Practice These Five Self-Care Strategies in Less Than Five Minutes
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 (https://doi.org/10.1188/16.ONF.E161-E169).
What the Research Tells Us
Self-care for nurses is considered part of a holistic nursing practice (https://doi.org/10.1177/0898010115602994). Engaging strategies such as journaling, mindfulness, and retreats may decrease or prevent burnout (https://doi.org/10.1188/14.CJON.211-214). 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 (https://doi.org/10.1177/0898010115602994).
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 (https://voice.ons.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/Self-care-coloring-page.jpg) to get started.
- 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.
- 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 n.ons.org/2UF4mhi (https://communities.ons.org/communities/community-home/digestviewer/viewthread?GroupId=241&MessageKey=8c75c242-91af-489f-8fd0-5ba4b9991fc2&CommunityKey=0b54ba80-79aa-446b-80ae-5434d67c4adf&tab=digestviewer).