Nursing can be a very stressful career. From long shifts to difficult patients, being a nurse certainly is no walk in the park. Because of its stressful and demanding nature, the nursing profession can often cause nurses to feel burnt out and defeated. So, what can these stressed-out nurses do to get back on their game? Well, one suggestion is to start practicing mindfulness in nursing. Mindfulness is an easy, effective technique that can help anyone to be more self-aware and in the present moment. Read along as we outline some helpful methods for implementing mindfulness in nursing.
How to Practice Mindfulness in Nursing
What is Mindfulness?
Let’s start with the basics…what even is “mindfulness?” Mindfulness.org defines this concept as “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” Although this may seem trivial, our bodies are so often overwhelmed with what is going on around us that we tend to lose touch with the matter at hand. This especially rings true for nurses who are constantly on the go. As a result, practicing mindfulness is a healthy technique for nurses (and others) to de-stress and get back in touch with the present moment. All around, it’s a great self-care technique!
How Can Nurses Practice Mindfulness?
While there are countless different ways to practice mindfulness, the following are perfect for nurses or those who are frequently busy on their feet.
Meditation is a quick and easy technique for practicing mindfulness in nursing. If you feel like your mind is out of control and your thoughts are all over the place, it may be a good idea to meditate for a bit. To meditate, all you need to do is find a quiet area where you can be alone with your thoughts for ten minutes or so. Close your eyes, and think about your breathing and nothing else. Meditation is great for nurses because it can be done in just a few minutes. Consider stepping outside to meditate during your break or find a peaceful spot indoors.
If you don’t love the idea of sitting still and quiet for ten minutes, yoga might be more your speed. You don’t need to pay for expensive yoga classes either. There are plenty of awesome yoga videos on YouTube for all different skill levels (my personal favorite is Yoga with Adriene). Keep in mind that the point of yoga isn’t to get in shape, it’s to focus on the movement of your body and put your worries aside.
Grounding is another great way to practice mindfulness in nursing since you can implement it any time. Generally speaking, there are three types of grounding: mental, physical, and soothing:
- Mental grounding is when you take a moment to really focus on your environment and describe it. For example, “the walls of the hospital are a pale gray, my scrubs feel soft and cool against my skin,” and so on.
- To practice physical grounding, take some time to really concentrate on your body and what it’s doing. How are you standing? Does anything feel tense? Scan your body for tension and eliminate it.
- Lastly, soothing grounding is a bit more subtle. For instance, a soothing technique could be thinking of your beloved pet, picturing them clearly in your mind, and remembering why they’re so special to you.
Remember, there are many different mental, physical, and soothing grounding exercises to practice. Experiment with some different ones and find one that is helpful for you.
All in all, practicing mindfulness in nursing is a simple, effective stress reliever. However, few nurses choose to implement it into their daily lives. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed at work, these techniques are definitely worth a shot!
Have you tried implementing mindfulness in nursing? Share your thoughts in the comments below!