Content courtesy of IntelyCare.
Most nurses, like me, are called to this profession to help others by providing empathetic and compassionate care. We want to make a difference and support patients during their most vulnerable moments.
But to do this, we must prioritize self-care to protect our ability to function in high-stress, high-pressure situations.
Taking care of others and the expectations placed on nurses often leads to nurse burnout, which is why self-care is critical. Educating nurses on the importance of self-care to their professional and personal success and well-being is monumental.
Recently, I attended a wonderful church service, with songs and teachings about “selling someone on life”— in other words, helping people realize the value of their lives. I left the service wondering how I could incorporate this into my nursing practice and wondering, “Do I appreciate the value of my own life?”
Nurses and many other health professionals work long shifts, balance competing priorities, and put their whole selves into caring for others. Often, they give patients more grace than they offer themselves.
In my position as a Senior Quality Assurance Nurse at IntelyCare, I work with our per-diem staff to assist them in providing quality care at our partner facilities. I conduct an in-depth analysis of nursing competency to optimize patient outcomes and promote safe nursing practice. My ability to be effective depends upon my ability to focus on patients’ needs, nurses’ skills, and each facility’s expectations — all challenging, but necessary. Making self-care part of my life ensures that my own needs are met, which helps me balance my professional responsibilities.
Self-care for my mind, body, and soul
Here, I share my self-care regimen for physical and mental rejuvenation.
My long commute actually has some redeeming qualities. It’s time I allow myself to listen to my favorite radio show, podcast, or playlist. I learn, laugh, and reflect. My favorite podcasts typically center around women’s history and women and family issues (so I can think and learn) or TV show recaps (for entertainment and escapism). I find that music elicits memories that allow me to recall and reflect on important events in my life. During the COVID-19 pandemic, certain songs helped take the stress away on my drive home. Today, these songs remind me of my strength and resilience.
The power of a 15-minute walk at lunchtime to clear your mind and boost your energy is real. I try to set aside this time to promote mental clarity and patience, which in turn helps me be a better problem solver and find solutions in my work. The beauty of nature creates a harmony within me, so on my days off I walk trails with my dog. I find the sun on my face and the infectious happiness of my dog relaxes my body.
Meditating several times a week for 10-15 minutes per session is magical. It gives me the mental space to actively listen without judgment and connect with others. I have increased patience and am better able to provide the support needed to be effective in my role. When I arrive home at night, I intentionally look at the sky, listen to the sounds of nature, notice the beauty around me and express gratitude for these gifts.
Recently, I started focusing on Reiki, a Japanese healing modality involving therapeutic touch and openness to tapping into my own energy and sharing it with others. Reiki means “universal life energy,” and the belief is that it activates the body’s natural healing processes with the goal of restoring mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Practicing Reiki allows me to connect more with others and brings me back to why I became a nurse.
With IntelyCare, you don’t have to choose between a work-life balance and great pay and benefits – you can have it all. Want to see for yourself? Join the movement and become an IntelyPro! Check out more content from IntelyCare here.