As nurses we give so much of ourselves; caring for others in a way that leaves us sometimes wanting to switch out a patient’s bed for ourselves and just nap. I need not go into details on the reality of burnout in this profession and the importance of doing activities that rejuvenate us. Growing in this great work, I’ve realized the pertinence of replenishing my energy, and spirit way before it completely dissolves.
I’ve seen and heard of so many with such generously beautiful souls who get into the habit of giving, giving, giving until they’re too spent. “You’re down a nurse? Sure, I’ll work a double tonight. I’ve only gotten a few hours of sleep this week but seriously I’m ok!” Or “Sure I’ll take on a 6 patient load of the most ultra-critical people during my long stretch, honestly I’m ok!” Ummm no bae, not ok; best case scenario you’ll pass out as housekeeping sweeps your sweaty but off the floor. Worst case, we become resentful about our work and what we love about doing for patients becomes exhausting, not to mention unsafe. We have to know our limits, not only for the patient’s sake but also to keep us alive too!
It can easily happen, we do so much without even realizing the neglect in taking care of ourselves; replenishing someone else’s health ahead of our own. I can remember an awesome visual from a conference where the speaker held up a water bottle with one hand, tea cup and saucer in the other. She poured water into the cup and expressed that some of us want to give what we have from our cup as soon as it fills up. The harm comes when that cup gets empty and we never keep enough water for ourselves, we persistently deplete what we need. Then this woman poured her bottle of Dasani overflowed onto the saucer, which proceeded a mini waterfall on stage. She explained that we’re supposed to keep it over- flowing, always giving from our saucer.
This analogy made so much sense; the moment we start to feel replenished, motivated and or energized to the max, we want to keep ourselves that way. Sometimes the best course of action is to appreciate taking a vacation, reading material that boosts our spirit.To keep loving what we do involves stepping away and filling ourselves up. That is what reconciles us to the greatest individual of service that we are capable of and through the capacity of amazing purpose.