in. The lifters became stronger over time and able to lift heavier weights. “Feelings of mastery may have occurred leaving people feeling generally more capable of coping,” co-author Brett Gordon told The New York Times. “Molecular changes in the lifters’ muscles and brain likely also occurred and contributed to improvements in their moods.”
More research is needed since there are still many questions left unanswered. However, adding strength training exercises to your weekly exercise routine isn’t a bad idea, because even if the mood benefits aren’t definitive, the physiological effects are proven.
Start the (recipe) search
It’s November, the month of planning the biggest meal of the year: Thanksgiving. Time to search through cooking websites and magazines for side dishes and desserts to impress. Healthyish has compiled 47 recipes to choose from. Our recommendation: No. 18 Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad. It’s a mainstay of our holiday table. Bon Appetit!
ONE BIG NUMBER
The percentage of healthcare professionals that are affected by headaches. Of those, 25.9% report experiencing migraines and 24.1% report experiencing tension-type headaches. Read more about this study and possible occupational triggers here.
Watch this cutie play peek-a-boo.