I really enjoyed reading through the Self-Care Tip Sheet for Nurses by the APNA. It really covered everything and it was an excellent reminder that life is to be enjoyed and my well-being matters, not only for myself, but for those I am caring for. This past winter I did neglect some key areas of health and it took a toll on both my mental and physical health. It becomes an enormous difficulty to be a compassionate and present person when, internally, I am imbalanced and unwell. Because it is important to me to be present and feel great about the work I am doing, I have taken steps to care for myself again and bring things back in balance. The first step was to reevaluate and change my eating habits. I have made a commitment to nourish my body with healthy foods and to avoid junk foods. I have definitely noticed a difference already. Physical health and mental health are so connected, I am not sure that they can be differentiated! My brain is clearer and my thought content is more positive. Speaking of positive thoughts, I admit that is a struggle for me. Negative thoughts quickly compound into a sense of doom and failure. How hard is it to have the quality of life one desires when that is going on in the mind? A step to care for myself in this area is to regularly take time to reflect, write, and talk with loved ones. I also plan on spending time in CBT to further assist in dealing with distressing emotions and thoughts that often become overwhelming. I absolutely agree with the suggestion in the tip sheet to have healthy hobbies. My favorite hobby is music. I play the piano and write songs and that has been the best catharsis. I find a sense of balance and peace in nature and on walks. This assignment is a great reminder of those things that make a life feel whole and meaningful. One strength that I have developed in my work is to leave work behind when it’s time to leave. There has been times when I rehashed problems at work and allowed them to disturb my peace at home, which robbed me of refreshment and rest. Other goals for self-care that I have as I move into a PMHNP career are to continue my morning yoga and meditation practice, get regular physical activity (biking is my favorite and I just invested in a really nice new bike), spend quality time with friends and family, and to be spontaneous. I have found that rigid routines do not serve for very long and really ends up wearing me out. I need to try new things and break out of old habits. This is embracing change, which is inevitable. And lastly, spirituality is important to me. To avoid burn out, finding a deeper connection with myself and others is reenergizing.

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