Your Life Outside of Work: 3 Tips on Self-Care

For the most part, the month of February makes people think of ‘love’. With the Valentine’s holiday, whether you view it as hallmark or not, we are reminded of relationships and the values of caring and love. While it is certainly nice to bring flowers home to your spouse or candy treats into the workplace for your colleagues, what about the most important person in your life? You!

online NP blog. Feb postSelf-love can be difficult. On one hand, we want to avoid being perceived as egotistical or ‘full of ourselves’. On the other, when was the last time you honestly thought about loving yourself? Sure, we give pets, children, siblings, and friends hugs and kisses… but what about turning that around towards you? Have you ever even thought of hugging yourself?

Sounds silly I imagine. Maybe even physically impossible to do. Yet, one would argue, that the very best way to take care of yourself as a nurse and thrive in the nursing field is to ensure that you are doing things to unwind, reboot and refocus. Taking care of yourself in this way reveals the creativity needed for you to be productive in the workplace.

Here Are Four Ways to Show Yourself Some Love this Month

  • The Self-Gaze Exercise: Now this one may be tough; it may take some time to get used to. What you want to do is look directly at yourself in the mirror. Not at the gray hairs poking through or the unblemished skin popping out. Look into your eyes. Look at yourself. And while you are looking at yourself, say the following aloud: “I love you. I respect you. I am grateful for you. You love you. You respect you. You are grateful for you. (First name) loves you. (First name) respects you. (First name) is grateful for you.” Do this once daily, with your morning routine, and notice if anything starts to shift.
  • The Pampering Practice: Most of the time we are taking care of another person. We make sure our patients are comfortable; we cook meals for our families; we call and check in on friends and parents. What about gifting ourselves with a treat from time-to-time? This is about showing yourself some sensual love. Allow all of the senses to become involved. Take a hot bath with aromatherapy oils. Go get a massage. Treat yourself to a Reiki treatment or sound healing session. Do whatever it takes to tune into to the feeling aspects of your nurse within.
  • Schedule Yourself In: As nurses, we are organized. Many of us are calendar-carrying professionals who walk to the beat of an organizational drum. So you have your work schedule all planned ahead. The kids’ carpools are mapped out. Everything is written down (or typed in) to its proper place and time. Well, what about you? Look at your calendar- are you on it? I literally have to write down ‘take a boot camp class’ or ‘go to spinning tonight’. Make a date with yourself in the calendar that you cannot break. This way when someone calls and asks you to do something for them, you can refer to your calendar and answer honestly, “No, I cannot help you this time around. I already have an appointment at that time.”
  • Treat Yourself to Your Favorites: I also should have added, ‘without feeling badly about it’. So often I hear people say things like, “I shouldn’t eat that (fill in the blank). It’s so bad for me.” Or, “Gosh, I feel so guilty just sitting here doing nothing. There must be something to clean!” You know what- there will ALWAYS be something else that you could be doing. But once in awhile it’s OK to do nothing. Do what you want to do. Take yourself to a movie of your choice. Sit outside in the backyard, listening to the birds. Read a good book- just for fun (not for class). Eat that piece of chocolate pie. And enjoy it! Treat yourself at least once per month to the perks that will fill you up with joy.

Do you currently do anything to show yourself self-love? Do you have self-care strategies that help you? Be sure to tweet me @ElizabethScala on Twitter to tell me how you celebrate and love yourself.

Elizabeth Scala

Keynote speaker and bestselling author, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Nurse’s Week ‘Art of Nursing’ program, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and a playful pit bull.