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What Makes the Month of June So Special? A Time for Reflection

In her June President's Message, ARN President, Dr. Patricia Quigley, shares a personal reflection on how far we have come to face the COVID-19 pandemic. She also shares ideas to help nurses celebrate and enjoy the start of the summer season!

Following our celebratory month of May, dedicated to nurses, we come together to welcome June. What makes June special? Summer, picnics, bicycling, vacations, family and friend gatherings, you. The school year has ended, isolation restrictions are lifting, people are planning vacations, and wonderful family and friend reunions are everywhere—a very different June from last year's!

We have all been a part of a remarkable national action plan that reversed such sorrow to now realize life-saving success—a national vaccination implementation plan that has made scientific, medical, public health, and government history. As I reflect on the rapid decline of COVID-19 cases and deaths over these past 3 months since the massive vaccination plan launched, I find myself returning to my prayer and wish that I sent to you at the end of February:

"May the loss of this disease slow to few, and the hope of vaccines speed towards life-sparing."

Never expecting that my prayer and wish would be realized so quickly, I give thanks to scientists and government leadership that trusts and values science, evidence, and public health and to President Biden for marshalling all resources to save lives and restore lifestyles. I give thanks to you for all your efforts to support and administer vaccinations, become vaccinated if you were eligible, and help those who doubt the effectiveness of the vaccine to develop trust. Who imagined that during the month of May we would experience such a rapid decline of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths; witness governors lifting pandemic restrictions and mask mandates; and see Disney World open for all, just in time for summer!

The transition from May to June restores a new sense of normalcy and brings relief, hope, and joy. Across the country, May days were marked for celebrations of nurses and gatherings of families who traveled to be with Mom for Mother's Day. Just wonderful! In my calendar, I marked the days when my husband and I would get our first and second vaccinations. We watched people smile and talk about their plans now that they were getting vaccinated. I talked with colleagues and friends traveling again, both for work and fun, because they could. Frustrations and worries turned to anticipation of gatherings and plans of reunions.

Yes, much work still lies ahead of us to reach herd immunity in our country, influence the restoration of health in other countries, and meet the still emerging post-COVID rehabilitation needs of millions of individuals. Our country is leading the way to health, healing, and recovery and helping other countries around the world.

I am so thankful to have made it with you to June! There is more talk about life and living than in the past year, though so many of us still grieve. This month, many are taking a break and returning to full lives with family and friends. I hope this is true for you, your family, and your friends. So, colleagues, let's celebrate June!

June boasts many unique days of celebration, and I would like to share just a few with hopes that you, too, will take a break and celebrate:

For Ice Cream Lovers:
June 2—National Rocky Road Ice Cream Day

This ice cream was originally created around 1929 and was given its name to give people a reason to smile during the Great Depression.

June 7—National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

Here's an easy and tasty home recipe.

For Gardeners:
June 6—National Gardening as Exercise Day

Gardening is great exercise because it's low-impact, relaxing, and good for the environment. Gardening is linked to reduced stress levels and improved brain function. On this Sunday, grab your gloves and join me in gardening, whether indoors or outdoors.

June 13—Weed Your Garden Day

You know, the best gardener is one who loves to weed, and that is ME!

Gift Yourself and Your Best Friend:
June 8—Best Friends Day

Commit on this day to pick up the phone and talk to your best friend. Tell your best friend how much you love them.

June 18—National Splurge Day

Did you know about this special day? How fun! Set aside this day to treat yourself.

Embrace the Gift of Light:
June 20—The First Day of Summer

This day marks the official beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere. The north pole tilts closest to the sun, making this the year's longest day. We enjoy the longest period of sunlight during the summer solstice, June 20–22. At midday on June 20, the sun will be at its highest point, and the sunlight may illuminate your home in a way that you see at no other time. If you can, be outside and feel the warmth of the sun.

Celebrate Fathers and Fatherhood:
June 20—Father's Day

Celebrated for the first time in 1910, Fathers' Day is an international day honoring our fathers, fatherhood, paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society.

Look to the Stars:
June 30—National Meteor Watch Day

Look to the night sky in wonder on this day, and you may find a shooting star.

My source for these June days of celebration is available here. There are other fun days for you discover as we celebrate the gifts of each day and enjoy life to our fullest capacity. I remain connected to healthy nurse initiatives through Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation. Some of you may be part of this free American Nurses Association program that promotes physical activity, nutrition, rest, quality of life, and the safety of you—improving our nation's health one nurse at a time. June is a great month to become a part of this wonderful nursing community, as well; if you are first learning about this, more information is available here.

Because of my love for science, and in thanks to the scientists who saved our lives through the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, I'd like to conclude my message with a quote from a very famous scientist:

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, and hope for the future. The important thing is not to stop questioning." Albert Einstein

May each day be a day of inspiration. Never stop questioning. And never stop wondering and looking at the stars.

President, Association of Rehabilitation Nurses

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