3 Ways Mindfulness Can Prevent Nurse Burnout

Nov 1

When you’re a great nurse, it’s easy to let the job consume you. You may find yourself losing perspective as you go about your daily routine, which can lead to frustration and even burnout.

This is where mindfulness may make a difference.

Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of where we are and what is happening at all times. It is the practice of being fully present and grounded in reality, without obsessing about the past or worrying about the future. While mindfulness is to some degree innate, there are also specific practices you can implement to become more mindful in your day-to-day life. These three practices can be used even during your busiest days, so you’ll still have the time and ability to do what you do best.

3 mindfulness practices to use at work

Start your day right

Did you know that our bodies release the most amount of stress upon waking? Often, thinking of the day ahead releases cortisol into our blood — the same hormone that’s triggered by the “flight-or-flight” response. This can cause us to feel stressed before we even get out of bed. To combat this, try to spend two minutes after waking focusing on your breathing. Let your thoughts and anxieties about the day drift away as you breathe and use this time to focus your mind for the day ahead.

Stay focused on tasks

A mindful mind is defined by two skills: focus and awareness. As a healthcare professional, you’re already trained to be aware of your patients and to focus on their care. Turn these skills inward and focus on a single task that needs to be done while releasing internal and external distractions. Although you may not be able to spend a great deal of time on your tasks, staying aware and focused as you complete them may help you to increase your effectiveness, decrease your mistakes, and even enhance your creativity.

Use breaks for mindful exercises

Mindfulness exercises are perfect even for busy days — you can complete some of them in under two minutes. If you have a place to sit down, sit with your back straight and close your eyes. Try to completely relax your body and take deep, slow breaths: inhale, exhale; inhale, exhale. Narrow your focus only to your breathing. If you find yourself becoming distracted, return your thoughts to your breathing.

It’s important to know that mindfulness doesn’t mean slowing your job down or ignoring your responsibilities; it’s about increasing your awareness in your work and in your life. It’s about staying on track with your goals by being more present and focusing more on your tasks. However, if you find yourself continually overwhelmed by your responsibilities, you may want to consider finding a new position. We’d love to help you take the next step!

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Molly Powers