After a long shift, you finally get home and strip off all of your MRSA and C. diff contaminated clothes and get ready for a hot bath…hopefully by about 8:30 if your end-of-shift report didn’t take too long. Imagine the feeling you get from taking a warm bath with some Epsom salts. The salts acts as a natural muscle relaxer and provides your body with vital magnesium to fight anxiety and ease stress. I find that after a warm Epsom salt bath I can go to bed easily and have a restful nights sleep. The Epsom salts are actually a combination of magnesium and sulfate. As a nurse, I know that magnesium plays an important role in muscle control, electrical impulses, and production of energy.
Nurses experience a lot of stress on a daily basis so getting enough magnesium is important. Most people are magnesium deficient if they consume carbonated or caffeinated drinks daily, eat refined sugar on a regular basis, or drink more than 7 alcoholic beverages a week. Taking an Epsom salt bath at least once a week is a relaxing way to get more magnesium in your life. Place two cups of Epsom salt in your bath, let it dissolve, and voila! Get in and let the magic happen! Let me know if you’ve tried this and what you felt like afterwards.
To be a nurse it is necessary to have high emotional intelligence. This is something I struggle with sometimes, especially when certain patients push my buttons. It would be easy to lose my cool and say something I’ll regret later when called into my manager’s office. But, being able to step back, take a deep breath, and remember that it’s all about the patient is what saves me most days. Breathe In….Out….In….Out…..
There’s a practice I learned about while getting my BSN called “mindfulness meditation”. I took a therapeutic touch class and we all meditated for about 10 minutes at the beginning of class. The goal was to sit still, pay attention to your breath, and let thoughts come to mind. If a thought came to mind, you were to dismiss it and draw your attention back to your breath. Your mind may wander constantly–mine did–and then when you are ready open your eyes and pay attention to how you feel. How are you going to start your day? What is your attitude going to be like today? Are you going to send out positivity or negativity? If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, go to www.mindful.org.
This practice is simple, and with time you will get better and better. You will be able to recall the peacefulness of your breath when you are in a patient’s room and suddenly just taking that one breath will be enough to calm you down. Let me know if you’ve tried this and what you think!
I want this site to be a place where I can post about self-care for nurses. Oftentimes we put our patient’s needs before our own, especially during a 12-hour shift. When we have some free time (finally) to ourselves, we want to relax and de-stress as much as possible. The workday can be better as well with a few simple changes. Take care of yourself at work, and on your days off!
A good tip I’ve found is to change shoes halfway through your shift to give your feet a new feeling. We are on our feet all day so the shoes you wear are very important. I like to wear Danskos clogs because I feel like they really do the job. My patients are always very interested in my shoes. They want to know if they are really comfortable… and they are! The solid wood bottom of the clog keeps me going all day. However, if you do wear sneakers to work try changing your shoes halfway through your shift and let me know what you think.