I was in Yoga the other night and had an amazing insight. I’ll share in a moment, but first some background on what happens in Yoga for those of you reading who may have never practiced.
Now I have been practicing for over five years now. And because of that have had a whole host of Yoga teachers. I’ll never forget the one class I took where the man just started yelling poses out and people jumped into them like military. (That is NOT the style I enjoy and I never went back.) On the other hand, I’ve had some instructors say things that have really touched my life. Like…
- Striving is what it’s all about.
- Notice the tiny movements your body makes as it attempts to maintain balance.
- We don’t DO Yoga; we BE Yoga. It’s about the experience.
- Focus only on your mat. It’s not about judging what you can do compared to others; it’s about yourself.
- Push yourself to the edge of discomfort.
OK- some really great stuff here, right? And back to my realization the other evening I was taking a class. After we had done our initial meditation (that IS what I look for in a Yoga class as I do enjoy that part), our teacher instructed us to set an intention. As I had been feeling scattered and out of sorts, I quietly thought to myself that I will dedicate this practice to grounding, presence, and listening to within.
Well… the realization that came after was a wonderful gift from the intention I set.
I often think a lot about my patterns. I get bored eating something too much and find myself in a ‘food rut’. I stop exercising because I am sick of doing the same routine over and over. I tend to enjoy a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Shake things up a bit. Go with the flow and be flexible. It got me thinking about our nursing careers and how we feel about our work.
Sometimes we find ourselves at our wits end, feeling so stressed out and tired of our jobs. And instead of thinking about the underlying reasons why, we simply complain. That or shut down. (Raising my hand with experience.)
Instead, I wonder if we are simply bored. Are we no longer striving to grow? Do we feel so robotic that there are no longer any tiny movements that push us forward? Are we all about the doing and have we forgotten what it’s like to simply BE a nurse?
If you feel any type of discomfort with your nursing career, I would like to suggest you try the following. Push yourself to the edge of discomfort by getting clear on what it is you really want in a job. Focus on you and the answers will come.
- Pause. First things first. You’ve got to slow down. Before you raise the rebuttal flag, think about the past month, week or even day. Are you always on the go? Do you have appointment after meeting after call after get-together after party? If you don’t have room to breathe, you’ll never figure out what’s wrong (or right) about your nursing career. How can you make a change if you’re not even sure where you’re at? It’s tricky at first, but trust me. The more you can BE and the less you DO, the more answers will come. The changes you need to make are on the inside- so slow down and listen.
- Let Go. When we do the above, we may come to find out we don’t love everything we’re about. Maybe we’ve made some bad choices. We’ve wound up in boring jobs. We did things for other people. We’re a negative thinker. It’s all good. You’re totally normal in these realizations. Many times having that awareness is what pushes people away from this self-reflective work. It’s too hard to take and maybe going back to the ‘way things are’ (even if undesirable) is just easier. You have a choice here. You can let go of what no longer serves you. Or you can give up and set this aside for when you’re ready. It’s up to you.
- Allow. Now don’t take the fact that I moved into step three this quick to mean that step two is done. This work is timely and will continue to evolve. But for the purposes of this post, once you’ve cleared out and made some room you’re similar to an open door. You can begin to focus on the good. Bring in more joy and appreciation. Show gratitude for all that you do have. Allow the little things to light you up. And start to get back to…
- Yourself. This is that true you. Your authentic self that has the answers. You see the reason many of us are searching is because we are filled up with a bunch of ‘stuff’ we have received from the outside. And yes, it’s often good people who mean well- school, our boss, parents, siblings, and even close friends. Yet all of that outside noise pushes us further and further away from who we truly are. Once we make the time and take the steps to touch base with our sense of self… then we can really shine. And guess what? This is the nurse that can MOST help those around her/him.
I’d love to hear what I missed. What would you add to the list above? How do you think you might go within to more fully enjoy your nursing career? Share a comment below and thanks for reading!
About the Author: As a speaker, workshop facilitator, and Reiki Master, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Your Next Shift Workshop, Elizabeth guides nurses and nursing students to a change in perspective, helping them make the inner shift needed to better maneuver the sometimes challenging realities of being a caregiver.