A Mindful Pause: How to Increase Concentration and Focus

by | Mar 4, 2015 | 6 comments

Self-Care for Nurses: Increase Concentration and Focus #nursingfromwithinLast month I was blessed with the opportunity to teach a Reiki Level I course to two groups of nursing students. The first week of the course was an eye-opening experience- for all of us.

One of the nursing students shared with the group how he was feeling. He expressed concerns that he was out of touch with his body. That the past months of being in nursing school had made him so stressed, busy and overwhelmed that he felt like ‘a walking head’. What struck me most was how the students expressed they were feeling. In one word: sad.

Now I thought being a nurse and having a nursing career was stressful. I never even realized just how much pressure a nursing student felt. Maybe because when I went to nursing school, I wasn’t 100% invested in the process. Maybe because I didn’t even want to be there (which you can learn more about in the introduction of my bestselling book, ‘Nursing from Within‘). Maybe because at that time of my life I was still a ‘party girl’. Who knows… I realized in the Reiki I class that nursing students experience the same (if not more) stresses that nursing professionals do.

Well the class proceeded as planned and after four weeks it was ‘graduation’ time. On the final day of class, I like to ask the students to create a sustainability plan. It’s one thing to go through a training and then walk out of the room- never using the self-care modality again. It’s another to sit down and actually plan out the logistics of how one might incorporate a self-care modality into their daily life.

One way that you can create a sustainability plan is by calling to mind the benefits. What is it that you actually feel from doing the self-care activity (in this case of my class, practicing Reiki on yourself)? How do you feel after practicing Reiki? What value have you actually received?

When we become aware of the benefits of our self-care actions we are much more likely to carry out the practice on a routine basis.

A student had an exceptional response to this question- one that I felt was important to share with you here. She said that she practiced Reiki on herself before studying and the benefit received was more focus. She was able to concentrate better and get so much more done (this is what she told me and the class). I was thrilled! Imagine… a nursing student who is able to study with clarity and attention. What a benefit!

Sustain Your Self-Care Routine #nursingfromwithinSo I encourage you- think about your self-care practices. What are some of the things you try to do to take care of yourself? Are you looking to incorporate more healthy eating habits? Is it important to you that you start a meditation routine? Are you trying to go to sleep at an earlier time?

Whatever the self-care practice is- think about how it benefits you. Do you feel lighter, less stressed or more joyful? Does practicing the self-care method make you more calm, less tense and full of cheer?

One of the best ways to continue with a self-care routine is to take a mindful pause and feel the benefits of your efforts.

I’d love to hear from you! Have you ever felt the benefits of your self-care efforts? What worked and can you share a comment with us? Thanks for reading and enjoy the day.

6 Comments

  1. Gail

    Thank you for this, Elizabeth. I think the self-care struggle is a universal problem especially if I can’t get it right. Your post inspired a long walk in Central Park (20 degrees, couldn’t feel my toes and fingers) and am so glad I did! It was helpful for me to change my focus for a couple of hours. Thanks, again!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      You’re so welcome, Gail. I am glad that you enjoyed the article and took pause to listen to what your mind-body-spirit needs. Thanks for reading and enjoy the day! -Elizabeth

      Reply
  2. Joan @ TheNurseTeacher.com

    What a wonderful post – especially for most students who are at mid-term right now & really feeling the pressure! Might make this mandatory reading for them!! Thanks for your always important insight and the reminder that taking care of ourselves needs to be intentional!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      So true- it is a great idea to make this type of material learning for all! Thanks for your comments, Joan

      Reply
  3. Dr Rachel Silva, NP

    Elizabeth

    As much as your article titles capture my attention, your content is as much or even more relevant to what initially captured my interest.

    I think it’s easy to forget how stressful being a nursing student is before we take the NCLEX, especially as we transition to the stressful learning curve as a graduate nurse. Your post highlights the humility we should have as we move forward in our career, never forgetting how we felt like a “walking head” and perhaps sad at times, struggling to accomplish our academic pursuits. I also wish I would have read this post this morning after Google let me down, LOL…Once again, you remind me of the importance for one to nurse and nurture themselves. So, off to do some mindful meditation now!

    Reply
    • Elizabeth

      So glad to hear that you enjoyed the post. And received the gift of being gentle with yourself. Enjoy the day, Elizabeth

      Reply

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