The nurses stroll into the spa, slip into robes and sip tea as they wait their turn for the first treatment: exhale’s Fusion Massage, a Swedish-based therapy that works the kinks out of deep muscle knots. This is the first time the team has seen their friend and colleague Juarez since she went on maternity leave, so the catch-up chatter is lively as they swoon over photos of two-month-old Isabella and plan for Juarez’s return to the unit in a week and a half.
A New Nurse Practitioner
Although Berry, 27, just got her master’s degree, she loves working with children too much to rush out of pediatric oncology. “I’m excited for the role, but I’m not really ready to give up seeing the kids every day,” Berry says. It’s not surprising that the former college basketball player—she’s six feet tall!—deals with work stress through rigorous exercise: running along the East River near the hospital for five- to 10-mile stretches and, as if that weren’t enough for the athlete, taking regular spinning classes. “I’m obsessed with them right now,” she says. To treat herself, she gets regular manicures and pedicures. “I’m not modest about indulging myself!”
At-home spa tips: Knead it out
Here are some simple things you can do at home to address bothersome job-related aches.
Ease back pain. If you hold a lot of tension in your back from lifting or adjusting patients, just lying on a tennis ball or two, situated beneath your sore spot, can help stop muscle spasms. “This is also great for the glutes,” says Mary Levsha, a licensed massage therapist at exhale.
Reduce leg swelling—and racing thoughts. “I see a lot of leg and foot discomfort in nurses due to overall fatigue and overworking their feet for hours on end,” says Levsha. When you get home, lie on the floor and elevate your legs on a chair or the bed for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and try to focus on relaxing…not on making dinner.
Choose the right treatment for aches. It bears repeating: The general rule of thumb is a heat pack or hot water bottle for chronic pain; an ice pack for acute pain. Ten to 15 minutes a couple of times throughout the day should help—and don’t be shy about seeing your doctor.