Oftentimes when someone learns what sort of nursing I practice, they immediately respond as if they are in some state of grief. They instantly regret asking, followed by that face... and I am immersed in their sympathy. They grimace at the thought of being surrounded by death, bearing witness to those repeatedly battling with the dreaded “C” word…
The famous question I could really do without hearing again is… How do you do it?
I could give a cliché answer and have been known to do such when in a time crunch, or as deterrence from conversation. But let’s be real, shall we?
What I witness daily could be the basis for every tragedy or romance novel ever written. I get a free pass into some fantastic love stories, lifelong marriages, and passionate recollections as I explore the memoirs of those with chronologically and/or experientially old souls. On the flip side, the tragedies could put nightmares to shame.
The gift of intuition sometimes leaves me in a state of exhaustion. Getting to closely know people during those rough times and investigating every detail of their case and persona, attempting to make things at least tolerable for them, can be daunting. My energy is pulled from me every hour as I walk those concrete floors, enclosed in those cold, concrete walls without a view. It sounds like torture, but I love every second of it, especially when I collaborate with some of the best health care professionals in the country and find answers, resulting in relief, smiles and laughter.
Add in the high expectations of visiting, regulatory agencies, who don’t provide direct patient care themselves and don’t seem to understand why we need water near our workstation… It’s no surprise why we are drained and dehydrated at the end of our workweek.
So… what was the question again? Oh yeah… How do I do it? The answer is simple, yet pursuance of such can seem complex. I strive for balance.
In order to balance death and loss, we need to experience life, nurture and love it, appreciate it, grow it, create it, restore it, and surround ourselves with it... Life takes on so many beautiful forms; we just need to figure out which appeals to us the most. Nature is comprised of some stunning elements: fire, water, air, and the earth itself.
Although it is rewarding, I’m not going to advise that you go plant a tree, because everyone isn’t a gardener. In a world where I feel I am constantly losing battles, and people… I have found it can be rejuvenating to:
*Restore and appreciate an old piece of wood furniture
*Enjoy the warmth and comfort of a fire pit
*Go outside and just breathe…slowly.
*Play in the dirt
*Watch and listen to the rain…dance in it if I so choose.
There are so many sources out there to restore our own energy. Finding what helps us maintain balance may be one or a combination of things. Remember to indulge because we deserve it. To find balance, cultivate the core of what makes us human. We are, after all, derived from nature and destined to return one day…
Sara E. Smith, BSN, RN, OCN is a guest blogger for the thenaturenurse.com. She has practiced nursing for roughly ten years on an inpatient adult hematology oncology unit, and has recently begun instructing peers on the subject of psychosocial distress management of oncology patients. She welcomes comments, feedback, and questions from readers.
#wellness #healing #nature #health #outdoors #nursing
So, are you excited? Ready to dip your toes into nature and see what she does for you? Nervous? Skeptical? Willing to give it a try? Let us first define the difference between healing and curing, just so we’re clear. Put simply, curing, is the elimination of the signs and symptoms of disease. It is consistent with the western diagnose and treat medical model. Healing goes deeper; more complete, and may or may not include curing. Healing is a dynamic process that connects the mind-body-spirit in a positive way. This often leads to a person feeling well, more energetic, more creative, centered. It is pretty safe to say that most of us are in a continual state of healing as there are so many factors pulling us away from this delicate balance. If you want to understand this definition further, you may want to do some exploring of the terms on your own or visit my disclaimer page for a more in depth definition.
So, how can we involve nature in our wellness plan? Let’s start with something simple, shall we? Go outside. What do you first notice; a shocking jolt of cold air, moisture steaming from your mouth? Or do you feel a misty rain moisturizing your dry skin? What do you hear? Chatty birds and the delicate whistle of a breeze blowing by your ears or cars, trucks and horns barging into your mind? Take some deep breathes, what do you smell? Maybe you want to try closing your eyes, what further stimulus do your senses pick up. How does this make you feel? Maybe even your taste buds are picking up on something. Is the tension in your shoulders softening, allowing more space between them and your head? Is the smell of a nearby rose bush triggering memories of being with your grandmother, picking flowers in her garden? Or are senses picking up things that feel aggravating?
As we become more aware of the elements in nature and how they make us feel, we can begin to identify which of her offerings work best for ourselves. Perhaps we may want to integrate some of these more consciously into our life. For example, if we find that the constant influx of sounds feels unnerving, maybe we want to try turning off our phones and t.v. at night 15 minutes before bed. We may want to take this nightly ritual further and dim the lights, turn on soothing music or nature sounds and just focus on our breathing. Maybe taking a fifteen meditative walk outside during our work break would leave us feeling calmer and more rejuvenated than eating doughnuts and coffee in the break room with no windows. Mind you, this coming from a doughnut connoisseur-everything in moderation.
What do you think? Is this something you think you may want to try? If so, turn off your computer and go ahead and step outside. Let me know what you discover.
#healing #nature #holistic #integrativehealth #nursing