We nurses are a funny bunch I tell ya. It amazes me the selfless sacrifices we make everyday. The word ‘no’ sometimes escapes our minds and in some cases just isn’t a part of our vocabulary. Everything from our patient care, team play, and our compassion for others. We just love to take care of things. Take care of people. Take care of any and everything that crosses our path.
At work we tend to our patients, we are attentive to our patient and patient’s family needs. We address and carry out the physician and the medical team’s challenges with pin-point accuracy. We are compassionate to our co-workers and fellow employees and above all we care.
Away from the job we continue this habit with our family, our children, and our friends. We give a damn about what’s happening. Our care extends as far as our hearts can reach sometimes.
It is this insurmountable amount of care that is also our curse.
We care so much about everything and everyone else that we forget about number one. We forget about ourselves. We drive ourselves into exhaustion oh-so many times that the self-care deficit becomes the ‘norm’.
To keep up with the pace of our lives we start getting less and less sleep, consuming more and more caffeine just to make it through the day (this sound familiar?)
We over-extend ourselves so much that we end up hurting ourselves where it counts the most. Our mental and physical health begin to suffer. We become bitter and angry. We become short-fused. We can even start to get a lil depressed. Our bodies become more tired. We physically start to ache and hurt in places that we didn’t even know existed! All of a sudden we start developing illnesses and diagnoses that we used to just see in our patients??
Being a nurse and being ‘run-down’ goes hand-in-hand, but it’s not a requirement for the job. It doesn’t make you a better or worse nurse if you start saying no. If you dare to care enough about yourself as you do your job, your family, your friends, and all those around you – you’d be surprised at what will happen.
Start to take better care of yourselves. Here are 8 ways to do so.
- Learn to say “no” to that extra shift.
- Take time to relax and enjoy life outside of the stress.
- Find a hobby that you enjoy and make time for it – no matter how little time it may be.
- Spend ‘quiet time’ – no distractions.
- Take mini-vacations with those you love.
- Exercise – in whatever capacity you can. (I think we all know the benefits of ANY type of exercise)
- Eat better – I didn’t say go on a diet. I think we all can eliminate some of the really bad food choices we make.
- And most importantly – be happy. Enjoy this wonderful adventure of a roller coaster we call life.
In the end, by taking care of yourselves, you are giving the greatest gift to those you love and to your patients. They get the best you, that you can give them. And… isn’t that one of the greatest gifts?
Take care of yourself and yours.