I’ve been pushing myself really hard this month – big projects, full calendar, no time off. When I drive myself too hard, it always catches up with me. I start to feel tired, a little down, and I lose my creative flow. I am not an efficient practitioner or a very attentive mom. This month was no different, and it was not something that could be fixed by another cup of green tea, another piece of dark chocolate, or another glass of red wine. It was time for some serious rejuvenation. [In Wednesday’s upcoming post, I’ll tell you how I did it.]
But it got me thinking: How many people do you know who suppress their need to rejuvenate, who pick themselves up in the morning with their Starbucks grande and numb themselves in the evening with wine, beer, or whiskey? Or worse, at this time of year, by gorging on Halloween candy that’s left on every desk and every break room table?
How many nurses and doctors do you know who are hooked on coffee, junk food, and Diet Coke to get through their long shifts? As a patient, how does it make you feel when you meet your doctor/nurse/practitioner for the first time, and they’re 50 pounds overweight, with big, dark circles under their eyes, and they're too tired to greet you with a smile?
I don’t know about you, but I tend to lose a little confidence. I want my health care providers to look and act healthy, not as if they are sliding into their own abyss of chronic disease.
Why did you go into healthcare? For the money? I doubt it! You did it because you wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, the way someone made a difference in yours. In nursing school, we talked frequently about the concept of self-care and how important it is for our patients. Often, however, we get so carried away in caring for others that we forget about ourselves. (This is doubly true for those of us who are also parents and/or caring for aging family members.)
There are too many of us suppressing our own needs for self-care. You must take that time for yourself to rejuvenate. (Yes, you have the time, I promise.) Set the example for your patients before falling into the abyss yourself. Advocate for yourself, just as we nurses are taught – and ethically obligated – to advocate for our patients.
Healer, you can heal thyself. You don’t need anti-depressants, anxiolytics, benzos, weed, pain meds, booze, sugar, or caffeine.
You need to treat yourself as your highest self. Feel your toes in the sand, your hands in the earth, the sun on your cheeks. Connect with your source.
Healer, heal thyself. Doing so will ripple outwards, exponentially. When you take care of yourself, you automatically set your patients on their own joyful journey towards healing, which has its own ripple effect in their lives.
Set the self-care example for your patients, and they will follow you.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Taking Care of Numero Uno using Earth-based medicine