Fitting In Mindful Moments During a Long 12 Hour Shift

I have been talking your ears off about the importance of mindfulness for a while now, but how is it relevant to your work as a nurse or healthcare worker? You barely have time to eat and pee let alone be mindful! So how do you fit mindfulness into a busy 12 hours shift? 

Here are a few ways to try on your next shift! 

  1. While in the bathroom 

Listen, you will have to pee in 12 hours at some point, it’s a fact, and if you have gone multiple shifts without going to the bathroom, you should focus on that first. While in the bathroom, take a few deep breaths and just notice how you’re feeling, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth, really paying attention to how your breath feels. Do 5-10 breaths, which takes 30 seconds and there you go! You’ve been mindful! 

  1. Before you start 

For almost every shift I’ve worked, there is time at the beginning after you’ve gotten a report to sit down and look at your patients’ charts. Use this time to get organized for your shift AND have a minute of mindfulness. Again, this is just a few seconds of taking deep breaths and focusing on nothing but your breath. This can really help center you before getting started! 

  1. While you eat 

This one may be obvious but for the most part, you do have time for a short break to eat something during the day. Take a few minutes to eat mindfully, really enjoying your food and noticing it, not listening to anything or anyone else or talking to anyone, even just for a few bites. 

  1. In your car 

Before you even leave the hospital, sit still for a minute, notice your breath for 5-10 breaths again and pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that come up. Then move on to your after work ritual!! 

Try to integrate ONE of these strategies next time you’re at work and after a few shifts, notice what kind of difference you have made in your own mental health! 

Alison, NP 

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