Carla Hay-Perdue, DNP, APRN, FNP, ANP-BC, NC-BC

Community Education Coordinator/ Family Nurse Practitioner at Palo Pinto General Hospital

August 19, 2022

I went on a cruise to Alaska, away from the Texas heat and my routine. The beauty, wildlife, relaxation, and good company rejuvenated me.

Taking a vacation can reduce stress and prevent burnout so you can be refreshed and more productive. Now it is back to Texas, reality, and work! Is that an OH NO, or is it a WOO HOO? Well, it is all in how you look at it. The secret is to create an environment at home that will be enjoyable and restful all year long.

Okinawa is a country that is ranked number one for healthy centenarians and number one for happiness. They have life stresses just like everyone else. Still, they have a philosophy that contributes to happiness and can help decrease the return to work blues for us if we will explore it.

Stay connected with friends. Okinawans stay close to childhood friends. They meet regularly to gossip, experience life, share advice, and even get financial assistance when needed. The relationships decrease loneliness and increase happiness by 15%.

Manage stress and stay resilient. Enjoy life’s pleasures but do not let them control your life. Believe that it is not what happens to you but how you react that matters. Focus on the present and enjoy each moment that life brings. Appreciate the beauty in things, even those that are flawed or incomplete.

Practice meditation. Observe thoughts and emotions as they appear, and just let the thoughts float on by.

Have an Ikigai! That is a sense of purpose. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Knowing your purpose brings satisfaction, happiness, and meaning to our lives. A sense of purpose guides you throughout your journey in life. So look within to find your purpose. We all have one. We unlock it by looking at our gifts, passions, and values.

Look for your gifts. We all have a special gift. We all can be creative. We tend to stifle creativity by thinking we are not talented enough. Look for a talent that you enjoy! What do you do when you are killing time? Answer: I get up in the morning to teach, create, support, empower, develop, encourage, enjoy, paint, nourish, or nurture. You fill in the rest.

Stay active; don’t retire—job shift. Keep doing things of value, inspire, bring beauty to others, and help others.

Take it slow. Being pressured, stressed, and hurried blocks creativity and is not productive.

Get in shape for your next birthday. Move your body to keep it going. Exercise releases hormones that make us feel happy.

Smile. A cheerful attitude is relaxing and helps you make friends.

Reconnect with nature – Being in nature produces positive emotions that calm our nervous system and affect us physically and emotionally.

Give thanks. It will brighten your day.

Live in the moment. Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all you have. Make the most of it.

Following these guidelines can help you create a better environment so you can stay relaxed, healthy, and happy even when you are not on vacation.