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Do You Eclipse Your Own Brightness?

On August 21, 2017 our much smaller moon will cover our sun’s light for a full eclipse. For some, the sky will go black, it will appear to be night with stars shining in the middle of the day. Depending where you are on the path of the eclipse, there will be varying degrees of darkness or partial eclipses. With this, I am reminded of how unconscious  cultural and personal habits can eclipse a shining light. Joseph Campbell says, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are,” and yet too often, as a hospice nurse I heard  people say, “I wish I had … “, fill in the blank with an unexplored or unattempted dream. Don’t let this be your story.

Our nursing profession offers infinite and unique opportunities for you to manifest your loving heart and essential bright light. So, if you are not shining your light, what are the obstacles keeping you from doing so?  Self compassion is a profound acceptance of your being, regardless of successes and failures and is consequently different from self esteem which is having confidence in your own worth, or abilities. Self compassion is about how you treat yourself, how you talk to yourself and what you say to yourself. When you have self compassion, you recognize you are “a work in progress”- you are kind to yourself and get the help you need when you need it. With self compassion, you shine your light to remove the internal obstacles that eclipse it. Do  you give yourself self compassion?

Your answers to the following questions may indicate obstacles to your shine, preventing you from manifesting your gifts. 

  1. When someone gives you a compliment can you say “Thanks” without an explanation? Can you take in the positive without minimizing or deflecting it?
  2. Do you have unresolved anger and resentments that keep you from connecting with yourself and others?
  3. Are you procrastinating on taking your next career step? Why?
  4. Are you getting enough sleep regularly?
  5. Are you taking care of your spirit and are you happy?
  6. Are you taking good care of your body with proper nutrition?
  7. Are you getting enough exercise to feel fit?
  8. On a scale of 0-10 what is your confidence in taking new steps in your life?
  9. On a scale of 0-10, what is your shame factor?
  10. When was the last time you completed a PROQOL  (Professional Quality of Life) assessment?
  11. When you accomplish something do you take time to savor and appreciate your success, no matter how small?

Remember self compassion can start as a healing process. It is a lubricant for getting unstuck and is a muscle that can be developed. Learning and practicing it is a boon for us all since no one else can shine your beautiful, unique light. Sharing your gifts in the world is not only a source of happiness for you, but can be a source of inspiration and healing that benefits the world we live in. Removing whatever is eclipsing your light is a win/win.

There is an early bird discount for the next Vitality in Progress: Healing and Preventing Burnout for Nurses   which begins August 27, 2017.  We support you in changing habits that eclipse your light as you build your self compassion muscle, so you can  manifest your gifts and exercise your talents.


Dewdrops on a flower dandelion at sunset close up

Please join us on our weekly phone call
Self Care for Vitality                    
Free Virtual Connecting Weekly Call-in for Nurses
Phone 712-432-3066
Pin 177444
Wednesdays 6:30-7:00 pm EST
There is a short guided relaxation, followed by a short time for silence
in community and optional sharing
 We present tips and strategies for Self care on a variety of topics such as:
Setting boundaries, balance, healing, self love, vulnerability, and other topics as they arise.
You can join in with a share or just listen in.
In the meantime, have a great week taking great care of yourself.
With love, Padma

Are You Shooting the 2nd Arrow?

What you do with the discomforts and pain that you experience in your life makes a huge difference in how you relate to yourself and others. Buddhists say anytime we suffer misfortune, 2 arrows come our way. The 1st arrow comes to you from the outside and may or may not be in your control. You may experience pain, disappointment, discomfort, sadness or anger. The second arrow is your response to that first arrow, taking the form of a judgement, criticism, shame, numbing or blame directed back at yourself or another. The question becomes, “is the 2nd arrow necessary?” It causes suffering on top of that 1st painful arrow.

What is your habitual response to the 1st arrow?

3 examples:

1. I made a mistake at work, a colleague brought it to my supervisor’s attention and then came to me to tell me what I’d done, how to correct it and how to prevent it. The first arrow was the mistake. Life happens and I make mistakes. That part of the experience was uncomfortable because I don’t like making mistakes and I was grateful for the fix and prevent information. However, at the end of the day and for some time afterwards, I experienced the habitual 2nd arrows of shame, inadequacy, wanting to blame someone, and wanting to numb the feelings with addictive behaviors and worries about what was going to happen as a consequence.  Days later, noticing the 2nd arrows, I began speaking kindly to myself, focusing on my breath, and feeling my body and feelings, without catastrophizing. I began to see the situation for what it was, stopped the 2nd arrows and moved on with whatever else was up for that day~~ lesson learned!

2. I had a patient who felt she had somehow caused her leukemia diagnosis.  Her guilt and fear are feelings based in judgments and not in reality. In shooting  the second arrow, she was less available to receive the support and love available for her. Shooting the second arrow  increased not only her own suffering but that of those who loved and wanted to help her. Do you know people who express guilt about bringing a health problem upon themselves and fear of becoming a burden?

3. The other day I felt a sharp pain in my lower back upon standing. I hobbled to work but had to leave early because of the pain. Days later, annoyed with the ongoing pain, I began feeling angry about my condition, for aging and for the ongoing spinal issues that I can do little about. When I realized that I was shooting the 2nd arrow, I just stopped and continued to allow myself to be quiet and rest and became inspired to write this post. 

 Young children and animals don’t seem to shoot 2nd arrows when they are not feeling well. Without judgments they do what they can, when they can- rest, heal and move about when they have the energy.

The key is becoming aware of your responses to life’s events. During this week, as you observe your responses to life’s events– discomfort, frustration, anger, disappointment, sadness, notice if and when you shoot yourself or others with arrows. Here’s the good news: you can choose to stop the 2nd arrow any time if you are aware. If shooting the 2nd arrow is a habit, it may take time and practice to stop or change it.  When you stop the criticizing, numbing behaviors, blaming, judgments and shame (the sources of your suffering), you increase your happiness and empower yourself with clarity to address what it is you can control.

Along that line, the early bird registration is discounted for the Vitality in Progress: Healing and Preventing Burnout for Nurses. In this on line program you receive lots of support for not shooting the 2nd arrow as you create your own Self care plan based upon your burnout  and self care assessments. 


And in the meantime, please join us on our weekly phone call.

Self Care for Vitality     


PAUSE to Nurture Your Vitality

Welcome to the pause. I invite you take a few minutes to slow down, breathe, and use your internal pause button. No need to do anything except be with yourself for a few minutes. I’ve provided a guided meditation to help facilitate the pause. All you have to is press play.

With Love, 

Vitality in Progress: Healing and Preventing Burnout for Nurses program
Takes you from WORKLOAD OVERWHELM AND BURNOUT and helps you to remember saying;
“I get so much satisfaction from being able to [help] people. I am a very caring person.” Get More Information and Sign Up Today.
For More Information >Vitality In Progress

Savor & Celebrate Each Step Of The Way

As a nurse, you acknowledge and celebrate the successes of others as they learn new skills, improve their healthy behaviors, or do well after a surgery. You may be getting kids to their games, classes or practices and showing up at your partner’s business functions, in addition to preparing meals. You get to work on time or maybe even early. You put in a full day of work possibly receiving accolades for your good work from colleagues and management and then go on to the next activity.

You show up for people and activities that depend upon you, but how are you showing up for yourself?  Are you putting your own needs onto a “back burner”? A word of caution: what’s on your back burner can, over time, cause you to feel frustrated, ashamed, disappointment and become yet another stressor by being an energy drain.

Some time ago, I had a file of cards, letters and pictures that I wanted to put into a book. I had been collecting these mementos for years, and eventually it became a daunting, overwhelming task to even consider addressing. I could feel my energy drain and my spirits drop, when ever I thought of it, so I’d put it back on the back burner. The same would happen when I thought about my living will.

The 4 stage process below is what I used to create my living will and to create a book designed to prevent such a pile up again. With those energy drains gone I began to feel so free. Savoring and celebrating every incremental step in this 4 stage process is the key to successfully decreasing, eventually eliminating your energy drains. You end up not only feeling better and having more energy but your perspective changes as a result of taking better care of yourself.  You actually change your brain, becoming more open to experiencing happiness. I can honestly say I don’t have any Back Burner Energy Drains at this time!

Rick Hanson,  neuropsychologist, author of Buddha’s Brain and teacher reports that our brains can be sculpted. You begin to rebuild the micro-circuitry to gradually shift the emotional shadings of your interior landscape by making positive experiences last by staying with them for 5, 10, even 20 seconds. This is the savoring process. Having a sense of happiness for your accomplishment is a form of celebration which you can do with or without others, enhancing your internal strength.

Savor and Celebrate Each Step as You Eliminate Your Back Burner Energy Drains

  1. Identify your Back Burner Energy Drains: Possibly inadequate sleep, no reflection/down time, poor exercise habits, unhealthy nutrition, a needed education or career move or even attention to your financial future, organizing your mementos, creating your living will…check inside yourself for any others.
  2. Discern which one to begin working on.
  3. Create an action plan of Specific, Small and Scheduled steps to address  that one Back Burner Energy Drain.
  4. Create an accountability process- partner or partners with whom you report, share, celebrate your process.

Delores, was describing her chaotic and hectic day as a prison counselor, where she has worked for over 20 years. She has been developing better ways of caring for herself at work including better food choices and not getting flustered so often. In the middle of her story she mentioned that she went into a safe room, sat down, closed her eyes, withdrew her attention from the concerns and chaos of the work scene and took a 2 minute meditation break. (This was a new behavior for her.) She also spoke with a trusted colleague about what she did.  At the end of the story before going on to the next topic, we spent time unpacking the experience of the new behavior. In that process she was able to more fully appreciate and savor the good feeling and empowerment it engendered.  The new behavior was a win.

Taking time to remember and re-experience it deepened the new neural pathways she is developing as she creates new Self care habits.  Identifying her Back Burner Energy Drain of not caring for herself at work, she started with a small step, acted on it and celebrated by sharing it with people on her accountability team making her stronger for herself and even possibly setting a different and healthy example for her colleagues. Giving yourself credit for your courageous decision to identify your Back Burner Energy Drains is empowering.

*** Savor and Celebrate***
Beginning to address Back Burner Energy Drains
increases your sense of self integrity.

  *** Savor and Celebrate***
Creating  the action plan is a success in its own right
because it is a start.

*** Savor and Celebrate***
Sharing with your accountability partner(s) enhances positive feelings,
the power of your accomplishments, decreases shame and inspires moving forward.

Each step of the way, acknowledging, and celebrating your successes and savoring the feelings makes the positive experiences last longer, changing your neural wiring . In the end your energy is improved from not only reducing the stress of your Back Burner Energy Drains as you eliminate them, but you experience an increased sense of happiness and well being.

The Vitality in Progress: Healing and Preventing Burnout in Nurses has an accountability process built into it and support for your personal celebration as you empower yourself with healthy habits and improved self esteem. Additionally, nurses receive 39 CNE’s upon successful completion along with 3 new healthy Self care habits.

What are your Back Burner Energy Drains? Please share with us your strategies for eliminating them and restoring your vitality.

Have a wonderful week making your positive experiences last longer, celebrating your successes and increasing your happiness and sense of well being.

With love, Padma

By the way, please join us on our weekly phone call.    Self Care for Vitality 

Free Virtual Connecting Weekly Call-in for Nurses   Phone 712-432-3066    Pin 177444
Wednesdays 6:30-7:00 pm EST
There is a short guided relaxation, followed by a short time for silence  in community and optional sharing. We present tips and strategies for Self care on a variety of topics such as: setting boundaries, balance, healing, self love, vulnerability, and other topics as they arise.



The Potency of Self Care Retreats

When was the last time you refreshed yourself with a retreat? Recently I returned to work from a 4 day retreat with a sense of optimism, contentment and emotional fullness as a result of engaging with the nourishing processes that supported my inner wisdom. Retreats and vacations are similar in that you take time away from your normal responsibilities. Both can be uplifting and renewing.  However, whether you take a “staycation” (not going away) or a vacation, the focus is usually outward- new people, places and, new experiences or working on projects in your home environment. The vacation may or may not be structured, and upon return you resume the schedule you left. With a retreat on the other hand,  your focus is inward using contemplation, reflection, meditation, Self or other inquiry, and possibly prayer. Often there is a structure to help you experience parts of yourself that are often not given time to be seen, heard or felt. After connecting more deeply with your Self, you return to your normal work and other responsibilities with greater insight, contentment and a sense of peace. The processes you practice on retreat often continue to nurture and fuel you into the future.

The goal of a retreat is to experience a sense of calm, a sense of oneness with what is, and a deeper experience of love and your inner wisdom.

When are you going to nurture your Self with a retreat?

There are so many kinds to choose from:

healing retreats

mindfulness retreats

nature retreats

retreats with a spiritual teacher

yoga retreats

silent retreats

12 Step Recovery retreats

what will nurture you?

If you don’t feel you can go somewhere and there is nothing locally available,
you can design a beautiful retreat for yourself.

The following are 6 suggestions and examples:

  1. When I had a limited income and my children still lived with me, they went to friends’ houses for a weekend, and I designed a 2 day retreat that included meditation, silence, reading, gardening, walking, journaling and plenty of sleep. I prepared by cleaning and preparing food before the kids left to optimize my inward focus time.  I told friends  I was unplugging- that I’d be in silence and available only for emergencies. This was not a “staycation”. Telling others of my intention was a way of creating accountability. Choosing to detach from all your electronic devices for a day or more can be very challenging, AND a totally nourishing experience after you go through the feelings of withdrawal- the compulsive reaching for your phone, the obsessive chatter in your mind and random feelings of FOMO- “fear of missing out,” which refers to the blend of anxiety, inadequacy and irritation.  Sticking to the intention of being on retreat at the end, was refreshing, wholesome and empowering.
  2. Our local holistic nurses association chapter offers an annual Self care one day retreat in September. It is a day designed for nurses to focus in community on ourselves. Catered and held in a beautiful setting, we meditate, engage in activities such as journaling, coloring and walking a labyrinth with the goal of nurturing the caregiver in us. There are opportunities for us to give and receive healing modalities such as Reiki, Healing Touch, massage and Therapeutic Touch which encourage discovery of joy, beauty and healing inside and outside of ourselves.
  3.  A few years ago a friend and I decided we wanted to share a retreat and to deepen our friendship. We designed a schedule of meditation, walking, and listening to a series of talks by a healer we had heard of. We tent camped in a state park, in silence for a weekend. It rained the full weekend, and except for laughter, we maintained our noble silence and had a memorable, enriching and powerful shared experience of a deeper friendship.
  4. A daily commitment to unplugging from technology for a given amount of time can be a mini retreat with yourself . “A retreat allows the mind to flow freely, to appreciate information and beauty instead of trying to process it. A quiet 15 minutes among nature can act as a personal daily spiritual retreat for some.” Done on a regular basis you can support your inner wisdom, especially if you combine it with journaling.
  5. Join us on our weekly phone call.    Self Care for Vitality
    Free Virtual Connecting Weekly Call-in for Nurses   Phone 712-432-3066    Pin 177444
    Wednesdays 6:30-7:00 pm EST
    There is a short guided relaxation, followed by a short time for silence  in community and optional sharing. We present tips and strategies for Self care on a variety of topics such as: setting boundaries, balance, healing, self love, vulnerability, and other topics as they arise.
    If you have not had a retreat in a while, maybe you want to consider the following:

 6.  Vitality in Progress is a structured, 12 week creative and healing home retreat to focus on your inner being. With our support you create your own Self care plan that invites you to tap into your inner wisdom as you explore the topics of commitment, habits, vulnerability, setting boundaries,  Self love, compassion, kindness and more. The next start date is August 27th, and there is an early registration discount going on now.

How often do you give yourself the gift of a retreat? Do you have a daily practice that feels like a mini retreat for you? Please share with us other types of retreats  you have used and use to nurture yourself.

Please take good care of you. Not only do you need to do so for your own sanity and well being, but your family, friends  and the world we live in wants and needs you to share your gifts and light. You can do this with greater ease by caring for your beautiful Self.

With love, Padma







Are You Grounded?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


The next Vitality in Progress: Healing and Preventing Burnout

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

Ending Procrastination

I used to crastinate. I did it so much I became a procrastinator!

Procrastination is the act of putting off or delaying what needs to be attended to. Are you avoiding making the assessment and diagnosis? Have you defined your Self care needs and are you procrastinating their implementation? You can apply our beautiful and effective nursing process or caring process to yourself.
So often it works as well for us as it does for our clients/patients.

I’ll bet you don’t waste time with your patients/clients before implementing the interventions that address the given diagnosis.  So, what are your obstacles to implementing your own Self care?

Stop wishing start doing

5 aspects of procrastination can be overcome after they are recognized and accepted. Which one or ones sabotage your best efforts, and where in the process does it or they show up? The italicized slogans may be helpful to place where you can easily see them.

1. Overwhelm I know a nurse who has all the necessary qualifications and experience to set up her own APRN independent practice. She had not done so because she was overwhelmed with all the steps involved in finding a collaborating physician, insurance forms, and an office. When she broke the process into small pieces and tackled them one at a time, the overwhelm began to evaporate. She is now filling out the forms, found a collaborating physician and has found a nurse colleague to cheer her on.

“The person who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.”Confucius

2. Fear 
What if I fail? What if I succeed? Wired for comfort and predictability, each of us has our own risk tolerance. An attitude of seeing everything as a learning opportunity can be helpful since making change can often mean inviting the unknown and adjusting. You make the best plans and try to avoid or minimize negative outcomes.  You are aware that certain risks persists because you are inviting the new and then move forward.  When you understand your discomfort and what it is like to have healthy ways of managing uncomfortable feelings around change, you are set up for being able to deal with success or failure. After all, it is all about learning right?

It’s always impossible until it is done.

3. Low Self–worth.  If you are not taking good care of yourself, you are not valuing yourself. When you begin caring for your Self, you are valuing yourself, your body, your mind and your emotions.

Your actions speak for you.

4. No accountability   For years I knew I needed  more sleep than I was getting. Initially I was under the delusion that I could catch up on missed sleep and believed that care of my family and showing up for my job was more important. I got up before everyone and went to bed long after everyone else. A couple of years ago, I was in a group of nurses where we were holding each other accountable for our Self care activities. I realized I had been not only lying to myself, but I was setting a poor example for my family, putting my health at risk, and sometimes I was even unsafe on the road. I changed the pattern and am now a much better example of how to provide safe care.
Another great example? A nurse colleague wanted to start running. Knowing she would not do it on her own, she set up a Facebook page inviting all of her friends and colleagues to join with their individual goals, and to report back to the group successes, challenges, failures and insights. She is now running regularly, and has created a loving and supportive community for herself.

Who or what are you waiting for?

5. Old habits. It is possible to change deeply ingrained habits. Some say it takes 21 days to break a habit.  I suggest that it takes at least that long, and maybe even longer, and it is not possible to break a habit until you start.

If not now, when?


The Vitality in Progress: Healing and Preventing Burn out for Nurses  supports nurses moving out of procrastination about Self care with mentoring and an accountability community. It is fully on line 1-2 hours a week. After 90 days with successful completion, s/he has not only changed habits but also earned 39 CNE’s.

 If you are not ready for the VIP program above, maybe you would like to start with joining us on our free weekly Self Care for Vitality phone call.

Four Rivers Endings and Beginnings

We know the quality of one’s nursing practice, the presence and authenticity one brings to those in our care is influenced by our understanding of the events that happen in our lives. How you end your day is as important as how you start your day. You can affect the start of your next day and even your next 24 hours, by your preparation for restoration and sleep.

I am excited to share with you a beautiful new practice I am using that is a nourishing way to end the day. It extends the positives from the day, ties up loose ends so that the next day is truly fresh. Rick Hanson reminds us, that it is as if our brains are Teflon for the positive and Velcro for the negative. If you want to increase the neural networks for the positive, it is important to extend the time you spend with positive and beneficial experiences. You may be doing this during the day as you experience gratitude or moments where you refocus upon your breath, coming back to your center. However, how often do you brush your teeth, plop into bed, fall asleep as your head is hitting the pillow and wake up with an alarm, feet barely touching the ground, as you dash off into the day? I have changed my nighttime routine. I now answer the following 4 questions from Angeles Arien, cultural anthropologist, educator, and award winning author. She speaks of the Four Rivers of life that nourish us and help us to grow.

1. River of Inspiration. What and/or who inspired you today? In what way or how?
2. River of Challenge. What challenged you to leave your comfort zone? Did you accept the challenge?
3. River of Surprise. What “came out of the blue” today for you?
Staying aware of these mysteries of life can help you move in new directions.
4.  River of Love. How or in what ways did love touch you today?

These questions encourage your reflections on the mystery of being alive, discerning what is important and guiding you to explore your own depths. In the process of answering these  questions regularly, you develop a new intimacy with your Self. Angeles Arien says,  “Intimacy  is, ‘Into Me See’ “.

This practice has added focus to my nursing practice and added a new dimension of closeness with my husband as we share our experiences of the Four Rivers. I also discovered one of my biggest challenges is my shyness around “putting myself out there” in the social media world. And, here I am doing it!

By ending your day in this nourishing way, you too may experience good sleep and a rich next day with focus and clarity. It benefits not only you, but your clients, students, colleagues, patients, family and friends. Perhaps you will enjoy your life and daily experiences even more as you open to your Four Rivers- Love, Surprise, Challenge and Inspiration.

Please share with us what comes up for you as you explore the Four Rivers of Love, Surprise, Challenge and Inspiration. How does this exploration affect your nursing practice and your personal life? What does the practice feel like for you?

We support your Four Rivers exploration here:

With love, Padma

Saying No Is Saying Yes to Yourself

Nurses week has come and gone. How do you keep alive the celebration of yourself and the beautiful work you do as a member of the health care community? Once again it comes back to your own Self care which means sometimes saying No without feeling guilt or shame. You are a family member and a friend as well as all of the other roles you may have. Remember, saying no to another person is in fact saying yes to your Self.

After the “terrible twos” and/or the rebellions of adolescence, you may have stopped speaking up on your own behalf when it comes to scheduling; especially if you are a people pleaser. Saying No can feel risky if you don’t feel confident in your skills for saying No or, if you worry about what others might think or feel.

When you follow the pathway of your resistance to saying No, or your habit of saying yes, you will probably discover fear. Fear is not a comfortable emotion to feel. It is often irrational, and based in the past. Facing your fears builds your courage muscle. Sit quietly for a few minutes and reflect on the last time you did not say No when you really wanted to. Explore your fear of saying No to see where it takes you. Do you fear that you will lose your job or that someone will not like you?  Are you trying to get someone to like you? Do you want to please the person making the request because they control your schedule? Maybe it feels easier to say yes knowing you will be bullied into a yes. or perhaps you are used to saying, “no one else will do it, so I will”. Are you a martyr? Do you fear being criticized, disliked or punished?

The good news is that saying No can also leave doors open for friendship, connection and confidence. It is something that you can, with practice become adept at. When your No is grounded in your integrity, you are staying true to your Self, your commitments and your values.

Although saying No is not always easy, there are skillful ways that honor you and the other person.

Awareness is the first step. How often do you say yes and then realize that you did not want to say yes? For some saying yes is a habit. Remember, you always have choices.

Embrace your priorities and set boundaries that reflect them, honor yourself and others. To not abide by your priorities and values is not only disingenuous, but harmful to both you and the other person. After all, caring for your Self makes it possible for you to genuinely care for others.

What are your priorities?
Reflect upon this question and perhaps you can list them.

Empower yourself by taking the time you need to make the choice. This can mean saying, “let me get back to you after I have checked my calendar”, or “I need some time to consider this”. Your ability to say this improves and reflects your self esteem.

Express your gratitude for the offer.  Without making excuses- just stating the facts, you can say “no”. “Thank you for asking, but that is not possible at this time.” Remember that the part that comes after the “but” is the part that will stay with the person. … And the “Thank you” softens the message. Depending upon the situation, you may choose the order of what you will say first.

Offer a suggestion. When you can, help the requester to meet their need, if it is a genuine possibility. “I’m not available for this but maybe you can contact…” This shows your consideration of the other person’s situation.

Deepen your relationship, when it is appropriate through your No. Sometimes the other person, (my children come to mind) becomes relentless in the request, as if you can be worn down into a yes. At that point, you might want to say, “I am not going to change my mind. Please stop asking me.” However, then there is often an opportunity to ask them what they are feeling since you are not going to meet the request. This can be a time for a deepening of the relationship as you show your caring about the impact of your statement on the person. Whatever they say, this is not a time for you to feel guilty. You are giving them the opportunity to express their feelings, thoughts and concerns. Your listening is a gift.

As you develop your No muscle, deepening your relationship with your Self, you build your courage and become empowered to align yourself with your priorities and values. Go for it! The world is waiting for you to show up in your fullness! Please share with us your challenges and the ways you say No that empowers you and also cares for the other person.

Each week there is an opportunity to practice tuning into your Self.
Self care strengthens your self esteem and competence.

Self Care for Vitality
Free Virtual Connecting Weekly Call-in for Nurses
Phone 712-432-3066
Pin 177444                    Wednesdays 6:30-7:00 pm EST
There is a short guided relaxation, followed by a short time for silence
in community and optional sharing.
We present tips and strategies for Self care on a variety of topics such as:
Setting boundaries, balance, healing, self love, vulnerability, and other topics as they arise.
 Have a great week honoring your Self by saying No if that is what is called for. Self care strengthens your self esteem, competence and makes the world a safer place if we all know you are telling your truth.
With love, Padma






Creativity- A Key To Your Wellbeing

Today’s health care institutions need creative and innovative solutions.
Nurses need to think creatively, to experiment, to take risks, and to innovate.

You are creative because you are human. Humans are infinitely creative. Throughout history in groups and as individuals we have invented tools, developed ways of survival, produced beautiful pieces of art, literature, theatre, music and dance. We celebrate concepts with theories and ritual. We study the cosmos to discover how and where we fit “into the scheme of things”. We design health initiatives and at the same time we create weapons to kill.  Innovation, discovery and creativity are forms of Self care or self preservation, motivated by different states of awareness that are experienced as feelings.

Making time to tune into your inner self, to feel, to notice, to breathe, to heal and to feel comfortable in your own skin is a way of supporting your creativity. Tuning in to deal with fears and anxieties in new situations is also a way to support your creativity. Your creativity is one of the keys to your wellbeing. When you are exhausted, driven by external demands that come from the outside- by the employer, family or friends, or inner demands in the forms of perfectionism or pride in “doing it all without help”,  your mind gets dull, you cannot solve simple problems, you may over eat or abuse some other substance. Small issues become magnified and out of proportion. Your ability to creatively address situations decreases.

Laura jumps out of bed, checks her email, gets ready for work, drinking a cup of coffee as she prepares for her work day. Since she no longer takes time to prepare her lunch or dinner, which her husband now brings home from fast food places she ended up in the ER with stress induced hypertension. She started to cry while describing her latest hamster wheel of working 92 hours in a 7 day stretch. She also bemoaned the loss of her creativity.

That was the note that began our discussion of her journey towards meeting her needs. Based upon her schedule, what she can and is willing to do at this time, she created a Self care plan that starts with 5 minutes of meditation 5 days a week and time on her treadmill before checking her email. Never having meditated, she was fearful that she would not be able to sit still for 5 minutes and worried about her mind that “never stops”. The first session “went by so fast, and it was so good”. Then she used her treadmill. I instructed her to download the Insight Timer app  that she can use in the future. Laura said, “I always said ‘charity begins at home’, as she pointed to herself. Starting Self care may initially be challenging, however when you respond to the call, new ways of seeing situations appear, and you create ways of responding to challenges and opportunities. Additionally a new sense of wellbeing and hope can arise, which I heard in Laura’s voice.

A few years ago I committed to “walking the talk” that I gave my patients and caregivers about Self care. After working 60 hours a week and getting paid for 37.5, for years, I began a regular routine for Self care, setting a good example for my daughters and husband. It is from this practice that Integral Nursing Solutions, PLLC has evolved~ supporting my passion for empowering others to take good care of themselves so that they can continue to shine their beautiful lights in the world with innovation, creativity and ease.

How do you protect and celebrate your creativity? What does your creativity at work look like? Are you happy with your nursing career? Are you comfortable taking risks, trying the new and sharing your innovations? You can look forward to receiving later in the week a video on creativity, and at least one article that is stimulating and short.

August 27, 2017 we will begin the next Vitality in Progress: Healing and Preventing Burnout for Nurses creating and supporting individualized Self care plans for nurses.

In the meantime, give yourself a dedicated 1/2 hour weekly for Self care.
Please join us







Have a beautiful week, filled with creativity and clarity.

With love, Padma




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