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July 10, 2023/Nursing/Wellness

Wellness Strategies to Protect Your Mind, Body and Spirit (Podcast)

Practical self-care advice for clinical nurses, nurse leaders and nursing teams

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Nurses are trained to take care of others, but they often neglect self-care. Samantha Connelly, MSN, RN, NE-BC, director of caregiver well-being at Cleveland Clinic, uses a car analogy to highlight the importance of taking care of yourself.

“[Wellness] is kind of like your oil change, getting your car aligned and your tire rotation. It’s putting those things in place to make sure that your car is efficiently running and safely running,” she says. “If I’m not doing those things – like taking care of my physical, my mental, my emotional well-being – I’m risking breaking down on the side of the road with no assistance.”

In a recent episode of Cleveland Clinic’s Nurse Essentials podcast, Connelly explains how nurses can manage stress, avoid burnout and maintain their health, energy and morale. She shares:

  • Lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic about the importance of wellness
  • Self-care strategies during and after a 12-hour shift
  • Insight on well-being for nursing teams as well as individuals
  • Practical tips for staying hydrated, eating healthy, stretching and maintaining a sleep schedule

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Click the podcast player above to listen to the episode now, or read on for a short edited excerpt. Check out more Nurse Essential episodes at my.clevelandclinic.org/podcasts/nurse-essentials or wherever you get your podcasts.

Podcast excerpt

Podcast host Carol Pehotsky, DNP, RN, NEA-BC: So, some thoughts on how to take care of myself during that 12-hour shift?

Connelly: I would say if they’re student nurses that are listening, start your best practices for yourself early on. We all know when we’re in nursing school, we have the nurse that likes to sleep in. We have the nurse that’s up early. We have the student nurse that comes in with Monsters and coffees lining her desk.

Start those healthy habits early. And consistency is key because, as we all know, when you start doing something in small increments, the more you do it, the more you’re consistent with it, the more it’s going to be a part of your day-to-day culture. That would be my first recommendation for student nurses – as I call ’em, my baby birds.

And really kind of thinking, what are the things that you have to have foundationally that make you feel your best? Is it going for a walk? Is it time with your family? Is it, I just need to disconnect completely? Everyone is going to have that different “this is my must,” and making sure you’re penciling that in for yourself.

Because a lot of times, especially, we have our nursing schedule – whether it’s school or we’re actually working. We have our spouses. We have our kids. We have our friends. We have anything else. And the first thing that we usually move on that calendar is something for ourselves. If you look at your week, and you don’t have at least 30 minutes for yourself, you need to be prioritizing that because that is the perfect catalyst for burnout.

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