Fall marks the start of influenza season—a time of year that fills up hospitals and gives healthcare workers an extra layer of stress, but at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, however, patient care staff can step into a “Serenity Lounge,” a break room equipped with massage chairs, aromatherapy oils, artwork and other amenities to provide a soothing respite from their demanding work.
“Historically, studies have shown that nurses’ well-being affects job satisfaction and performance, along with the quality of care we can provide to patients,” said Melanie Barone, RN, MSN, associate nursing director and co-creator of the medical center’s Serenity Lounge initiative.
The 24/7/365 Serenity Lounges, a culmination of ideas backed up by research from Cedars-Sinai nurses, was a valuable resource for employees needing a 10- to 20-minute respite.
Since the first Serenity Lounge opened during the COVID-19 pandemic, 13 additional lounges have opened throughout the medical center. Cedars-Sinai nurse Florida Pagador, RN, MSN, conceptualized the idea as a solution to her need for relaxation during breaks.
Florida Pagador, MSN
“Being at patients’ bedsides can be mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging,” said Pagador. “I needed a place to relax and recharge, so I pitched the idea, and we got to work.”
Pagador and Barone found an underutilized locker area, gave it a makeover, and established the first lounge. As the pandemic continued, more nursing teams carved out space for their Serenity Lounges.
In a study by Pagador and Barone that was published in the American Journal of Nursing, Cedars-Sinai nurse investigators found that nurses who used a massage chair in a quiet room for as little as 10 minutes experienced mental and emotional relief, allowing them to return to patient care better equipped to handle the stress.
“If we see a colleague having a bad day, we ask them if they need to go for a walk or if they need to take 10 minutes in the lounge,” Barone said. “Our culture is to support each other and recharge, no matter what kind of day you’re having.”
Serenity Lounge benefits have stretched far beyond Cedars-Sinai, garnering attention and inquiries from nursing professionals throughout the U.S.
“Our nurses are the backbone of compassionate patient care, and their well-being is paramount,” says David Marshall, JD, DNP, RN, senior vice president, chief nursing executive, and the James R. Klinenberg, MD, and Lynn Klinenberg Linkin Chair in Nursing in honor of Linda Burnes Bolton.
“The Serenity Lounges stand as a testament to our commitment to provide an environment that empowers and nurtures our nursing family.”
Being a nurse is incredibly rewarding yet demanding, but caring for others and ensuring their well-being can sometimes take a toll on your happiness and overall wellness. That’s why nurses must prioritize self-care and find ways to boost their happiness!
Importance of a Nurse’s Well-being
This blog post will discuss 25 wellness tips specifically tailored for nurses to increase their happiness and overall well-being.
These tips are designed to help you prioritize self-care, reduce stress, and boost your overall happiness and well-being. Incorporating these practices into your daily routine can balance your professional responsibilities and personal wellness.
The goal is to reach holistic well-being and fall in love with taking care of yourself. We will touch on every part of your life, from emotional to physical to social and more!
What Is Wellness For Nurses?
Wellness for nurses encompasses various aspects of their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It goes beyond the absence of illness and focuses on achieving optimal health and happiness.
Continuously striving for personal and professional growth.
It also involves finding fulfillment and satisfaction in their work, fostering a positive work environment, and proactively caring for their physical and mental health.
Ultimately, wellness for nurses means investing in themselves and prioritizing their well-being, allowing them to provide the best care for their patients and live the happiest life!
25 Wellness Tips for Nurses
Nurses must focus on the whole picture or holistic well-being to boost happiness.
Prioritize Sleep: Getting enough sleep is vital for your physical and mental health. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to recharge and rejuvenate.
Engage in Regular Exercise: Physical activity benefits your body and releases endorphins that improve your mood. Find an exercise routine that works for you, whether it’s yoga, jogging, dancing, biking, or even a sport!
Stay Hydrated: Dehydration can negatively impact your energy levels and overall well-being. Carry a water bottle, and aim to drink enough fluids throughout the day.
Take Breaks: Allow regular breaks to rest and recharge during your day. Even short breaks can significantly affect your energy levels and overall happiness.
Mental and Emotional Wellness
Practice Mindfulness: During a busy schedule, practice mindfulness for a few moments each day. Engage in deep breathing exercises, meditation, or find a quiet space to clear your mind.
Find a Support System: Build a strong support system with fellow nurses who understand your unique challenges. Share experiences, vent frustrations, and seek advice when needed.
Create Boundaries: Learn to say no and set boundaries to prevent burnout. It’s essential to prioritize your well-being and not overextend yourself.
Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Acknowledge your efforts and achievements, and don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned.
Engage in Hobbies: Nurture your passions and engage in activities you enjoy outside of work. Whether painting, gardening, or playing a musical instrument, hobbies provide an outlet for creativity and relaxation.
Foster Positive Relationships: Surround yourself with positive, uplifting individuals who support and encourage you. Avoid toxic relationships that drain your energy.
Laugh Often: Laughter truly is the best medicine. Find humor in everyday situations, watch a funny movie, or spend time with people who make you laugh.
Digital Detox: Take regular breaks from screens and technology. Engage in activities that don’t involve constant digital stimulation to allow your mind to rest.
Practice Gratitude: Take a moment each day to reflect on your gratitude. It can be as simple as appreciating the support of a colleague or the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life.
Seek Emotional Support: If you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed, don’t hesitate to seek professional help or speak with a therapist. They can provide guidance and support tailored to your specific needs.
Listen to Music: Music has a powerful effect on our emotions. Listen to your favorite tunes during breaks or commuting to work to uplift your spirits.
Take Mini Vacations: Plan short getaways or staycations to rejuvenate and recharge. Even a brief change of scenery can do wonders for your well-being.
Practice Deep Breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and promote relaxation. Take a few minutes throughout the day to focus on your breath and release the tension.
Practice Work-Life Balance: Strive to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Set aside time for yourself, your family, and activities that bring you joy outside work.
Engage in Continuous Learning: Stay curious and invest in your professional development. Attend workshops, conferences, or online courses to enhance your knowledge and skills.
Engage in Random Acts of Kindness: Performing acts of kindness for others brightens their day and boosts their happiness. Offer a helping hand, compliment someone, or lend a listening ear.
Find Joy in Small Moments: Learn to appreciate and find joy in the small moments of your day, whether enjoying a cup of coffee or witnessing a beautiful sunset.
Take Time Off: Lastly, don’t hesitate to take time off when needed. Use your vacation days to rest, recharge, and focus on your well-being.
Connect with Nature: Spend time outdoors whenever possible. Nature has a calming effect on the mind and body, reducing stress and improving overall happiness.
Get Regular Check-ups: Pay attention to your health. Schedule regular check-ups and screenings to ensure you’re taking care of your physical well-being.
Prioritizing wellness as a nurse is essential for maintaining happiness, satisfaction, and overall well-being. These 25 wellness tips provided in this post offer practical strategies to help nurses take care of themselves amidst the demands of their profession. By implementing these tips, nurses can create a healthy work-life balance, manage stress effectively, and nurture their physical, mental, and emotional health.
Remember, self-care is not selfish; providing the best care to others is necessary! Taking time to recharge, practicing mindfulness, engaging in hobbies, and fostering positive relationships are just a few ways nurses can invest in their well-being. By setting boundaries, seeking support, and practicing gratitude, nurses can navigate the challenges of their profession with resilience and a positive mindset.
It’s important to acknowledge that wellness is an ongoing journey, and each nurse may find different approaches that resonate with them. As nurses, you make an enormous impact on the lives of others every single day. By taking care of yourselves, you enhance your quality of life and ensure that you can continue to provide exceptional care and support to your patients.
Experiment with these tips, customize them to fit your unique needs, and be open to exploring additional strategies that enhance your happiness and well-being!
Nurses are hardworking, dedicated, and caring toward their patients, and many nurses spend their free time focusing on household duties or family responsibilities. However, making time for hobbies that fuel your passions and boost relaxation is essential for creativity and recovery from overwhelming workdays.
If you want to start a hobby but need help figuring out where to begin, keep reading for tips from other nurses who learned to use their hobbies as self-care.
Make Your Activities Exciting (or Relaxing)
Many nurses turn to creative outlets to disconnect from their work, and for Sonja Mitrevska, DNP, CRNA, wellness speaker, and consultant, that includes writing, traveling, and exploring new cultures.
“Many of my hobbies don’t require much time or money— free writing or journaling, for example, requires a notebook and pen. Even dancing around the house while listening to music is easy, enjoyable, and relieves many of the day’s stressors,” Mitrevska says.
Creating downtime for yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or require extensive planning. You can view your hobbies as an easy, exciting (or relaxing) activity that you’ll enjoy away from work.
Dr. Caitlin Goodwin, RN, a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) consultant for Mom Loves Best, recommends finding activities that fit your schedule and encourage relaxation.
Specifically, she recommends finding hobbies you can incorporate when you’re busy such as knitting, puzzles, or learning a new language in short audio recordings.
Explore Your Passions
Dr. Goodwin initially took up writing as a way to destress from work. Still, since then, her hobby has evolved from writing about ways to advocate for health equity to creating educational programs at work and contributing guest posts and blogs to major organizations.
If you want to see where your passions will take you, Dr. Goodwin suggests journaling about what makes you happy.
“Whether the arts, athletics, or activities you enjoy- the purpose of hobbies is for pleasure, relaxation, and leisure time. Ask yourself the following— what do I wish I could spend more time doing? What activities or interests bring me joy? What helps me to relax?”
Sunny Soroosh, CNM, WHNP-BC, is a nurse midwife during the day, a SAG-AFTRA actor, and a stand-up comedian at night. Exploring these passions helped her to realize her creative potential and make others (and herself) laugh.
“I think that being a nurse can be difficult sometimes, and having a way to escape even for a little bit helps to manage stress,” Soroosh says.
She advises everyone is different, so hiking or playing a sport works better for you if you’re in a windowless hospital. For Sunny, her acting and comedy gigs give her a break from the medical tasks she does at work.
“It can also be easier if you find something that you can easily do from home if you don’t have much time,” she says.
Reframe Your Hobbies as a Priority
Self-care might be seen as a buzzword for some, but having time to explore our interests and relax from demands as a nurse is a necessity, not an option.
Mitrevska knows that making time for yourself is crucial, even when we think that hobbies aren’t as important as our other responsibilities.
“We will always be faced with obligations and responsibilities in life. But, it’s not always about lacking time— it’s about becoming creative with your circumstances,” she says.
It’s not always easy to make space for hobbies, but Soroosh makes sure she backs off when her passions are too much for her.
“I sometimes go straight to comedy shows in my scrubs after work and don’t even have time to change,” says Soroosh. “I can’t always take every acting job or comedy booking that comes my way, which is okay.”
Balancing work and family life isn’t always easy, but exploring what you enjoy doing might make us better nurses and, ultimately better people.