Take Time to Thrive (Nurse Edition)
A few weeks back, Trusted Health and our friends at Outdoor Voices shared Nurses First: The Wellness Series, a week-long virtual event series focused on supporting nurses in all areas of wellness. Nurses are often nurturers by nature. But how and when are nurses taking the opportunity to care for their own wellbeing?
Dr. Sharon Tucker, PhD, APRN-CNS, NC-BC, EBP-C, FNAP, FAAN, and Professor at The Ohio State College of Nursing, recently led us through a one-hour event, where she helped nurses thrive by prioritizing emotional and social wellness. She is a behavioral and organizational change expert, a psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist and integrative nurse coach, and, fun fact, was on the Geraldo Rivera talk show in late 80s with researcher and NY guardian angel.
(You can watch the full event recording here!)
“I have come to strongly believe that purpose and mindfulness are key to career success, life satisfaction and being your extraordinary self. Being negative is a choice and impacts health and well-being.”
So, how does this relate to nurses, and why is wellness a focus? Dr. Tucker shares various explanations and strategies below!
Why Nurses & Why Wellness?
Nurse stress and dissatisfaction are important factors in nurse burnout and are, you guessed, on the opposite side of optimal wellness. Managerial style and supervisory support are also factors in nurse burnout. Moreover, US nurses are at risk for poor health due to physical inactivity and poor dietary habits, both large byproducts of heightened stress levels.
Additionally, a lack of nurses wellness has been linked to higher likelihood of medical errors, especially when it comes to mental wellness: Shift work involves an alteration in psychophysical homeostasis, with a decrease in performance. Shift work also affects social and family relationships and is a risk factor for stress, sleep disorders, metabolic disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and even breast cancer.
And lately, COVID-19 has greatly impacted nurses’ stress levels, mental health, and overall wellbeing. On the other hand, courses based on mindfulness have proven to be effective in improving healthcare workers’ well‐being, increasing their quality of life, and their productivity outcomes.
Our First Wellness Focus: Positivity
Being positive doesn’t mean always being happy or confident, it can simply be broken down into an equation:
Have three times more positive emotions than negative emotions.
This has been called the most reliable road to emotional happiness by Barbara Frederickson from University of North Carolina, the author of Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3-to-1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life (2009).
You also can’t be happy all the time, so you need to work with your bouts of unhappiness.
And don’t forget that there are multiple areas of wellbeing, and it’s ok not to have all of them in the green at the same time; sometimes they may overlap, and other times you may look toward one of them to pull you through while the others take a minute to bounce back.
You can practice positivity by identifying and promoting specific emotions, or behaviors that elicit these feelings.
10 Positive Emotions that Increase wellbeing:
Your You-First Checklist
Quick intermission: This is a friendly reminder that it’s ok to focus on yourself from time to time. If you’re not taken care of, how are you going to take care of others?
If you ever feel yourself falling behind or feeling stuck, burnt out, or frustrated, run through this list. It could be that one of these areas is being neglected, and that a little bit of focused attention may turn your situation around.
Our First Wellness Focus: Gratitude
Gratitude, or the sentiment of feeling grateful, is huge in terms of our emotions. Of course, we all have challenging situations or times in life, but no matter what, there’s almost always something you can genuinely be thankful for. You’d be surprised how a little bit of thanks goes a long way.
Here’s a quick way for you to incorporate a little more gratitude into your daily routine:
- Commit to a daily practice
- Choose set time of day
- Just do it everyday
- Write it down
- Feel it
- Practice present-moment gratitude
- Share the gratitude
- Don’t stop when you start noticing results
- Allow yourself to be human
We know these are tough times, but if we can do it, you can do it. Thank you for all that you do.
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