1. Self care prevents you from getting burned out.
“Burnout” for a nurse is when you are experiencing complete depletion. You are extremely exhausted in every way. The joy you once had going to work is completely gone. You take care of your patients from a place of obligation and frustration, instead of from a place of joyful service and a willing desire. Burnout includes feelings of severe apathy, anxiety, or compassion-fatigue. As a result of burnout, you are not able to perform your job well. Truthfully, burnout leads many nurses to becoming jaded and not caring for their patients to the best of their ability. A lot of times the source of burn out is from a lack of self care. As a nurse, you MUST choose to take care of you too! It is vital to your well-being and longevity as a nurse! Self care will look different for every person, but whatever is soul healing and revitalizing for you, take the time to do it. Self care includes things like, “leaving work at work,” and making an effort to clear your mind once you leave work. Self care may mean sometimes saying “NO” to working overtime and saying “YES” to PAID TIME OFF. You have to make time to take care of YOU. So, make time to read your favorite book, get proper rest, and enjoy time with your family and friends. Go get a massage. Pray, mediate, exercise, eat balanced meals, and drink lots of water. Even on the job, make time to get off the floor, release your bladder, eat a snack, and get fresh air. Take time to nurture your spirit, your body, and your overall health because these choices will help you endure the challenges of being a nurse.
2. Self care helps you become a better employee.
One of the main things that many organizations always push is the importance of patient satisfaction scores. I personally believe that patient satisfaction scores are directly correlated with a NURSE’S SELFCARE SCORE (in most cases lol). The point I am trying to get across to you is this: When you take care of “you”, then you can take care of others better. When you are in a healthy mental, physical, and emotional space, the moment you step foot into your workplace, people can tell… ESPECIALLY, your patients. And, when you are not in a healthy mental, physical, and emotional space, everyone that encounters you can tell as well. The moment you choose to take time to take care of yourself, you will notice how lighter, and just overall healthier you become. Your attitude will become better. Your willingness to endure through challenges on the job will become stronger. You will be less “snappy” and more patient with others and yourself. As a result, you will work and perform better. You will be able to bring your best self to work, which in turn will help you grow into a better employee and serve from a genuine place.
3. Self care helps you to be reminded of the joys of nursing.
Self care aids in your overall health and well-being. As a result, it helps you have healthier mental and emotional clarity. You are able to see the positives and not just the negatives of situations and people. Instead of seeing your job, your work, your patients, and your management from the perspective of “the water glass is half empty,” you can rejoice and appreciate the fact that you have a glass that has water in it. Honestly, nursing is ABSOLUTELY beautiful! I’m so glad I made the decision to become a nurse and you should too. Yes, being a nurse gets hard sometimes. You and I will have moments where we get tired, feel overwhelmed, feel sad, or become frustrated. But remember, those moments are a piece of the pie, they are not the whole pie. Being able to serve others as a nurse is truly a blessing. Being able to be the hands and feet of Jesus is such an honor. To get a chance to meet amazing souls, families and people is an astounding joy! When you take time to take care of you, you will be able to be reminded of all these beautiful aspects over and over again. Self care helps you have a renewed sense of thankfulness and appreciation.
I say all of this to encourage you to spend time every day, every week, every month, and every year to take care of yourself. You will be better because of it and so will everyone you are blessed to encounter.
“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”
– Proverbs 15:13