Nurses often forget to recognise wellbeing as individuals, involving self care is essential especially as the life of nursing is busy and at times exhausting. Outside of work at home some nurses have family as the main priority and some nurses have to meet other obligations that makes them time poor
The saying that ‘nurses are self sacrificing’ is another reason practising wellness is difficult for nurses, we often forget our own needs as all of our energy is focused in the work to provide for patients needs. Sometimes we may even have a feeling of guilt when prioritising ourselves with wellness, every single nurse is definitely deserving to take care of themselves.
Small wellness activities that bring you joy and help you to relax shouldn’t feel like a luxury, it can be simple and offer anyone who is busy a way to to manage stress. The biggest benefit is that it helps to prevent burnout with maintaining your own overall health and well-being.
By finding ways to unwind and recharge it helps you to be in the current moment and to pause a little, this may help you to breathe and bring you to connect with your emotions away from the demands and distractions of being busy to enjoy a greater sense of wellbeing.
Wellness doesn’t have a set ‘prescription’ as we all have different ways to relax and use stress relief measures, it is really individual. Below are 7 different types of wellness, the difference between the highest and lowest priority for you is what you find fulfilling to maintain a positive outlook that is personal to you.
The 7 Practical Areas Of Wellness For Nurses Are –
- Emotional Wellness – Emotional wellness is understanding we feel a range of emotions, it makes us all human. Expressing your emotions in a way that you are comfortable with can be done by having conversations with others, journalling, meditation or using mindfulness. Expressing your emotions helps to build resilience, have better relationships and experience self-awareness to manage stressors and adapt to any life challenges that comes your way.
- Environmental Wellness – Environmental wellness is to be in areas that are pleasant and nature is an environment that can have a direct affect on each person. Outside areas with high levels of pollution with high amounts of noise, poor air quality, water pollution and second hand smoke with long-term exposures can cause long term effects on physical health. Finding cleaner and healthier living environments that support wellbeing, can be outdoor areas where there is clean air, noise is at low levels, clean areas of water all directly impact our overall wellbeing.
- Intellectual Wellness – Intellectual Wellness is about personal growth with learning and finding activities that challenges or even nourishes your curiosity. There are so many different activities that you can do to develop yourself i.e. reading books, learning a new language, trying new practical skills like cooking, writing, public speaking and heaps more. The world around us is constantly changing really fast and to broaden perspective, intellectual wellness helps us to adapt by developing critical thinking, pursuing creativity and improving problem-solving skills.
- Physical Wellness – In healthcare we recognise that prevention is better than cure especially when reducing the risk of chronic health conditions. We do this by taking care of our bodies by regularly exercising, maintaining a balanced diet and allowing your body to get enough rest especially with sleeping well- they are all essential for physical wellness. Exercise doesn’t have to be excessive do something that you actually enjoy like walking or riding a bike, they are simple and leave you with feeling great, having more self esteem and having heaps more energy too.
- Social Wellness – As humans we are all social by nature, people who are in healthy relationships that share similar values, share experiences or just want to hang out in the company of other people with a sense of belonging together are happier, tend to live longer and respond better to stress. Loneliness is growing significantly in many communities and has a negative impact with feelings of sadness, anxiety, physical health issues with even a study finding people in their 80’s who didn’t have strong relationships experienced earlier memory decline and it was the opposite for these in strong relationships who had a sense of connection with others.
- Spiritual Wellness – Spiritual wellness is about yourself intrinsically inside and out, by nourishing yourself as a whole being. Religion is important to values and purpose, although you don’t have to be religious to be spiritual, sometimes meaning within yourself can be found from exploring your values and connection can be found by practices of gratitude, compassion and mindfulness.
- Financial Wellness – This is having a comfortable sense of financial security by having enough money to meet all the needs and demands in your life, basic needs include food, clothing, shelter and transport. Handling finances with a strong financial foundation can help you to handle any random emergencies without too much stress, this gives you a sense of security to make informed lifestyle decisions and maintain a healthy future. Higher financial literacy lowers stress and reduces any money worries while maintaining stability with relationships.
These old sayings of nurses doing selfless work and that ‘nurses are self sacrificing’ has many of us just surviving and this eventually leads to burn out ‘from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’ (WHO, 2019). Wellness allows you to be thriving especially with not forgetting yourself.
Always be kind to yourself – Aussie Nurse