I have been meaning to write this post for awhile.. Taking care of yourself so that others can be taken care of. Throughout my career.. all 34 months of it. No one lesson has been more prevalent then taking care of yourself. We all know what we do is stressful and chaotic at times but even in the chaos we must preserve or we will go down with the ship. It is not helpful or even noble to sacrifice yourself for the good of the cause. I have seen and experienced too many tragedies, senseless mistakes, and overall mayhem ensue when caregivers overlook themselves. To be affective we must take care of ourselves; our loved ones, families, friends, and clients are depending on it. Even God rested on the seventh day.
Tips I have learned:
- Arrive early so you do not leave late
- Always double the amount of time you think it is going to take to complete a task so then if you finish early you can tackle one of those 5 to 10 minute tasks.
- Under promise and over deliver
- Drink lots of fluids...Carry water at all times, once dehydrated your brain is not fully functioning. If you're thirsty it's already too late.
- Rest and sleep.. go to bed early so you are well rested. When your brain is tired you make silly mistakes.
- Eat! Do not skip lunch to catch up on work.. When you are hungry your brain is not getting the glucose you need to function optimally; so the work you are catching up on is going to take longer anyways. I know this one is hard, especially in the acute care setting, but trust me you will wish you had taken a few minutes to recharge instead of making that medication error.
- At lunch shut your mind off from work, tasks, and try not to talk about work at lunch. This is your time to recuperate.
- Move.. walk..run.. jump. Move a little each day it is a great way to stay healthy and relieve stress. Also gives you endorphins.
- Prep beforehand ; as much prep work as you can get done is helpful.
- Be honest with your coworkers and yourself about what you need. Speak up! People treat you how you teach them to.
- The most important thing is to be proactive. No one cares about your well being as much as you do.