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SoCal vs. NorCal – Which is the Place For You?

SoCal vs. Nor Cal

When thinking about California, most of us envision beaches, palm trees and maybe a few citrus groves.  What many people don’t realize is that there are some differences between Southern and Northern California.  From fashion and lifestyle to food and sports and even topography and weather, SoCal and NorCal each have their own bragging rights.  If you are  a traveling healthcare provider, you may have certain lifestyle choices and desires for your next assignment – we’re here to help you decide whether your next destination should be Northern or Southern California!

Nor Cal

San Francisco Bay:

Fashion, food and coffee sum up the Bay Area.

San Francisco experiences more cool and chilly weather than most areas due to its Northern water proximity. Up and down the breezy city streets, there’s a strong sense of unique street style that showcases fierce leather, long boots, cozy jackets and more. And no need for a car in these parts- San Franciscans tend to walk and make use of the great public transportation systems, like the subway, train or trolleys.  

Food:

If you are a foodie, San Francisco is a destination you won’t want to pass up. Places like Chambers or Mo’s Grill give you a taste of the excellent chefs in the area.

If you love wine, cheese and farm fresh eats, you’ll find a variety of these eateries scattered in Union Square and Embarcadero. To find all things bohemian, hipster and fresh vegan food,  head to the Haight Ashbury and Berkeley areas

ChinaTown ensures that you can find authentic delicious Chinese cuisine, like Z&Y Chinese.

The Wineries:

Napa is Wine Country and home to a number of amazing wineries and wine connoisseurs. The farm-to-table scene originated in this region and has since trickled South. Hess and William Hill are some notable locations to stop by as well as some of the other boutique wineries sprouting up.

The Mountains:

Nor Cal has some of the best skiing around!  Most people don’t realize how close Lake Tahoe and Truckee are- just under three hours at the most. The scene is artsy culture meets mountain hardware.  The skiing and snowboarding are divine in the winter and in the summer, the hiking and boating on the lake are sublime.  It is the closest to the French Riviera one can get in the U.S. Lake Tahoe allows for boats to pull up for lunch and cocktails at restaurants like Gar Wood’s.

SoCal

San Diego:

San Diego is a lowkey, flip-flop wearing, casual beachy scene. You can try any water sports, from surfing to kayaking and boating in the bay. SD also has the world-renowned San Diego Zoo/Safari Park that is a must on your bucket list.

You’ll find the best Baja-style Mexican food this side of the border. Hot spots like El Indio, Fidels and of course the Roberto Taco Shops are where you want to go to find authentic carne asada burritos, rolled tacos, margaritas and more!

The Breweries:

SoCal has made a major splash into the brewery scene in the last few years. So many craft breweries have popped up that San Diego is being called for beer what Napa is to the wine industry.  Some local stops to make sure to hit are Ballast Point and Stone Brewery. If you are beer savvy, you can find a slew of quality craft breweries from San Diego through Orange County and up past Los Angeles.

Los Angeles:

From teams like the Lakers and the newly-acquired Chargers to the incredible Staples Center, Los Angeles is undoubtedly a mecca for sports enthusiasts.  If you’re a kid-at-heart type, Disneyland and Universal Studios are definitely where you want to stay and play.

And of course, who could leave out the Hollywood scene? Fashionistas and aspiring bloggers are crawling the streets displaying major fashion inspiration.

Food Trucks:

Burger places like Umami Burgers and Shake Shack get a leg up in places like Studio City and make their way up and down the coast.  LA is also known for the food truck scene, making the city a hub of trucks with an incredible variety of cultural and comfort foods.

The Mountains:

The drive to the local Big Bear is about 2 hours from LA.  It is a smaller, more quaint scene with a population of just over 5,000 people that offers both snowy mountains and gorgeous lakes. Though it is a small mountain, it is close enough for a day or weekend trip to the snow. There are a few surf and ski type board shops as well so you can rent everything you need for your adventures!

These two areas of California are vastly different, but there are tons of activities and good eats for everyone found in both.  Whether you are laid back or more of the fashion forward type of healthcare provider, you won’t be disappointed by any part of California. Get started with KPG Healthcare today and embark on the adventure of a lifetime!

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Healthy Ways to Unwind After a Long Day on the Floor

Long, stressful work hours, dealing with trying friends and family, responsibilities at home — we can all relate. There are unlimited stressors in life and if you let them, they can ruin your mental and physical well-being. Read on for 5 healthy ways to destress!

No matter the industry, we can collectively agree that exhaustion is almost always a constant. It is statically proven that every year stress levels increase and bring about a negative impact on mental and physical health. We often forget to take time to decompress and just relax amid the hustle and bustle of life. But getting into the habit of taking time to unwind at the end of each day is extremely beneficial to both your mental and physical wellbeing. Here are a few things that can help you lessen the stress in your life:

Cooking at Home

“Who knew that cooking could be so relaxing?”

Too often the end of a long day has people searching for the fastest option for food- and this is usually something unhealthy and leaves them feeling sluggish. Try cooking at home a few nights a week!

Home cooked meals are usually immensely more nutritious because you are preparing the meals yourself and have the opportunity to use fresh ingredients instead of relying on over processed alternatives. Not only is cooking at home rewarding to your body, but it also nourishes the mind. Eating foods that are rich in fiber, protein and good fats can help increase energy levels and overall health. Many people also find cooking to be therapeutic and relaxing once they’ve gotten in the habit of cooking at home. Start saving your favorite recipes and see how creative you can get in the kitchen!

Up your Self-Care Game

Treat yourself. You deserve it!”

Self-care is extremely important, but unfortunately often overlooked. It produces positive feelings and boosts confidence and self-esteem. Putting an emphasis on self-care also helps you to maintains a healthy relationship with yourself- something many people struggle with and something that can affect personal and professional relationships as well. Practicing self-care comes down to making time to do what you need to rejuvenate and balance your life. Treat yourself- you deserve it. If this seems daunting, try a few small suggestions:

Self-care can be simple- for example, taking a bath at the end of the day or week. For many of years, baths have played a huge part in human health. They have long been synonymous with relaxing because they provide an opportunity to quite literally wash away the day and shut out the world. The University of Wolverhampton published a study that found that a daily bath during the end of the day, significantly improved the mood and optimism of the participants. In addition to these benefits, baths have also been proven to aid in getting a better night’s sleep!

Therapeutic Journaling

The best advice you can get is the advice you give yourself.”

Therapeutic journaling is an art within itself that is cost-effective, easy to do and mobile. Therapeutic journaling prompts self-awareness and insight and is great for healthcare professionals! Taking the time to truly reflect on your experiences can help you seperate your life on the floor vs. your life at home!

Writing in a journal to express oneself might feel odd, but is a simple and extremely beneficial thing to do. Therapeutic journaling offers many benefits, such as promoting personal change and growth, further developing one’s sense of self. Journaling allows you to be able to share your thoughts and feelings in a private way that brings about many personal benefits.

First, you are able to share and vent your thoughts. For many people, this is the only opportunity for them to release their thoughts completely and not worry about what they say. Keeping all that bottled in is extremely unhealthy for mental wellbeing. Therapeutic journaling also allows you to be able to learn more about yourself and your growth. As you reflect on past entries, you can begin to recognize your own pattern of behavior, thoughts, actions, etc. This helps create greater self-awareness, and reading old entries may even be able to provide guidance to current situations. The best advice you can get is the advice you give yourself!

Yoga 

“Just breathe.”

Yoga has many health and relaxation benefits. Yoga increases happiness and promotes physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health. British medical journal The Lancet conducted two studies of people with hypertension and found that those who practiced yoga saw a significant drop in their blood pressure levels compared to those who chose to lead sedentary lifestyles. Yoga is a great way to bring exercise into your routine in a slow, gradual way that works both your mind and body, and also gives you a small moment and escape from the hustle and bustle that comes with working in the healthcare sector!

Meditation  

Be present, it is the best gift to give yourself.”

What is mediation? Mediation is a practice which requires focusing all of one’s attention and being fully aware of when the mind drifts from that focus.

Mediation is an easy way to unwind and ease the mind. You can simply take five minutes out of your day and sit or stand or take a walk and put all of your focus on your breathing. As you first begin to practice meditation, you will find that your mind may begin to wander- and that’s ok. When you notice your mind starts to wander, just try and turn your focus back on your breathing and your body. It will gradually become easier to focus, and this practice alone is incredible tor mental wellbeing.

Some benefits of meditation include a reduction of stress, improved concentration, practice of self-awareness, increased happiness and even slowing the aging process! Be present- it is the best gift to give yourself.

Give it a try!

Give these 5 healthy ways to destress a try. They are simple, cost-effective and extremely beneficial for all. Adding simply one to your daily or weekly routine will change your life and your outlook on the importance of practicing self-care!

KPG Healthcare is proud to staff some of the best hospitals in the Nation. Looking for your next career move and interested in contributing to one of California’s most renowned hospitals in the nursing division? Whether you’re interested in travel nursing, per diem, allied, locum tenens or permanent placement, KPG Healthcare is your trusted partner for high quality, rewarding career opportunities. Contact us today!

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American Heart Health Month

We’ve officially rounded the corner on February and National Heart Health month! But this month isn’t just about loving others- it’s about loving yourself too! Treat your heart with as much care as you would your loved ones’ by getting educated about heart health. Challenge yourself and commit to just a few lifestyle adjustments this month that can make a real difference in your lifelong heart health!

The number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease.

This means that it is the number one killer in America. Heart disease develops early in life and is a very serious condition that can affect anyone. Heart disease is a deadly condition, and the possible costs of living with it involve heart attacks, strokes, pain in the chest and limbs… the list goes on. The good news is that we don’t have to accept it as an inescapable fate! Now is the perfect time to start a self-care journey to prevent heart disease!

Small changes to live a heart healthy lifestyle:

Exercise 

For those of us with busy lives, taking time out of our day to exercise can often feel like a burden or a waste. But 30-60 minutes a day of exercise a day is not only beneficial for your mind and body, but necessary for preventing heart problems. Exercise significantly reduces your risk of developing heart disease not only by fighting other conditions that lead to it (such as high cholesterol and blood pressure), but also by controlling your weight. Whether this means taking a short jog at the sunset, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or even just walking to grab lunch on your break, there are simple ways to incorporate physical activity in our daily routines.

Diet

The healthiest meals for your heart are non-processed whole foods. To put it simply, these include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The more of those good foods you consume, the better you are fueling your heart. But it’s also important to avoid foods with high sodium content, since they are known to cause high cholesterol. This can clog your arteries and decrease blood flow. A good trick for eating healthy is always being aware of exactly what you’re putting into your body. While picking items at grocery stores, take time to look at the list of ingredients. If the list seems a little too long or some ingredients sound more like names of compounds a scientist might say at a lab, odds are you should skip the over-processed junk and search for food that better serves your heart.

Getting enough sleep

Sleep deprivation doesn’t just affect your energy and mood. In addition to increasing your chances of developing depression, not getting enough sleep increases your risk of facing major heart complications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack and failure, stroke, and diabetes. It sounds like a lot, but listening to your body’s needs can help you avoid some of these conditions.  Pay attention to how many hours you sleep as well as your body’s response when it’s time to wake up. If you notice that you’re having a hard time starting your day as opposed to feeling well rested and energized, try adding a few more hours of rest. Setting a sleep schedule is a great way to stay on track of your progress!  

Healthy ways of coping with stress

Stress is another significant danger to your heart that can cause similar problems as an unhealthy diet and sleep deprivation can. Yet for those who attempt to lead balanced lifestyles or find themselves often preoccupied with responsibilities, stress is widely overlooked. This month, try to step back and allot some time in your schedule to check in with your personal wellness. Are you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted at the end of each day? Taking time to get lost in a good book, meditating, listening to music or walking along the beach are all excellent ways to relieve some stress and put you in a more relaxed state.

Make an appointment with your doctor

It’s important to frequently check in with a professional who can properly examine your body and inform you about your specific health needs. Even if you’re not sick or experiencing an urgent situation, going to doctor’s appointments is often a great preventative step that likely ensures you won’t be surprised by major problems down the road.

Our hearts are the engines that keep our bodies running and are tasked with the incredibly big job of vigilant and constant support. Let’s do our part this month and spread awareness about how we can support our hearts in return! So when your heart beats a little faster this Valentine’s Day, remind yourself just how far little adjustments can go for your heart. Working to actively take steps everyday for a healthy heart may be work, but it’s a labor of love.

Your dream job is waiting for you! If you’re on the job hunt and looking into travel nursing, per diem, allied, locum tenens or permanent placement, KPG Healthcare would love to help you find excellent career opportunities. Contact us today!

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