Integrate Self Care Practices into Nursing

by | Aug 27, 2018 | 4 comments

Self Care Practices

Guess what? Along your self care journey, you may just slip and fall. And, that’s OK. That is the reason that these are called self care practices.

These activities that you are trying out and committing to– they aren’t set in stone. It’s not a statue; think of self care practices more like a recipe.

You may forget to do something one day. You may not have the time. Work could get in the way or the children may need you. And guess what?

That’s all good!

Self care practices are best when you allow yourself fluidity and gentle ease. Trust me, I am writing this post, but far from perfect in my own self care activities each and every day.

What’s with Practice?

To me, practice is one of the most special words we have. It means continuing to do better, trying to improve, always striving, and knowing that you can always evolve and grow.

Sure, that isn’t the “formal” definition of practice, but when I think of self care practices this is what comes to mind.

Self care changes. As you move through life, you will evolve. Your age or ability to do certain things may have you shifting to different types of activities. Your location or work schedule may have you decide that it’s time to change things up.

And as nurses, we can look at self care practices as opportunities to assess, plan, and evaluate. We can actually use our nursing process as we think about our own well being!

A Specific Example

One thing I often find myself coming back to for my own healthy habits and routines is yoga.

Sure, I may find a new studio or take a class from a different instructor, so that I can change things up and not get bored. But in the end, I enjoy yoga very much so I will use it here as my example for you.

Many yoga teachers will say at the start of class to be mindful that this is a practice. They encourage us as students not to look around the room, comparing ourselves to others and judging what we can or cannot do.

The yoga instructor will also remind us that the practice will change over time for us. One day, we may be very tight and feeling tired. We may not be able to reach all of the way to the floor as we did last week. Another class, we may be on the top of our game, and WOW- be able to do that handstand we could never keep up!

Each time I step onto the yoga mat, I recenter. I realize that I cannot compare my abilities in yoga today to last week or the next time I come around. It is a self care practice that helps me be present in the here and now.

So, as you consider what types of activities you will get yourselves involved with, how will you let go of criticism and allow yourself to always improve over time?

They Become Routine

The final thing I’d like to speak to about self care practices is that if you treat them as such and aren’t as rigid with these activities as you might be with something like work- they become a part of you.

Here’s another concrete example to illustrate this point.

You brush your teeth every day, right? Were you perfect at it? In fact, when you were born, could you hold a tooth brush and do it yourself?

Likely not.

So, what did you have to do? As you grew older, with time and practice, you got better. And then, you got so good and did it so often that this practice became a routine for you.

Well, what about self care practices? Could your approach to them in this easy-going, non-judging way… could you start to see self care activities as practices that become routine?

Rather than seeing your healthy habit as a chore to be done- why not see it as something that you are playing with, aiming to perfect, not caring if you ever do, over time? Then, if it sticks, meaning you LOVE it and do it often without thinking- then you’ve reached the ultimate goal…

Those self care practices are now part of your daily habits! Ahhh…. wouldn’t that be nice!

Make Your Shift

Since so many nurses approach me online asking questions about how to stay healthy as a busy nurse, I figured… why not help out with some suggestions for self care practices!

I am super excited to bring you another five-part mini podcast Make the Shift series! This time we’re talking all things about healthy habits and self-care goals.

In this fifth of five podcasts, we will cover:

  • What types of simple tools can create lasting habits;
  • How to apply research methods for sustainable success;
  • Why using a tool like the SBAR (Situation Background Assessment Recommendation) can support well-rounded goal setting;
  • The type of time frame you should use in setting health goals;
  • And how to make self care practices attainable and fun!

Enter Tierra Owen: A Healthy Holistic Nurse

I’d like to introduce you to one of the best advocates for self care that I know, Tierra Owen. In fact, this isn’t the first time you have met Tierra as she was a guest on episode 130 of the Your Next Shift podcast.

Tierra Owen, RN, BS has been a registered nurse for more than 12 years, specializing in labor & delivery and postpartum. She recently launched Nursing Ourselves, an online platform and hub to increase nurse self-care. Visit Tierra and check out her course, Nursing Ourselves, by clicking here.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Tierra about self care practices and what support you will receive within Tierra’s online course. Check out the video interview below:

Get Started with Your Self Care Practies Today!

What’s awesome about Tierra is her love of helping other people, specifically nurses. Tierra not only coaches nurses in a self care plan- she supports us all by teaching us how to nurse ourselves to whole person health.

If you’ve been thinking about embarking on your own self care journey– here’s your chance to make it happen! Take the first step and explore Nursing Ourselves. Tell her I sent you and enjoy health and happiness in your nursing career.

p1050390About the Author: Keynote speaker and virtual conference host, Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, partners with hospitals, nursing schools, and nurse associations to transform the field of nursing from the inside out. As the host of the Nurse’s Week program, The Art of Nursing, Elizabeth supports nursing organizations in celebrating and recognizing their staff in a meaningful way. Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.


  1. Albert Voloh

    Thank you for your website! Thank you for your work! Thank you for writing articles about the most important topics! Continue in the same spirit! I, and all my friends will be your faithful readers!

  2. shawn barai

    There was a very nice article. I have learned a lot. I would like to thank the author of the article for this.

  3. Amanda Mathews

    Thanks for sharing! This is a really good tip for nurses. I have done my nursing education from Modern Tech Nursing, they definitely offer the best study plan.

  4. Jackie

    Hi, Elizabeth!

    Thank you for sharing this information with us. I really enjoyed your idea of approaching self-care with a relaxed mind frame and not aiming for perfection. When you approach it with rigidity, you just create more stress in your life. Being flexible with your self- care routine will help you stick with it in the long run. Instead of thinking of it as a chore, think of it as a gift you’re giving yourself.


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