As many of you know, I have recently shifted my business model. Instead of doing a monthly supportive call, I have updated this practice to a monthly wellness workshop. And each month the theme of the workshop changes to highlight one aspect of our total well-being. So each month the workshop theme will now be linked to the newsletter, daily blog posts, and “brand new” weekly (or so) video clips. This month the theme for our wellness workshop is awareness.
So as I sit down to write the article for this month, I am reminded of a note I received from a fellow nurse. Recently, I have been invited to be a guest blogger on a nursing website. It was quite and honor and I am very excited to start. One of the website coordinators emailed me suggesting a topic for my next article. Now I love when people do this for three reasons: 1) it helps me come up with a topic because, as anyone who does a lot of writing knows, sometimes it is challenging to sit down to write, 2) it helps me focus and narrow down on what is needed, and 3) I love writing to requests because then I feel like I am actually giving the readers what they want (not what I think they want!).
Her proposal was along these lines: “Nurses may have trouble grasping some of these self-care concepts because of the “whoo whoo” factor; nurses are much more logical, task-oriented, and critical thinking professionals- maybe you could write to how nurses can use your concepts in their everyday lives?” I thought to myself, “You know what she’s right? This is a great idea.” So over the course of this month I will begin to break down and delve into how the concepts of awareness, consciousness, mindfulness, and presence can be applied to our day-to-day roles as nurses.
Since I have spent a lot of this post just introducing this concept to you, I may not have time to share all of this in this first article. And that is ok. Gives me something to write about for a couple of posts, huh? “Smile” So let me get started with just one example of how this mindful awareness can be applied.
According to Wikipedia, mindfulness involves bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment-to-moment basis or paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. So what does this have to do with nursing? After some reflection on my own experience with working on a busy psychiatric unit, I’d say… a lot.
Picture this: You are running charge. Because of unit staffing you also have to take on a patient assignment. Being the charge nurse on a psych floor, you are tasked with running the morning community meeting. While you are leading the group discussion the overhead pager calls you to the nurse’s station for a phone call. As you hastily wrap up the meeting and head for the phone, a physician stops you asking if the admission from the emergency department has arrived yet. After that you are brought over to the medication window by one of your patients who wants to argue with you about the dosage of his Ativan. By the time you get to the nurse’s station you forget what you were headed there for in the first place, only to have them overhead page you a third time…
Sound familiar? I am sure at least one of you can relate to the scenario above… or something similar. Our jobs are busy, fast-paced, and interactive. We are pulled and pushed in numerous directions. We are needed, called for, and asked of constantly. Working and living in this way can have one’s head enter a tail-spin of overwhelm, exhaustion, and irritability. I know… as it happened to me.
So what do mindfulness, awareness, consciousness, and presence have to do with all of this? Well, by implementing some specific tools and strategies into your daily life you can work with less stress and greater ease. You can cultivate peace of mind even while excelling in a busy job. You can balance your tasks, tend to it all, and finish up with a productive and meaningful work day.
Stay tuned this month as I take you through some articles that all touch on these concepts. Come on back to the blog for posts about:
- The definitions of awareness, consciousness, mindfulness, and presence;
- Tools to help you cultivate peace of mind;
- How multi-tasking is really not an efficient or productive experience;
- Why shifting your awareness is empowering;
- And much more!
So come on back each week and check out what is else is new and helpful to you! Enjoy!!