Most of us healthcare professionals recognize the importance of self-care. When asked what self-care means, many of us will even identify things like regular exercise, healthy eating, getting adequate sleep, social connection, and even mindfulness. But there is one essential - quite frankly foundational - aspect of self-care that we often forget: Self-talk.
The relationship with ourselves shows up in almost everything we do. And, studies show that harsh self-talk and self-criticism activates the fight or flight response (i.e., the sympathetic nervous system) stimulating the stress response, making it harmful to our mental health and wellbeing (Singer and Klimecki, 2014). This isn't great news when many of us healthcare providers feel extremely stressed, essentially living from our sympathetic nervous systems.
The good news is, self-talk is something we can work with and shift. Like most things, it isn't something we do once and call it...
If you’re reading this, we have at least one thing in common: We feel the weight of the past two years and don't know how to get out from under it without quitting our jobs or leaving a career we worked so hard to get.
Worse yet, it feels like the system we're in doesn't care or that they're not doing enough. Since we can only change ourselves and how we show up in the world, I'm here to share some ways to help you feel good again - and maybe even love nursing again.
Collapse on the couch after shifts with no energy for anything except to binge Netflix and scroll social media
Know you need to exercise, sleep, and eat well but you can't get yourself to do it
Are tired of people telling you to "just do more yoga"
Forgot what it feels like to have fun
Have stopped caring about patients like you used to
Feel stuck in a job that you used to love
Increasing your self-care
You probably know what it is. You probably know it’s important or have an idea of how it can help. You may even know how important mindfulness is in building our attention in our distracted world (both in general and with ADHD). And even though you know all of this, you don’t have a mindfulness practice even if you want one.
If this is you, the problem isn’t knowledge or the idea of how much mindfulness can help.
The problem is that you don’t value yourself enough to put yourself first.
You may be thinking “No, it’s that I really don’t have time”.
Let me ask you something. Why don’t you have time? What do you spend your time doing?
As a nurse you are likely are exhausted - depleted, disheartened, and needing change but in a lot of ways feeling bound to your work. It is important, really essential work. If you’re still wanting to do it, I suspect you are looking for a way to through these beyond challenging times.
I know as a social worker whenever I have felt burned out and dreaming of escape to a simpler life, I longed for a solution. I was so mad at the system and excepted them to change. And that wasn’t wrong. But the thing is, what the system did was out of my control.
As a life-learner dedicated to healing and growth, I knew I needed to figure out how to heal through the tough stuff rather than succumbing to it. As I dug deep inside myself I found there was one thing I was doing horribly wrong in the system I was in that was making it worse. And beneath that thing was a core belief, likely a core belief that you as a nurse also hold.
The core belief I...