I always hear the words: Nurses heal themselves. Why?
Nurses are naturally compassionate! That’s why! As a nurse, you want to take care of everyone. It’s just natural for you to nurture.
What you forget about is taking care of yourself.
The weight of having to take care of everyone else is immense and it ALWAYS takes its toll. We can combat the toll of it all by doing these three things:
1.) Recognize that you need some down time.
Be aware of the potential for burnout and be open to listen.
2.) Be open to talking about it.
Allow yourself to be cared for and helped. (Yes, nurses need help sometimes too.)
3.) After you have done those two things, set up defense strategies for the future.
Create separation between work and home.
- Take up a hobby—painting, running, wine, photography, reading, etc. The ideas are limitless!
- Join a local group. If you look at Groupon or Living Social for the city you are in, the options are amazing! Brewery tours, pottery making classes, walking history tours, go kart racing… You name it!
- Family/Friend time… game nights, movie afternoons, have a picnic, go on a date or simply eat ice cream and laugh!
- **Side note: Now, we do know that with the nature of the work you do, sometimes it is incredibly difficult to just shut the door on work and not think about it. It is the nature or the profession. Thank you for what you do.
Stay physically active.
- Take a walk on your off days to explore a park.
- Join a gym AND go!
- Find a “workout” buddy to do a class, because I mean, let’s be real: laughing at your friend trying to Zumba burns calories just as much as Zumba itself... and reduces stress too!
- Go to the local animal shelter and walk the dogs. They need love and let’s face it: animals reduce our stress.
Get plenty of rest.
Okay this one is just hard… crazy shifts, overthinking, noisy surroundings, etc. But, do everything you can to create a restful area for yourself.
- Use black out curtains, a white noise machine, snuggling, or a ceiling fan to help you get good rest.
- Take full advantage of your sleeping time!
The above things are going to keep you healthier in mind, body and spirit. The whole point is for nurses to take care of themselves. I also heard “you can’t take care of anyone else, if you can’t take care of yourself.” Do yourself a favor and take care of you first. Your patients need you, but they need you healthy too.