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May
12

That Whole “Self-Care” Thing

As I’ve gotten deeper and deeper into school, my self-care practices have been … well, lackluster (and that’s a generous descriptor). I pointed out in my 2013 year in review post that self-care got replaced by survival because I had little energy to do much else. But my pea brain has started figuring something out: the less I take care of myself, the less energy I have, which leaves me little energy to take care of myself. It’s a vicious cycle. (Yes, I know that this realization probably occurred to you already…probably years ago.) I’m sure I’ve heard multiple times throughout my nursing career (and before) that exercising/eating right/sleeping well/making time for leisure is key to a happy, healthy life. But what I know intellectually to be true has been harder to come by instinctively. I’ve fallen prey to the myth of self-martyrdom – I’m too busy caring for others to care for myself. It’s a common mistake.

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It’s also the reason why nurses are overwhelmingly overweight, why more than 50% of us suffer from low back pain, why we suffer from levels of exhaustion and fatigue that should be sounding alarm bells, not only for our sake but for the sake of our patients’ safety. It’s ironic that the professionals who work the hardest to promote healthy living are so bad practicing what we preach.

I’m the typically well-intentioned woman who says “I’ll start this journey tomorrow”. Today is my last hurrah, so I’m gonna eat that cheeseburger/pizza/ice cream and veg out on that couch for one more night. Trouble is, “tomorrow” quickly becomes “today” and we live a series of last hurrahs that never turn into action. It’s easy to make goals for tomorrow when it’s always one day away.

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Since I went back to school, I’ve promised myself that when this is all over, I’ll get back on the wagon.

nursing student

 

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Trouble is, the light at the end of the tunnel is faint. And knowing my addiction to school, who knows when “this” will all be over. I’m turning 34 in less than six months and if I keep putting the rest of my life on hold, I’m going to end up looking back and wondering what I was waiting for.

So today is today. I’m planning to share this journey with you for three reasons:

  1. Accountability. Making it visible takes away excuses. I can keep moaning about how stressful my life is or I can buck up and own it. I choose to own it.
  2. Realism. There will be ups and downs. That doesn’t mean I’ll be making excuses (see #1). But it means I’ll have moments of self-doubt along the way. I won’t pretend otherwise.
  3. Walking the walk. I’m a nurse and I am ROTTEN at this self-care stuff. Time for a new path.

So, there you have it. A new series…or perhaps a continuation of The Holistic Nurse, just along a slightly different wavelength. I’m still formulating how it will look on the blog, but I’ll keep you in the loop as it comes together in my mind. One thing this site will not do is become a healthy living/cooking/fitness blog. There are plenty of good ones out there and this is about nursing. But if part of being a good nurse is being good to myself, then hell yes, I want to share the journey with you.

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