*Written by Sarah Darren
Mindfulness Meditation For Nurses
During the coronavirus pandemic, managing nurse stress has become more important now than ever before. COVID has brought with it extra hours on the job, required moves for some, and caused additional stress due to fears of contracting the virus at the workplace. The behind-the-scenes things nurses deal with bring levels of stress that most people cannot begin to relate to.
Fortunately, there are a few stress-relieving modalities that can be done quickly, and from almost anywhere (including a nurse’s break area). One of the most important being mindfulness meditation.
What is Mindfulness?
After a long, stressful day dealing with a pandemic, nurses still have to go home and do the same daily tasks everyone else does, such as grocery shopping, cooking, raising a family, and taking care of the home. Like many busy professionals, finding time for self-care as a nurse usually goes on the backburner.
According to the National Center For Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) “meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being.”
In other words, the goal of mindfulness is to place your attention on the present. That is also the only thing we have control of at any given time – not what happened in the past, or what might happen at some point in the future.
By tapping into our selves and being more mindful, we can decrease our own stress and anxiousness to handle each moment as it comes.
Additional Recommended Reading:
Mindfulness Meditation For The Beginner: How Do I Start?
When someone hears the phrase, “I’m going to practice meditation” a common thought is, “What do they mean by practice?”
But that is exactly what it is – a practice – even for those who are experienced in meditation.
For nurses who already have a ton on their plates, a practice can be as little 3-5 minutes. The more you make mediation a regular habit, the longer you will be able to sit in meditation.
Find a space, sit in a comfortable chair, or cross-legged on the ground. As you better your practice, you may start to lose track of time (ultimately a good thing), so be sure to set a timer if you are at work. Start your meditation by taking deep breaths and really focusing on each breath, as each breath epitomizes the “now.” Your mind will almost undoubtedly drift again, but catch yourself without any feelings of negativity, and focus on the breathing again. Find your center for as long as you can during your allotted time.
If you continue to struggle to find that peace, you can also try guided meditations which are available as apps or even on YouTube, and with these, calming music and a soothing voice lead you through the steps of breathing and focus and help with your practice.
It’s important to try to do this every day, but just as important to not get down on yourself if you can’t find the time on a given day, or are just too overwhelmed with stress to maintain focus for any amount of time. Pick it up the next day, and if you do it as often as you can, the world around you will seem more at peace, and more bearable as you continue to take on your stressful-yet-extremely rewarding job as a nurse.
Additional Recommended Reading:
- Why Nurses Need TO Prace Yoga: Self-Care For The Caregiver
- Nurse Life: Now To Achieve A Work-Left Balance
About the Author
Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life, including her position as a yoga instructor and raising her two children. When she’s not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.
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🏥 Urban Zen Integrative Therapist