Happy Nurse Practitioner week! This week, Barton Associates is reminding NPs everywhere to “refill their own cup.”, meaning, take some time to care for themselves after a year of caring for others. This blog post, originally posted on Nadia’s own blog, is by a former locum tenens provider, Nadia S., author of The Ultimate Nurse Practitioner Guidebook and owner of the Nurse Practitioner Mentorship Project. To learn more about Nadia and read her thoughts on self-care as a locum tenens NP, visit her past blogs here.
I’m sure you’ve heard in the media information on the importance of a meditation practice, and perhaps being more mindful. Now, most people are aware of what meditation is, but what exactly is mindfulness?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes mindfulness as “The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.” Essentially this means that instead of racing through your day not knowing how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking, you begin to pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Most of the time we go through life, unaware of how we truly feel, or what exactly we’re thinking. This leaves us disconnected from our body, and unaware of what is really happening internally.
Mindfulness vs. Meditation
Before I get into the benefits of these practices, I want to clarify the difference between mindfulness and meditation. Although meditation is similar to mindfulness, it’s not the same thing. With mindfulness you are going through your day aware of how you’re feeling and focusing on the present moment. You allow thoughts to pass through your mind and you do not judge them or resist them, they are what they are.
With meditation, you spend time alone (or in a group) seated comfortably with your eyes closed, clearing the mind, and perhaps setting an intention on a desired outcome. Although these practices are not entirely the same, they both provide numerous positive results.
There are multiple benefits of mindfulness and meditation which include a decrease in depression symptoms, better focus, reduction in anxiety, improved relationships, stress reduction, and improved health. There are many more than those listed, and if you’d like to know more about the benefits of a mindfulness or meditation practice click here. As you can see, there are numerous positive effects of being more mindful. But how can you bring more mindfulness into your life when things are stressful at home or at work? Below are a few tips to help guide you to be more mindful both at home and in the workplace.
Mindfulness at Home
Establish a meditation practice (start with five minutes a day)
Be present with your family when you’re home
Practice mindfulness in the morning to start your day on the right foot
Spend time in nature
Take a yoga class
Mindfulness at Work
Deep breathing through challenges (you can do this with one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly)
Be present with your patients
Do one thing at a time-avoid multitasking
Focus on the present task, avoid thinking of all you have to do in the future
Take a walk on your lunch break
So now it’s time for you to get clear on what mindfulness practice you can bring into your life to achieve all of the wonderful benefits that it has to offer. Remember, you are an individual and have different needs than others, follow what your heart and intuitions tells you on how to be more mindful.