Most nurses are humble by nature and don’t call attention to the skills and compassion they bring to their work everyday. You won’t find them boasting or seeking the limelight. But the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a spotlight on nurses around the world. Their selfless sacrifices to keep the public safe and their patients cared for often comes at great risk to their personal health and well-being. Pre-pandemic, the average person had a vague or possibly romanticized idea of nurses’ responsibilities. Now there is no doubt they are highly accomplished professionals who approach their work with courage and dedication. Here’s 5 meaningful ways to show you care for the nurse in your life.

The Gift of Wellness

Because nurses put the needs of others before themselves, offering a wellness gift is a great way to remind them to care for themselves too. A gift certificate for a future massage or private yoga class will be appreciated. Some organic bath salts and a soy candle are good ways to encourage her relaxation and a good night’s sleep. Faster and just as effective is drawing a bath with epsom salts and a few drops of lavender essential oil to sooth his tired muscles and quiet his busy mind.

The Gift of Humor

Nurses use back-stage humor all the time to diffuse tense situations and relieve stress. Open his favorite beverage, make some popcorn and pick a corny movie or comedy special to watch together. Be silly and text a funny nurse meme to her at work. Dare to show him your prom pictures for a belly laugh that will make his day.

The Gift of Joy

Nurses are always trying to relieve the pain and suffering of others while simultaneously working in fast paced and highly technical environments. Joy is one of those things that can be easy to miss with the intensity of their workplace. Help the nurse in your life find joy in the simple things. Plan an evening walk together and point out the changes in the night sky. Slip a love note into his lunch container. Bring a steaming cup of tea to her bedside and take the kids for a ride.

The Gift of Support

Nurses try not to take their work home but sometimes it spills over. COVID-19 has taxed every nurse I know. They’re used to seeing death and supporting grieving families. What they are not used to is having so many people die without their loved ones present. They have stepped into the family role over and over, day after day in whatever ways they can to prevent their patients from dying alone. So step up for them and offer your ear or your shoulder. You don’t need to solve it and you can’t fix it. But you can show up with loving, non-judgmental presence and simply listen. When they are ready they will tell their story.

The Gift of Appreciation

Most people see nurses as heroes, but most nurses see themselves as ordinary people following their calling to help others in need. Yes it’s noble, as are any other of the service professions, but it’s also one of the most rewarding jobs one could ever have. To be a nurse you must have a sharp intellect, critical-thinking, serious knowledge depth, authentic compassion, endless patience, mad skills and bad-ass bravery. Could you do what they do? Nurses aren’t looking for a pedestal, but they would appreciate your recognition and respect. Thank the nurse in your life today. It’s the best gift they could receive.