2020/2021 has served up some very challenging times for many nurses and midwives; between the floods, devastating bushfires, and COVID-19 many are feeling the pressure. In fact, I cannot think of another time in my 30+ year career where we have faced so many challenges in such a short space of time.
Uncertainty, stress, anxiety, sacrifice, exhaustion, courage, and the importance of support are a few of the sentiments nurses and midwives have expressed. Self-care is vital for midwives, nurses and students and a message Nurse & Midwife Support is passionate about promoting.
As nurses and midwives, we understand the importance of health and wellbeing to those we care for. But sometimes we put our own wellbeing last. No matter what stressors we face in life we need to nurture our own emotional, physical, spiritual, and social health. What techniques can we build into our day so that we don’t just cope, but thrive?
We hear from some nurses and midwives who feel that self-care is an extravagance or something only a weak person would need, but this is not true. While self-care once seemed like a foreign concept, there is increasing understanding that not only is it beneficial for our personal heath, but by taking time for ourselves we also become better clinicians.
Self-care – what is it?
Self-care is any activity we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health.
It’s a simple concept but often overlooked.
Self-care improves mood, energy and wellbeing.
Self-care is more than a bubble bath. It’s about how you approach each aspect of your life
Self-care is important to ensure that we feel fit, healthy and able to live our best lives and be fully present to the needs of those we care for. It’s important for people who care for others as the fast-paced, unpredictable and people focussed work we do can drain our reserves.
It’s important to find self-care methods that work for you, and carving out the time so that you do them and celebrate it regularly. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive. By scheduling self-care practices, any conflicts or challenges that arise throughout the day become easier to tackle.
This self-care checklist will assist you to ensure your self-care is on track:
- Are you able to take time for yourself without feeling guilty?
- Do you believe you deserve self-care?
- Do you know the difference between self-care and self-indulgence?
- Do you realize self-care does not equal weakness?
- Are you okay with slowing down sometimes?
- Do you have a go-to list of self-care activities?
- Do you make leisure time a priority?
- Have you made self-care a habit?
- Do you have a basic self-care plan, preferably in writing?
Tips for self-care
Our tips for self-care:
- self-care is individual, what works for 1 person may not work for another. Don’t be hard on yourself if you try something and it doesn’t work. Acknowledge the feeling and try something else
- relaxation- choose an activity you enjoy that replenishes you e.g. mindfulness, meditation, fresh air, spending time with people you like, regular breaks from work and build in relaxation time
- establish a self-care routine-make it a habit
- limit alcohol and caffeine- drink plenty of water
- schedule health checks-take responsibility for your own health
- do something each day that makes your heart sing
- do things mindfully–eat, walk, observe
- exercise, gym, yoga, team sports-whatever works for you
- practice positive self-talk
- engage in supervision if work is following you home
- educate yourself–knowledge is power
- listen to your body–don’t ignore your need for rest
- meditate/practice mindfulness–use an app -e.g. Headspace/ Calm/ Buddhify
- have a break from technology
- connect and socialise with people that make you happy.
How can Nurse & Midwife Support assist you?
Nurse & Midwife Support is the national 24/7 support service for nurses, midwives and students. If you would like to talk to a midwife or nurse about your self-care or any other issue please call Nurse & Midwife Support anytime- 1800 667 877 or check out our website www.nmsupport.org.au
You may not be sure why you need to call us but know you need support. We will assist you to work through your issue and gain clarity about the next steps you may wish to take to assist to manage the problem.
Self-care is more than a bubble bath. It’s about how you approach each aspect of your life.
Discover what nourishes YOU and immerse yourself. YOUR HEALTH MATTERS.