Put Yourself on the To-Do List

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Life in Balance

It’s an ongoing joke that we nurses have 4 days off a week but spend a big chunk of that time in bed or lying on the couch binging endless shows on Netflix.  The job is exhausting, physically and emotionally and so often we just don’t bounce back.  I often promise myself I’ll do something fun on my day off and then wind up not following through.  This lack of follow through when it comes to self care is a big contributor to burnout.  It seems to be a common theme for us to use any energy we have to take care of the kids, the pets, the spouse or even the aging parents but making time for the things that bring you joy is imperative!

Start by making a simple bullet list of activities that you enjoy.  I try to find one thing for my physical health, one for my mental health and one for my spiritual health.    These don’t have to be big time consuming activities and sometimes one item on the list may be quite small while another takes more time.   Your physical health task could be as simple as taking a 20 minute walk, or going to the store for some fresh produce.   Mental health  and spiritual health can be have a ton of overlap. For instance, coffee with a friend might check both boxes.  On a different day your mental health might be nurtured by something more concrete like finally unpacking some things with a therapist or listening to an educational podcast.  Spiritual health is often nurtured for me by pursuing artistic and creative outlets, whether that’s trying my hand at watercolor painting or working in my garden.

Whatever feeds your mind body and spirit, I find that putting it on my calendar or to do list is as important a task as paying the bills.  And bonus, you get the satisfaction of checking a box on your list just for taking care of yourself!

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