In the year 2020, nurses are being recognized for their hard work and dedication to our healthcare system. That is why this year has been designated as the ‘Year of the Nurse.’ The initiative was spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) in honor of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, but the recognition goes beyond just her. It is a tribute to all nurses who play a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention, and who are on the front lines of healthcare. They play an essential role in providing high-quality care to humans all across the globe.
As a way to show our gratitude for all our incredible VA nurses who work so hard every day, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you to take a moment for yourselves. Occupational stressors can occur on a daily basis, and that is why nurse self-care is so important. It is a necessity when it comes to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. We know first hand that nurses give the best care to patients when they are operating at their own peak wellness. So here is a list of tips we have put together on how to implement self-care into your routine.
During your workdays:
- Listen to music when you are at your desk or on your break - music is a known stress reliever and can give you the momentum you need to continue the rest of your day.
- Take a moment to relax at your desk, meditate and drink some herbal tea or hot lemon water.
- Take a short break to stretch or go for a 10-minute walk.
- Repeat a personal mantra (a word or phrase with a spiritual meaning) to yourself when stressed. This is an innovative form of stress management that is portable, immediate, and inexpensive.
- If you have children or a family member you’ve been wanting to catch up with, take a moment to call them and ask them how their day is. Tell them if you’re having a good day or a bad day. You can use this time as a mini therapy session if needed.
- Download a new podcast about a topic that interests you, and listen to it when you are working at your desk.
- Bring a nutritious snack or lunch with you to work and enjoy it while reading your favorite book.
- Keep a journal with you at work for times when you feel stressed and need a way to release it.
- Practice mental imagery or visualization.
- Use breathing exercises to center yourself.
During your days off:
- Take a bubble bath with some relaxing salts to help your weary muscles have a break.
Check into the spa for a massage, pedicure, or other relaxing treatment.
Spend 20 minutes reading about a new hobby you’d like to get started on soon.
Call an old friend you’ve been wanting to catch up with.
Go to a nearby yoga studio, dance space, or spin class for a recharging workout.
Cozy up to your cat, dog, or even a nice, big pillow.
Take a good old-fashioned nap.
- Go for a run or walk around your neighborhood or to your local park.
Go catch that movie you’ve been dying to see.
Put on a favorite record you used to love in high school and take a trip down memory lane.
These are all easy suggestions that you can add to your lifestyle on a daily or monthly basis. We encourage you to start your self-care journey right now! Schedule a block of time in your day to take for yourself and commit to it. Again, self-care for nurses is not a luxury. It is a necessity for the health and well-being of both VA nurses and their patients. Remember, it is ok for you to need time for YOU. After all, 2020 is the ‘Year of the Nurse.’