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Nurses Helping Nurses – A Guide to Self-care for Frontline Workers

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Happy Nurses Week!

They were not kidding when they labeled 2020 the Year of the Nurse.

We all have had a personal experience dealing with the global pandemic. Every one has been touched in one way or another; ourselves, family members, friends and patients. Life did not stop when the pandemic began either. Individuals and families have experienced birth, death, missed celebrations and financial hardship. At times like this it is crucial to take care of ourselves. It is hard for some, especially nurses; we are always taking care of someone else. This year we have learned that caring for others is important, but WE need to care and have compassion for ourselves as well. 

One way to practice self-compassion is to treat yourself like you would treat your friend. Would you want your friend to suffer by themselves? No, you would tell your friend not to suffer alone. We need to acknowledge that this is a time when we are all suffering, it is isolating and scary. It is ok to be scared, just do not be scared alone. We need to be there for each other and realize that everyone reacts to a crisis in many different ways, and we need to be gentle and understanding to ourselves first so we can be there to support our families, friends and patients.

Practicing self-care includes physical and emotional features.

  • Physical steps can include:
    • Exercise: go for a walk, do an online workout, dance like no one is watching  J
    • Sleep is vital for our wellbeing. The experts recommend 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep when you need to. If you feel like taking a nap on the weekend, do it! Sleep is when our body and mind refresh.
    • Eat healthy: whatever eating plan you follow (keto, vegan, vegetarian, etc.) make sure to include all of the nutrients to fuel and refresh your body to make you feel the best you can feel.
  • Emotional steps can include:
    • Meditation, practicing yoga, journaling, talking with a friend, writing down three things you are grateful for each day

Self-care practice can include things that make you feel good, refreshed and calm. So take a minute or an hour every day and practice self-care and self-compassion for yourself. You deserve every minute of it.

 

Written by Audra LeGacy, a Registered Nurse at Crystal Run Healthcare