Online Health Chat with Holli Blazey, MSN, ANP-BC

May 11, 2017


Stress is not all bad. A manageable amount often influences a job well done or deadline met, and a sense of satisfaction. However, unmanaged stress is a critical problem in the workplace. Stress is associated with increased health care utilization, absenteeism and lower productivity. You can make a difference in your stress level by utilizing wellness tips that are easy and not time consuming.

About the Speaker

Holli Blazey, MSN, ANP-BC, received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from University of Toledo in 1992, then went on to receive her Master’s degree (MSN) from Kent State University in 1998. She started working for Cleveland Clinic in 1992 and has worked in the Cardiothoracic ICU, Thoracic Surgery and has been the nurse manager for the Lung & Heart Transplant Program. Holli moved into the Wellness Institute within the last year. She is an avid tennis player and enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and dog, Mabel.

Let’s Chat About Wellness for Working Individuals.


Diet Ideas

Linda: How can I have more energy during the day?

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC:  Try to eat more low-glycemic foods that contain healthy fats, protein, fiber and whole grains. This means switching from white bread and pastas to whole grain; from breakfast cereals to oats, bran or barley; and adding more fruits and vegetables. High-glycemic foods spike your blood sugar. Also:

  • Do your best to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day, and try for seven to eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Do some form of physical activity daily. Walking is great, and do some strength training and cardiovascular exercise at least twice a week.

SweetPea: I’m always on the run. How can I find simple ways to eat better?

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC: Some tips for eating better include:

  • Get in the habit of drinking water. Avoid soda and sugary drinks. Put lemon or fruit in your water to make it sweeter.
  • Avoid packaged foods as much as possible. Instead, pick up fresh foods for snacks instead, such as raw veggies, nuts or a piece of fruit.
  • Create a meal plan and go shopping for the week so you can avoid the vending machine and fast foods.

leechk: Do you have any tips for when there just is not enough time to eat a full meal during the workday?

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC: Eat small meals or snacks every few hours, and get in the habit of packing healthy snacks and keeping them with you at work or when you are out running errands. It helps to meal plan/snack plan and follow by grocery shopping for the week in order to avoid fast food and vending machines. Pack raw veggies, fruit and nuts. Don't forget a water bottle, and avoid soda and sugary drinks.

Emotions in Motion

Desperado: How can I feel more emotionally balanced?

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC: Here are some suggestions:

  • When you are talking with someone, focus on that person and stop multi-tasking. You will be much more productive and feel better.
  • Stay in touch with your loved ones and partner. Call them and set aside specific time with them to talk about things that matter to you.
  • Practice gratitude. At the end of each day, think about the things you are grateful for. It might be as simple as hearing a favorite song that day to having a great conversation with someone.

SpacedOut: How can I become more mentally focused?

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC: You can use affirmations that you find helpful. Read them to yourself each morning or before work. Try journaling before you go to bed. Another tip is to take a brief work break every couple hours or so to breathe, walk or gaze out the window. When you come back to work, you will be more focused.

LucyintheSkies: What are the signs and indicators that a person is nearing a burn-out status?

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC: Some of the signs and indicators of nearing burn-out status can include fatigue, poor appetite and gastrointestinal issues, as well as irritability, anxiety and depression. If you start to feel like you are nearing burn-out status, then it is time to slow down and take time for you, for self-care. Identify the cause of your symptoms of burn out and work on the stress management tools that work for you.

Improvement Ideas

alaboop: How can I create a positive outlook on life?

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC: Try investing your full and best energy on the moments that matter most. Focus your energy on what you want, not on what you don’t want. Avoid disturbing things. This might include not watching violent movies or TV shows, and taking a break from negative news.

Harpo: Is walking really that good for you?

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC: Yes. For every hour you walk, you add an hour to your life. The good news is everyone can do it and it doesn’t cost anything. Even if you have joint pain or other aches and pains, it is important to move your body. It may be at your own pace, but movement and walking are the best things you can do to keep your body functioning. If it’s hard to find time for it, fit it in whenever you can. When you go shopping, park far away from the door; when you have a meeting on the fourth floor, take the steps instead of the elevator; when you have a few minutes after dinner, take a walk around the block. Short walks add up.

Prevention Possibilities

Hopkins: How can I try to prevent chronic disease?

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC: We all know we need to eat well, exercise, avoid stress and get enough sleep, but other preventive measures for disease include:

  • Having an annual checkup and keeping up with health screenings
  • Knowing your family’s health history
  • Knowing your numbers, including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, etc.
  • Complying with you prescription medications
  • Stopping smoking if you do, and limiting alcohol to a maximum of one drink per day if you’re a woman and two if you’re a man
  • Becoming a self-advocate – Be an educated patient and ask questions of your physicians.

Desparado: It is funny that one of the first things you said is to stop multi-tasking. We have been so programmed, as children and now in our professions, to do multiple things at once. Definitely, doing one thing at a time and even mastering being “unplugged” from technology is a huge goal. This is not really a question, but more of a conversation starter.

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC: That’s a great point. Downtime or screen-free time is important for your mental health. Thank you for bringing this up and helping to start the conversation.

Helpful References

ewaldelmer: I feel pretty stressed when I get home from work and think of all the things I still have to do. Is there a good way to transition from work to home in managing my stress levels?

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC: Yes. I am sure most of us have this same concern. Work-life balance is important to remember and helpful in maintaining your overall well-being. Some good ways to transition from work to home would be to change up your routine. When you leave work, focus on your family and home-life, put yourself first rather than worrying about what you did not have a chance to finish. Practice a stress management technique daily, whether it is yoga, meditation or physical activity. The Cleveland Clinic has a program called Stress Free Now with e-coaching:

leechk: I just started a wellness group in my department. Do you have any tips for easy, collaborative work de-stressing/wellness movements to incorporate in a large, high demanding department?

Holli_Blazey,_MSN,_ANP-BC: First let me say congratulations on being a Wellness Champion! Each area or department is unique, so finding one program that works for everyone will be a challenge. Try surveying the group to see what they are interested in and then going from there. Our employee wellness website has resources to help facilitate wellness and stress management activities:

That is all the time we have for questions today. Thank you, Holli Blazey, CNP, for taking time to share with us techniques and hints for managing stress and balancing our work-life environments.

On behalf of Cleveland Clinic, we want to thank you for attending our online health chat. We hope you found it to be helpful and informative. If you would like to learn more about the benefits of choosing Cleveland Clinic for your health concerns, please visit us online at

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About Cleveland Clinic
As one of the world's most respected academic medical centers, Cleveland Clinic sees first-hand the consequences of certain preventable conditions and their effects on the health care system. We are dedicated to helping our patients, community members, and employees achieve optimal well-being and a high quality of life. We do this by combining world-class medical care and quality wellness programs to change unhealthy behaviors and to make healthy life choices.

The Stanley Shalom Zielony Institute for Nursing encourages our nurses to incorporate wellness tips into their daily routines. Like other careers, nursing has stressful moments, and it is important to learn techniques to help alleviate stress and anxiety. This web chat will share different methods for reducing stress and anxiety and increasing wellness for the busy working individual.

If you are in the nursing profession or merely interested in the profession as a career opportunity, join us to discuss ways to wellness and balanced living.

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