We had the good fortune of connecting with Claudia Wong and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Claudia, what role has risk played in your life or career?
In 2018, I left a great full time job working in dementia care as a Nurse Practitioner with a well known healthcare system to follow my desire to explore and travel. I had previously met others that traveled for many months and years from other countries and knew that was not the norm in the United States. Seeing as though I did not have other strong commitments in the California at that time, I figured it was always going to be a difficult and scary leap to take into the unknown, but that it that no great of a time to do so. Once I made my decision, I felt liberated and relieved and it felt aligned with what I was supposed to do at the time. My co-workers were actually quite excited for me and for my upcoming ahead.

During my travels, I discovered beautiful locations, communities, and met many fascinating people from all walks of life with a myriad of ways of thinking and being. I dove more into yoga, spirituality, and holistic healing practices. Many concepts that I had previously would have thought was “out there,” started to actually make sense.

I traveled for 2 years and ended up at an ashram in the south of India and decided to come back to California during the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Coming back, I wanted to support my fellow nurses during the pandemic. I had met another Nurse Practitioner from the United States during our yoga teacher training in Bali and we wanted to be able to support our fellow nurses and show them how important self-care was especially for healthcare workers for constantly put others first. We had similar paths of self-discovery and recognized that many of our nurse colleagues likely have not experienced these different types of holistic self-care practices that we discovered were extremely beneficial. So thus Mindful Nurses was born during Nurses Week May 2020 as a platform to promote self-care and holistic wellness for nurses! During Nurses Week, we held a virtual wellness week and continue to hold weekly Wellness Wednesday sessions with a different self care talk or practice with Janel, myself, or an expert holistic wellness practitioner.

I also resumed working as a Nurse Practitioner supporting patients with cognitive issues such as dementia and their families but come back to the field with more of a holistic view point. I also teach meditation, mindfulness, and yoga at work for patients which is extremely rewarding and a great way for me to integrate what I learned in nursing school and also experientially and through my discoveries while traveling.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I guide and support others to live the best lives they can. At the neuroscience institute that I work at, I help patients with cognitive issues such as dementia by optimizing their health and creating a supportive environment with close collaboration with families and medical teams. I also support caregivers and families emotionally through the ups and downs of taking caring of a frail loved one.

I also guide patients and fellow nurses in meditation, breathwork, sound healing, and mindful movement such as yoga.

I got where I was today by working in a variety of health fields in a nurse such as in a cardiac floor, visiting patients at home, infectious disease, and visiting elderly patients living in senior facilities. By exploring my personal interests and passions such as yoga and sound healing and also through a process of self-discovery and personally experiencing the positive effects of holistic practices such as meditation and mindful movement I was able to integrate it into my current career.

When I previously though it was impossible to integrate holistic practices into a western medicine clinic, it became possible by showing what I was passionate about and how it could be beneficial to patients.

Outside of the clinic, I Co-Created Mindful Nurses to help support nurses to become more in tune with their needs and nourishing themselves with compassion and self-care.

I have traveled many different places, but ironically, I have grown to find that the answers really ARE inside of you, and not somewhere “out there.” You body literally tells you what is right for you or not but it is up to use to pay attention to ourselves to realize what it is telling us.

Much of the time we are distracted by outside things going on or what another person is doing, but if you quiet the ripples of the ocean of your mind the answers will surely float to the surface.

Tune into yourself and that is where you will find your way.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I live in Santa Monica, California! A beautiful place with great weather year-round, and by right the ocean.

I would take them to Philz Coffee for a Mint Mojito Iced Latte, walk down the 3rd Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place where there are shops and restaurants. If in the mood for some delicious gourmet donuts, can stop at Sidecar on Wilshire. Then we would walk down to the Santa Monica Pier to take a look at the iconic Santa Monica Ferris Wheel. Then we would lounge at the beach for a while and enjoy the nice soft sand but chilly water!

We would then continue walking or rent a bike or electric scooter on the beach path and watch people play beach volleyball by the pier, see people partake in acroyoga or acrobatics on the lawn and watch people climb the rope and Old Muscle Beach (Santa Monica). If feeling like testing our balance, we can try using the slacklines that are set up. Continue wandering down and see many people jogging, riding their bikes, playing drums and other musical instruments, and showing off their classic cars in the parking lot on our way to Venice Beach where many movies were filmed. We would watch the daredevil skateboarders on the cement skateboard park, people playing handball, and people watch.

We would then make our way to Abbott Kinney, a trendy street with shops and restaurants. We could would grab dinner at Valle a delicious Oaxacan restaurant, or trendy Tasting Kitchen and finish off with an Ice Cream from Salt and Straw.

If it is Sunday evening, we would watch the swarm of bikes pass by from the Venice Electric Bike Parade.

Admire art and architecture: LACMA, The Getty

Take a Hike: Temescal, Runyon Canyon, Griffith Park, Topanga State Park, the stairs (Baldwin Hills)

Sip some wine: Malibu Wines, the Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch

Enjoy some food: Tsujita LA (Tonkatsu Ramen- Sawtelle), CAVA, Urth Cafe (various locations), Rita’s Indian Food, Sugarfish

Catch a game: Hockey or Basket Ball at the Staples Center (Downtown LA)

Wander the streets (cool restaurants and shops): the Japanese areas such as Sawtelle Blvd, Little Tokyo, Main street (Santa Monica), Montana Ave (Santa Monica), Downtown Culver City, Silverlake, and Old Town Pasadena.

Feel the Magic: The Magic Castle (Hollywood)

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to share much appreciation to the my very good friend and Co-Founder of Mindful Nurses, Janel Smith, NP. Thank you for being a great friend and co-creator of the Mindful Nurses community where we can support one another to take care of ourselves with compassion and holistic self-care.

Thank you to my family for supporting my journey and not being too worried about me while I was wandering around the world.

Website: https://mindfulnurses.com/, https://claudiawongwellness.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mindfulnurses/ , https://www.instagram.com/claudiawongwellness/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/claudiawongnp/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mindfulnurses

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbl2bJg21s5qdlZ8_Od5ttQ

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