December 2019 - Robin’s Nest
If you are anything like me, you live much of the year with urgency and a list containing too many things to accomplish. While it’s important to live life with passion, are we focusing on the right things – the things that truly matter? Are we working frantically to tick things off our list or are we working every day to improve ourselves as nurses, family members, friends, and members of a community? Being involved and staying busy can be a distinct source of stress. We run the risk of living life with mediocrity in order to accomplish those items that seem so important. Perhaps it’s time to take a cue from the nature around us and slow down, recharge for the year ahead, and build on our current strengths while developing new ones.
When we are overwhelmed and trying to conquer that list of to-do’s, we risk losing the energy to focus and the ability to make clear decisions. It’s important to take some time to recharge your personal battery by focusing on physical and emotional needs.
Taking good care of your body has a synergistic effect of recharging your mind as well. It is an outlet for stress and a key factor in avoiding burnout. Some simple things that I do to take care of myself physically include walking my puppy through the nature trail each day. I love being in nature and feeling that connection to Earth that is so easily lost living in the city. I take restorative breaks throughout my day at work as well. I usually hit the ground running when I get to work and have a terrible habit of telling myself that I have too much to do to take a break. On these days, I try to do stretching exercises at my desk. A stressed, exhausted body is more prone to injury so taking a few minutes several times a day to do some stretches and practice deep breathing really helps ease the tension I’m holding on to and helps me refocus.
It's equally important to take care of yourself mentally and emotionally. Dwelling on that to-do list or worrying about all the tasks that you weren’t able to accomplish in a single day is quite taxing physically as well as mentally. The more focused we become on that list, or the things that remain to be accomplished, the less able we are to recharge. To recharge mentally I make a weekly trip to the bookstore. I love to read, and on the weekends, I treat myself by spending a few hours browsing the shelves. Then, I gather all the books that have piqued my interest and sit down in the bookstore café, sipping a latte (maybe eating a brownie) and just immersing myself in the worlds the books take me to. It’s my treat to myself every week and although it seems completely indulgent to do so, I cherish this time to focus on a simple pleasure. I also try to take a break from technology for one day during the weekend. It helps me recharge by disconnecting from social media, e-mails, and even television and just be present in the moment.
Whatever it is you do to recharge and renew, please take time during this busy part of the year to take care of yourself, enjoy the season, and recapture the passion and energy that will see you through the long winter. You are important and you do such important work. Continuing to do the many things you do with your cup only half full hurts not only you, but it diminishes what you have to offer to those you care about and for.
Take good care of yourself, Robin Hertel, EdS, MSN, RN, CMSRN President, AMSN