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23 nurses reveal their stress relief escapes

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Need some fresh ideas to spice up your off-hours? Take a peek inside the day planners of some Scrubs Mag nurses for inspiration.

1. Melinda Goodwin Stein
I love hibernating in my sewing room. I can lose all track of time when I’m sewing and/or crafting. My creativity just pours out when I’m down in my craft room. It’s when I’m most content.

2. Marijke Vroomen Durning
I quilt up a storm. I’m an obsessive hand quilter and just about everyone I care about has at least one of my creations.

3. Mary Enloe Prater
I love to take pictures in my free time. I always have a camera with me to catch candid shots of family and friends. And I really enjoy walking around outside and getting good shots of landscapes, sunrises and sunsets. Then I post them on Facebook!

4. Kate Kaiser
I love to read. It kind of shuts off my mind so I stop worrying about everything except the words on the page. I read about a book or two a week.

5. Diana Py
Meditation, books, flowers, walking, tea…and just sitting in the sunshine watching my kids play (that’s my favorite).

6. Jennifer Lewis-Renfrow
I work as a home health aide for three agencies, go to college and have four kids, so I don’t have a lot of free time, but when I do, it’s Facebook. When they develop a Facebook Anonymous, I’ll be there!!!

7. Beth A. Vivian
Hiking with my dogs. We’re in the process of discovering all the places in San Diego County that welcome dogs. We’ve done Dailey Ranch, Lake Hodges, Kit Carson Park, etc. Now that my kids are older, I’m also rediscovering the joy of cooking.

8. Jeanie Marley
I love to go motorcycle riding. Just recently got my endorsement. Just get on a bike and all that stress blows off.

9. Patricia Jaiman
I love my garden, have lots of flowers. I also have a bird feeder. I love to sit on my deck with a good book and enjoy the birds singing and watching the flowers grow.

10. Danielle Frace
Spending my weekend with my grandsons! Nothing beats Wii and pizza.

11. John Allen Hough
When in SoCal, Disneyland, dancin’ and shopping in Hollywood…stargazing and schmoozing…beaches, mountains, fun zones, art fairs and more shopping.

12. Joan Bolin Apfel
I love to play Farmville on Facebook…life is very simple there, lol…and it’s very relaxing, and also very addictive, but at least I can unwind. Come join me on the “farm”!

13. Nichole Donovan-Boho
For me, it’s the time I get to spend with my fiance and our American bulldog. Between his work schedule and mine, we only have one day a week together. So now that the weather is warming up, we can take our pup and go play some Frisbee golf. It’s a great way for us to spend time together. It gives us time to unwind and catch up. My pup loves the fact that we take him wherever we go. It’s his time to run like a madman and it gives me a good laugh. So my relaxing time is spent with my two men. And when I get home every night, I relax by my pup—he wants his “just mom and me” time. He really helps me relax and lets me forget about the stress of the day for a little while, just by that unconditional love.

14. Chanda Kim
I actually knit and crochet to relax. I make anything from jewelry to prayer shawls. I never keep any of it for myself. It’s always given as a present or donated to charity. I make baby booties for the local hospital. I even made a shawl for a resident recently. She was going home on pass to a family reunion, and was concerned because she didn’t have anything “nice” to wear in the picture that would have her eight great grandchildren in it. She was so happy when I gave it to her, she insisted on showing it off to everyone. I get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing people’s excitement when they get a handmade gift. Very relaxing after a day on the job where we don’t always get thanked!

15. Carolyn Chiu Curson
One of the great things about being a nurse is the flexibility in schedule. I chose three 12-hour shifts per week so I can spend a LOT of time with my three-year old boy. Although he loves going to preschool, nothing beats the bonding time we both love and treasure. We are Disneyland passholders, so we go there often…$3 movies on Tues./Thurs., aquariums, zoos, parks…I love to teach my son to enjoy life!

16. Connie McFarlane
Four spoiled dogs, a grandson who likes to go in the stroller to Baskin-Robbins, my new electric bicycle, flowers and a veggie garden, online school full-time, 40-hour workweek, a zoo passholder and a special guy. Off-hours? What’s that? LOL.

17. Leilani Bautista Keene
Free time? True free time? Or time away from scheduled work on the nursing unit? lol…okay, usually if I’m not scheduled to work on the unit, I’m doing research for the next time I teach a class for my other jobs. If I’m not busy researching, then I’m spending time with my boys, which is rare when you’re working one FT position and five per diem positions teaching, but not every week or month. My boys love to bike ride, walk along the river, go to the beach, shop (only for them, though), eat out, go to a fun local event, hang out at a theme park, travel on a mini-vacation (really love that!) and play Mafia wars on FB…lol…soon, I will add to my list of things to do on my free time—returning to grad school to finish my MSN and maybe my DNP. Crazy, huh?

18. Debbie Craft
Bargain shopping! http://debbielynne.wordpress.com

19. Linda Johnson
Reading. I’d really rather read than eat, but I’m so talented I can do both @ the same time. You can tell by looking at me, unfortunately. Used to be as excited about sex as I am now about Blue Bell ice cream.

20. Tammey Baldridge Norden
Just tilled my garden yesterday getting ready for the spring planting. Love to can all the produce I grow and make salsa! I also can our own beef, pork and deer meat in the winter as we butcher our own meat. I have three kids with healthy appetites and they never go hungry around here!!!

21. Ruby Akins
I raise baby raccoons that have been orphaned. I feed them a bottle, rub their little bellies so they can use the bathroom and just love them to death. I also raise just about any other animal you send my way—oppossum, fox, flying squirrels, squirrels, even tried my hand at an armadillo once. Otherwise I help with my grandkids, read and ride horses when I can.

22. Linda Dunn Simek
Right now, my focus is on improving my health. So my relaxing time is a walk on the treadmill or outside. I have also pulled out my dusty old Schwinn. Can’t believe I haven’t ridden in so long. I love to ride. Next month I will participate in a 16-mile journey around my town…looking forward to it.

23. Joni Farrington
I am an endorphin junkie and I love spending time with my two-year-old, so I combine both. I love running the backcountry roads, seeing cows, sheep and horses. My jogging stroller is outfitted with blinking lights, a headlight and an iPod touch for the little tyke—so if I can’t make it out before dark, nothing can stop us. Oh, and my husky….

What do you do to unwind during your off-hours? Tell us!

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