Practice These Five Self-Care Strategies in Less Than Five Minutes

May 25, 2019 by Erin Dickman DNP, RN, OCN®

Oncology nursing is a rewarding profession that offers nurses opportunities to build meaningful relationships with patients and families, manage complex patient situations, and provide compassionate care during a scary time in someone’s life. But what makes oncology nursing so special can also make nurses more vulnerable to occupational stress, which can lead to compassion fatigue or burnout (   

What the Research Tells Us 

Self-care for nurses is considered part of a holistic nursing practice ( Engaging strategies such as journaling, mindfulness, and retreats may decrease or prevent burnout ( It is worth it, too, because without caring for yourself it is unlikely that you can care for others with the compassion and understanding they need (

How to Practice

The good news is that self-care doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated. Here are five strategies that you can practice even if you just have five minutes:

  1. Stretch: Raise your arms above your head and stretch them long, or stand and twist from the left to the right. Sometimes just checking in with your body and giving it a couple of good stretches can help you conquer the rest of your day. 
  2. Listen: Do you have a tried and true song that lifts your mood? Find a private space or put on your headphones to immerse yourself in the song for a couple of minutes.
  3. Draw: Being creative or just filling in a coloring page can get you away from stress and focused on creating something. Need inspiration? Here's a coloring page ( to get started.
  4. Journal: List three things that bring you joy or three things that you are grateful for. Some people do this at the start or end of the day. I dare you to try not to smile when you think of the things or people who bring joy into your life.
  5. Move: A five-minute walk can help you get away or give you time to breathe. You could even grab a friend to talk through a situation.

What self-care practices work for you? Share your ideas at (

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