We coaches are always thinking about how to explain what exactly it is that we do. A very smart friend of mine recently shared her perspective on this. When she gets asked "What do you do?", she responds "Whatever it takes."
I absolutely love this response, mainly because I think we nurses respond the same way every day.
We have too many patients, with too many tasks, and too many distractions, and too many obstacles.
And yet, somehow, we find time to get it done.
Somehow, we find a way to comfort.
Somehow, we save lives and still find time to document the education we gave on medication side effects.
When things go wrong we work with what we have, and help each other out, and jury rig equipment to make it all work.
So when it comes to being a nurse, I know you understand "Whatever it takes".
New question: What would your world be like if you took care of yourself as well as you take care of your patients?
What is your self care was not an optional activity? You know, IF you have time and IF you get around to it and IF someone else doesn't need you more.
What if the question was "What do you do to take care of yourself?"
Could you still answer "whatever it takes"?
Being a nurse is hard, and I know if you are still reading this I am preaching to the choir here. So if you don't want your nursing career to flame out in martyrdom and burnout, then you might want to consider how well you are building yourself up.
If you hate your job, make a change.
If you are sitting in your car in the parking lot until the last possible second because you are afraid to start your shift, something isn't right.
If you feel empty, find ways to fill yourself up. Go on a walk. Get a massage. Eat better. Sleep more. Play with a dog. All those things we know we "should" do, but never seem to make time for.
Self care is not something that will happen to you. You can't just wait for it to magically happen on its own.
You make the choice to prioritize yourself and your well being. You make the choice to find the ways to fill yourself up so that you can continue to take care of your patients. You make the choice that you are worth it.
(Pro tip: You are.)
We are all different, and what you need to do is going to be unique to you. But if you are ready to feel better, then start doing it.