We can’t take a bubble bath or go for a, “stupid walk for our stupid mental health,” during a code. Good news: we don’t have to jump in the bathtub or run out into nature to support ourselves when difficult things are happening at the hospital.
how nurses can practice self-care without stopping patient care
Supporting ourselves during and after stressful situations is a form of self-care. One of the downsides of commonly known forms of self-care is that they often need to be practiced outside of work time–like taking a bath or going for a hot girl walk.
But practicing self-care only outside of work hours is like trying to run a marathon with a hydration plan to drink all the water you need only after you have run the race.
Waiting to hydrate and support yourself only after you’ve run a marathon is a bad idea and so is waiting until we have left the hospital environment to support ourselves. Yet, supporting ourselves only outside of work (if we are actively supporting our emotional health at all) is how nurses have been approaching self-care.
While you can’t take a bubble bath in a code, there are simple things you can do to support yourself in stressful fast-paced situations while at the hospital –you can take a deep breath, feel your feet on the ground, and say to yourself: “You know what to do, you’ve got this.” This whole supportive routine can be carried out in less than three seconds and repeated as needed. There is a term for taking action in this way to support ourselves and practice self-care in real-time. That term is fierce self-compassion. (Read this to learn more about the basics of fierce self compassion.)
what is fierce self-compassion for nurses?
Fierce self-compassion is simply cheering for yourself, taking action, or protecting yourself as a dear friend would. So, the next time you are in a critical situation at the hospital and you feel like, “I need a hot bath and to be anywhere but here,” practice a little fierce self-compassion and self-care in real-time and keep the practice going when you get home.
Hydrate DURING and after that marathon darling!!