Day-to-day tips range from the after-work zen of barn chores to the benefits of a good bad joke.

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For the past 11 years, Americans have voted nursing as the most trusted profession in the country, according to an annual poll conducted by Gallup. Millions of people trust in their nurses as the pillar at the center of their health care – compassionately advising patients and their families with the best care possible in exam rooms, OR’s, ER’s, hospitals and practices across the country every day – but what advice do nurses trust when it comes to prescribing healthy habits to their own families at home?

We asked nurses at EvergreenHealth about the top healthy habits they make sure their families stick with to keep them living their healthiest best. Here are five of the top habits shared by nurses.

Get to bed

A bedtime routine is important at any age to help your body relax and prepare yourself for optimal sleep. When I was raising my kids, we would start our bedtime routine about an hour before bed. We would change into our pajamas, brush our teeth and practice good oral hygiene. Afterward, we picked from relaxing, quiet activities such as coloring for my kids, or reading. We always spent 10-15 minutes reading to each other for development and quality time together. Sleep hygiene has always been important to me and my family for a good night’s rest! Marta Grapensteter, MN, RN, CCRN, CNML, Nurse Recruiter

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Keep healthy snacks readily available; strike a balance

I love having “healthy snack self-service stations” at home.  I have a 5-year-old and being independent is her thing. I dedicate a drawer in our refrigerator and a drawer in our cupboards for healthy snacks like string cheese, applesauce pouches, mandarin oranges, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes, nut and raisin bags, and fish crackers, all in individual serving sizes and ready to grab. When she gets hungry, she asks permission and is able to choose an item. We practice balance by only being allowed one item per day of that type and we avoid the obstacle of convenience by having everything ready to grab and go.  Lastly, it really is nice to allow her to do it by herself! Amy Cole, RN, Manager and Clinical RN, EvergreenHealth Primary Care, Duvall

Find a happy place to exercise and de-stress

I am committed to making daily visits to my “happy place.” Each day when I come home from work, I change into “barn clothes” and make the trek down to my barn and tend to the loving care of my horse, Probie. By the time I have told him any woes from the day, finished the good, physical labor that is great exercise – stall cleaning, grooming and seeing to his every need, I am smiling, relaxed and ready for a restful night. Even if I can’t bear the thought of barn chores after a tough day, the hard work clears my head and having a “good listener” makes it all worthwhile. Barb Jensen, RN, CHEP, Program Manager, Emergency Preparedness/Trauma

Get your flu shot!

Every fall, I get up on my soapbox and advise my friends and family to get their flu shot. It’s so accessible these days, there is no excuse not to. If you think you don’t have time to get a flu shot, think about the minimal time it takes to make the effort to get one versus getting the flu and having to take time away from your family, work and life for five days or sometimes longer. You also help protect those around you, who may be more susceptible to complications from the flu, like the elderly or infants. Take time to take care of yourself and others and get your flu shot – nothing is more important than your health. Nancee Hofmeister, MSN, RN, NE-BC, Vice President, Chief Nursing Officer


It might sound silly, but I really make it a point to have fun and laugh with my family. Laughing together just makes you feel good and it brings people together. Also, working at the MS Center and with Dr. Ted Brown among the Laughter Therapy Program, I’ve learned that “laughter is the best medicine” isn’t just an old saying. Many studies demonstrate the health benefits of laughter, including organ stimulation, strengthening of the immune system and relief from muscle pain and stress. We make it a point to take time to relax and watch a funny movie or play a game and just be goofy together – laughing all the way to good health … ho-ho-ho! You should have laughed at that bad joke … for your health! Scolastica Wambua, RN, Supervisor, EvergreenHealth Neuroscience Institute

EvergreenHealth employees are dedicated to delivering high-tech health care that is patient- and family-centered. Find out more about how you can join the team.