When you passed the NCLEX, you proved you were intellectually competent to provide care in the Western, allopathic health care industry. Your nursing interventions are grounded in evidence based on research and optimal outcomes. However, to survive or avoid the trauma of burnout, you need to be grounded in other ways. It is essential that you have or develop the qualities of being emotionally, mentally and spiritually grounded in addition to being educated. This means knowing yourself very well, which means being grounded in your body, heart and values.
In the midst of chaos do you bring calm, or do you add to the chaos with knee jerk reactions and defensiveness? Do you become overwhelmed and paralyzed? Some qualities of a grounded person are calmness, sensibility, realistic, unpretentious, no- nonsense, present for/in the moment, legitimate and wise. On a scale of 0-10 where do you put yourself in terms of being grounded today?
Regardless of where you are on that spectrum of being grounded, certain situations may trigger you to become ungrounded and less effective in reducing a charge in you and your environment. The following are 4 trustworthy techniques, which take only a few moments, and will help you to stabilize and enhance your groundedness. They can help to focus your thoughts, body, heart and your energy quickly.
- In the Vitality phone calls, recently we have been locating and visualizing the 7 energy centers, known as chakras. By grounding yourself energetically, you help yourself and the environment. The root or first chakra, located at the base of your spine, connects you to your body and to Earth which supports you. Try it now: Bring your attention to the base of your spine. (You may be able to sense the energy better if you close your eyes.) You can visualize the energy going from the base of your spine, down your legs, through your feet, through the crust of the Earth and to the center of the Earth. You could also visualize yourself to be a beautiful tree with your energetic roots in the earth. By grounding yourself, you can energize yourself any time you are waiting. Standing in a line, feel your feet and connect to your own energy, body and Earth. This sure beats grumbling about the length of the line and the wait itself. It also gives your busy mind something positive to focus upon.
- Put your hand over your heart, mentally focus your attention on your chest region and visualize a person, place or animal who makes you feel love or loved. You can also remember an experience where you felt loved. Close your eyes to enhance the experience. By doing this you are energetically grounding yourself in your own heart where love resides. Notice what happens for you after this process.
- Some nurses carry a small stone or special small token in their pocket. When they feel it, it is a reminder to pause, feel their feet on the ground and take a breath and return their awareness to the moment.
- Some nurses use contemplative, mindfulness and meditation practices as sources of grounding. This is a topic for another blog.
Recently my supervisor said she appreciated my calm on a crazy and hectic day. Well, that is the result of keeping myself grounded with practices that connect me deeply to myself and therefore I am available for others.
Grounding yourself is a process of getting to know yourself deeply. Grounding can start with your mind, body, heart or energy connecting you to your values, issues and intuitions. The more you know and understand your inner life the more empowered you are because you have choice in your responses to your life’s challenges . The integrity that develops with grounding yourself in practices that connect you to your inner life supports your confidence and creates healthy boundaries for yourself in the very demanding industry of health care.
Remember, how you respond in chaotic situations depends upon what you do in the non chaotic times. If you practice being grounded regularly, the tools and techniques will be there for you in the stressful times.
program begins August 27th. You can empower yourself with healthier boundaries, ground yourself with 3 Self-care tools of your choice and enjoy the experience of community with other nurses who are also either preventing or healing from burnout.
Please join us as we explore the 3rd chakra in the next week on our weekly call-in for Nurses.
Please share with us tools, techniques and practices that you use to ground yourself.
Take good care of yourself~~
With love, Padma