In the current state of chaos we are all living in, it is difficult to focus on the positive. A pandemic that is unpredictable in its devastation and the healthcare professionals struggling to work against it, prevents us from focusing on our own mental health. Right now, we are just surviving.
We are currently engrossed in obsessive thoughts and worry about the state of our future and it is overwhelming. This ultimately increases our anxiety and decreases our ability to appropriately take care of ourselves. The constant stimulus from the chaotic environment evokes a stress response that will ultimately impact our overall health and wellbeing. This can be limited if we take a moment to practice mindfulness.
Kimberly Blanton MSN, MHA and CV Nursing Operations Administrator & Enterprise Director of Infection Control at the University of Kentucky has been focusing on the effects of mindfulness on nursing leaders to reduce stress and improve resiliency in her doctorate program. Her suggestions for us are: “Mindfulness is exercise for your brain. In our busy world, we forget to take a moment and breath and think about the goodness in our lives. The analogy I like to use is, it is like you are swimming upstream, you need to bring yourself out of the river and sit on the bank and let it go. We need to learn how to take a purposeful pause. Often, as healthcare workers we begin our day in the shower thinking of the things we have to do for our workday, when we actually need to become very self-aware of how the water feels at that moment, take purposeful breaths and let the stress leave us.”
So, before you start your day take the time to focus on your breathing and return your mind to where you are and your current state of being. Develop mindful habits and self-awareness as you perform your morning routine such as when you drink your coffee and during your shower. A 5-minute meditation before your day will help you to be able to work more effectively. Try not to be overwhelmed for just a moment by what is around you or what the future holds. It takes time to make mindfulness a habit, but I think you will find the benefits very worthwhile.