Self-Care: A Challenge For Some NPs?

Are you taking care of yourself?

As NPs, we excel in telling patients how important it is to take care of themselves.

But how well are we taking care of ourselves personally and professionally?

Do we follow our own advice?

Some of us do, but I’m afraid for some of us, self-care remains a struggle.

What is Self-Care?

If you’re thinking about candles, a sip of wine or two, quiet music, and the like, you’re on the right track.

However, self-care is about a lot more than bubble baths and candlelight.

In essence, it involves taking action to improve and maintain physical, mental, and emotional health.

It’s about putting on your oxygen mask before you help the person sitting next to you on the airplane.

It’s about being in optimal condition, physically, mentally, and emotionally, so you can provide the best care possible for your patients while taking care of yourself.

We all need downtime, rest, and space to recharge if we want to be effective and make an impact in our work.

But you can’t do that if you’re on the go 24/7.

Why is Self-Care Important?

Most healthcare providers put in long, hard hours, often under stressful conditions.

However, it’s not the long hours alone that NPs and other healthcare professionals must deal with on a day-to-day basis.

There are many patients presenting with pain, all types of illnesses, financial hardships, legal difficulties, emotional stress, relationship problems, and the list goes on.

It’s challenging not to be affected by it, at least to some degree. And if you own a practice, your life may be even more stressful.

After all, you must deal with staffing and employee issues, insurance and billing, and a multitude of other problems every day.

Is it any surprise that burnout is prevalent among healthcare professionals?

Emotional Fatigue and Burnout

As a healthcare provider, you have a front-row seat to human suffering. This emotional burden may result in compassion fatigue or burnout if not addressed promptly.

And just as you would advise a patient with symptoms of stress or anxiety to seek help, why not follow your own advice?

Take time off from work if you feel the need.

Be sure to take regular vacations or at least get away for a long weekend from time to time. Getting away from it allows you to recharge and regain perspective.

Consider mindful meditation or yoga as part of your de-stressing routine, and if need be, add some therapy sessions to help with stress.

Physical Strain and Stress

Whether it’s the long hours on your feet, the struggle to get a good night’s sleep, or the hours spent hunched over the computer to do charts, all will take a toll on the body over time.

And here’s the thing…

You wouldn’t allow your patients to ignore their pain symptoms or push them aside, so please, don’t neglect yours either.

Take care of yourself by exercising regularly as part of your wellness routine—even if it’s just a 15-minute walk around the block after work.

And make it a priority to get a good night’s sleep.

Develop a bedtime routine you can stick with. Prioritize restful sleep by creating conducive environments at home and during breaks at work.

A Balancing Act

Maintaining work and personal life balance can be challenging for healthcare providers.

The demanding nature of healthcare frequently blurs the line between professional responsibilities and personal life, leaving many practitioners feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and close to burnout.

Don’t let that be you!

Work toward integrating work and personal life so that they complement rather than compete.

For example, if you know you must work long hours to catch up, do it in a relaxed fashion instead of getting stressed out over all the work that must be done.

Hobbies, Friends & Family

Engaging in activities that relax you and bring you joy is crucial. Whether reading, gardening, painting, or listening to music, make time for your hobbies and interests. These activities shouldn’t be viewed as luxuries but as essential components of a balanced life.

Don’t neglect your social connections in everyday life. Make time for friends and family. Social support systems play an essential role in managing stress and preventing burnout.

Professional connections are also important. Consider joining a support group for healthcare professionals where you can share your experiences and challenges openly.

Quality Nutrition

This unique opportunity is available to everyone every day, and at that, multiple times each day.

Yes, you may be busy but don’t reach for quick-fix food, which is often not good for you. Instead, put nutritious foods into your body.

Our bodies are like high-performance vehicles, needing quality fuel to function optimally.

Eating a well-balanced diet can boost energy levels, improve cognitive functions, and enhance overall health.

Remember: you are what you eat!
And please, don’t skip meals.

While you may not always have the time to sit down and eat a full meal, at minimum, be prepared with nutritional snacks to tie you over.

And here’s the Secret Weapon…

Smiles, giggles, laughter…

Remember to laugh often and have a good time. Research shows that laughter has healing properties.

As humans, we tend to take ourselves far too seriously.

Don’t do that … try to find humor in everyday situations whenever possible.

In Conclusion,

Burnout is not a buzzword but a reality among many healthcare professionals, including NPs.

Symptoms may include emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a diminished sense of personal accomplishment. It is crucial to recognize these signs early on.

Setting clear boundaries between work and personal life is essential to avoid burnout.

Developing realistic goals, both at work and at home, keeps you from overcommitting. This necessitates learning to say no or delegating tasks when appropriate.

Self-awareness can be enhanced through regular self-reflection and mindfulness practices.

Consider keeping a journal to document feelings and experiences daily. This can help identify stress patterns and triggers, allowing for timely intervention.

Remember, self-care isn’t selfish; it’s essential.

By taking care of yourself first, you confirm that you can continue providing your patients with the best possible care, demonstrating professional commitment and integrity.


Let us know what you think by leaving your comment below.

Your experiences, insights, and feedback are always welcome! And please share this post with friends and fellow NPs who might benefit from these tips, too!

To learn how we can help you start and grow a practice, go to Clinicianbusinessinstitute.com and have a look around.

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