Some health practitioners give up, thinking that stress and overwhelm are inevitable. They aren’t. But to make a shift, you have to make a conscious choice and practice some new skills. It may take a little effort at first, like learning a new language, but the great thing is that once you develop these habits, you increase your resilience to stress and overwhelm and have more joy and inner calm.
Here are the four key elements we work with to make the shift. They are very simple and very powerful:
Your passion to give to others is what keeps you showing up everyday. And yet, you can’t keep giving without filling up your own tank. The time you take to restore and renew yourself is invaluable to your mind and body’s health. I think of it like breathing. You can’t just exhale all day, you need the in breath, too. In equal measure.
The practice of mindfulness is so much more than just taking a breath, though that’s incredibly helpful. What Mindfulness can do for you is transform your usual triggers of stress and overwhelm into a sense of spaciousness and ease. And if you’re thinking you can’t learn to meditate, you’re in good company! Most people hold this belief before they begin to practice, but then find it really is a skill that we all can learn and greatly benefit from.
With less stress, you can focus more, stay present and caring even when someone is angry, have humor to lift up someone’s spirit, and go home at the end of the day knowing you did your best. Because you did.
We are more than our physical bodies and when we find, even small ways, to acknowledge how hopes and dreams as well as stress and burdens affect us, we can have a more powerful and long lasting effect on our health and well being. Also, learning to trust patients’ and families’ innate wisdom into what can help them heal, creates the relationships that help us all heal.
Patients need healing environments to heal in and health professionals need healthy environments to work in. How do you do this amidst the chaos, uncertainty and even toxic communications? Sometimes this takes stepping back and reclaiming your purpose in health care. Add a mindfulness practice and a full inner tank and you have the ingredients to support you cultivating healthy communication and relationships at work.
To get started, I invite you to download my free video Room to Breathe. In 6 minutes I show you how to change a stressful moment into one with more ease and calm. Sign up on the right side of the page and it will be delivered to your inbox.
Or take a look at the online programs and coaching services that are just for you, to help reduce stress and overwhelm and bring holistic mind-body strategies to work with you.
Mindfulness has changed my healthcare practice by helping me to stay centered on the important work I am doing. Over years of clinical management I became a too-busy distracted professional and thought my unquiet, always thinking and planning mind was helping me to get more done. Instead I was less effective than I thought I was. I was unaware and impatient when I thought I was focused and productive.
I was surprised to find that the more I slowed down the more I got done. Jackie’s class helped me to start a daily meditation practice and over time I realized I didn’t have to always plan and that it was ok to step back and let myself be present in the moment. I am more appreciative, vastly less stressed and just as productive as I need to be.
-Laura Showers RN, MSN Infection Preventionist/Accreditation Specialist