As a nurse, your role is to take care of others and do it well. You work to heal not only patients’ bodies, but also their minds and spirits. But what about caring for your own body, mind and spirit? How much time do you devote to that?
It’s the beginning of a brand new year, which is typically the time when many of us do some soul searching and take a hard look at ourselves, our personal lives and our careers. Call them resolutions, goals or whatever you’d like, but make sure you add ways to take care of yourself that will last longer than a season to your 2018 to-do list.
The first step in a successful “new year, new you” self-care plan is to take a self-care assessment test. You must answer every question honestly.
Remember, self-care is between you and you, and the plan will never work if you’re not honest with yourself from the beginning.
Several good self-care tools are available online via a quick keyword search.
Next, as you begin writing down resolutions, ask yourself whether you think of self-care as allowing yourself to do more of something specific or allowing yourself to do less. For example, do you think improved self-care should include more time with family, more exercise, more sleep and more healthy food choices? Alternatively, does it mean following a less frenetic schedule, working fewer hours, making fewer social commitments, learning to worry less and cutting down on procrastination?
We all have things we do too much of and things we don’t do enough of. The important thing to remember is that your self-care resolutions should be aimed at making you feel better — and that means different things to different people.
Finally, choose your resolutions carefully and thoughtfully. If you’re inclined to make the traditional resolutions — exercise more, make healthier food choices — so be it, but if you didn’t stick to those last year, resolve to find ways to make resolutions more doable. For instance, if going to the health club four times each week was impossible in 2017, would twice a week, and adding to at-home workouts, be more reasonable (and probably just as effective)?
Here are a few other ideas that might give your self-care list a new twist and lift your spirits. Share some of your own ideas with your fellow nurses in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you.
Ideas to build a better you
- 1. Focus more on new opportunities and less on past mistakes or failures.
- 2. Plan a challenging career step and worry less about the time and cost it may involve.
- 3. Spend more time on introspection and meditation and less time in crowds and noisy places.
- 4. Engage in more activities you enjoy and spend less time doing activities others expect you to do.
- 5. Make more time for great books and spend less time on your smartphone or iPad.
- 6. Spend more time outdoors and less time behind closed doors.
- 7. Set aside more quality alone time for you and your spouse and less time spent for group events.
- 8. Devote more time to telling your kids about yourself and your history and less time worrying about their future.
Look ahead to 2018
None of us knows what challenges the new year may bring, but I hope they don’t deter you from making self-care a part of your lives. The need for it — especially among nurses, who have chosen to devote their lives to caring for others — cannot be overstated.
Get going on that list. You owe it to yourself. Happy New Year from everyone at Nurse.com!