As a caregiver you must find a sustainable way to make yourself a priority. Although it may feel counterintuitive at times, making yourself a priority will better allow you to avoid burnout by exercising choices about your own wellness.
A quick way I’ve found that really resonates with nurses is the Wellness Inventory, a series of statements in 12 areas of your life where you can rank your agreement and satisfaction level developed by HealthWorld Online and John W. Travis, MD.
This “moment in time” assessment will allow you to see where you are most motivated to start making some small changes to improve your sense of wellness.
Take the inventory for the 12 areas of your well-being below. Choose an area that you feel motivated to address and consider taking a small step to improve your wellness once a week or even every day.
1. Self-Love and Responsibility
Sample statement: I am able to distinguish between accepting responsibility for a problem and blaming myself.
A small step: Step back and assess the facts before accepting everything on your shoulders.
2. Breathing (one of the energy inputs)
Sample statement: When experiencing stress, I use breathing to help release tension.
A small step: Stop and assess your stress level several times throughout the day and incorporate some deep breathing exercises as a quick way to get refocused.
3. Eating (one of the energy inputs)
Sample statement: I stop and think about what I’m grateful for before eating.
A small step: Take a moment of silence before lunch.
4. Sensing (one of the energy inputs)
Sample statement: I know how my environment can impact my mood.
Small step: Start adding more music into your day or some fresh flowers, or a walk in your neighborhood where you focus on seeing the little things that you don’t usually notice.
Sample statement: I do some form of stretching or limbering several times a week.
A small step: Stretch in bed before you get up in the morning.
This is an area where nurses are often highly motivated to make some changes.
Sample statement: I’m able to say no without feeling guilty.
A small step: Say no to a small request but one that really bothers you—it will feel great!
Sample statement: I am aware that different environments have an effect on my thoughts.
A small step: Make sure that you have a good laugh every day at home and at work.
8. Playing and Working
Sample statement: I balance challenges with a playful and nurturing attitude and actions.
A small step: Schedule in some fun for yourself, just like you schedule in time for your child’s ball game.
9. Communication (outside of an emergency)
Sample statement: Before I offer help, I find out if it is wanted.
A small step: Set a goal of stopping to breathe first and then ask if help is wanted before jumping in to help out.
Sample statement: I am able to experience a gratifying relationship despite the presence of unresolved conflicts.
A small step: Make a point of trying to enjoy the positive aspects about someone at dinner tonight.
11. Finding meaning
Sample statement: I focus my awareness on the present moment instead of the past or future.
A small step: Make a point of checking in with yourself at a certain time each day to experience just that moment in time.
Sample statement: I experience myself as part of a larger whole.
A small step: Notice the bigger picture in some of your volunteer work.
Special promotion! Scrubs readers can take advantage of the full Wellness Inventory program at a 10 percent discount. Contact Wellness Coach Lisa Guida for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org.