nurses4wellness blog.

Staying True to You May 2011

Dear Fellow Nurse,

I once met a nurse who told me that her in-laws were ill. Being the nurse in the family, most of their care had fallen into her hands. She felt underappreciated, overwhelmed and exhausted. To help her through this challenge, she was going to a therapist.

The previous week, her therapist asked her an interesting question: “If you didn’t need to spend so much time taking care of your in-laws, what would you do for yourself?” As she told me this story, her eyes filled with tears and she said, “Do you know, I couldn’t even think of a single thing that I would do for me! After minutes of silence, I finally blurted out, ‘I guess I would go for a walk.’”

She had lost her sense of self – who she is and what brings her meaning and joy. Sadly, she is not the only nurse who has shared a similar story.

As you know, this month we celebrated National Nurses’ Week. I have always been proud to say that I am a nurse – I am sure you are too! While being a nurse is an important part of who we are, we need to stay in touch with our sense of self – who we are beyond our role as a nurse. I hope the ideas in this newsletter will help you stay or reconnect with YOU.

Be well,

Janet Fontana, RN, MA

What’s Meaningful to You?

Research has found that engaging in activities that bring you pleasure and create a greater sense of meaning promote health and happiness. The following exercise is a great way to re-connect to experiences that will enrich your life.

Begin by listing 10 activities that you enjoy. Then ask yourself the following questions about each one:

1. On a scale of 1 – 5, how meaningful is this activity?

2. When did I do it last?

3. When do I plan to do it next?

4. Mark your top 3 most enjoyable and meaningful experiences with an asterisk. Plan to make these experiences a regular part of your life!

How would you respond?

Sentence-completion technique, developed by Nathaniel Branden, PhD, often helps people uncover insights that bring about meaningful change in their lives.

Quickly generate at least 6 endings to the following sentence stem to remind yourself of the importance of staying connected to who you are:

~ My perfect day would include – Here are some other sentence stems to ponder:

~If I was willing to say yes when I want to say yes and no when I want to say no –

~I am most happy when –

“I am, I am” Meditation

“I am a nurse.” When we identify ourselves by what we do, we can lose touch with who we are. Sure, roles are an important part of our identity, but we are more than what we do. The following meditation helps you move beyond limitations and connect to infinite possibilities:

1. Sit comfortably with you eyes closed and your right hand resting in your lap

2. Place your left hand in front of your chest about 6” from your body

3. As you say the first “I am” move your hand toward your chest about 4” away

4. As you say the second “I am” move your hand away from your chest to about 12”.

5. Continue for 11 to 31 minutes then inhale deeply, pause and relax.

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Appreciate Your Greatness

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” —-Thich Nhat Hanh

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”—-Ralph Waldo Emerson

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