Spot the difference…
Look at these two photos. Both of me. One is the formation of the yoga pose ‘crow’ something I have been practising recently.
The next photo is me falling out of crow. It looks like I’m laughing and that’s because I am! I had been falling a lot, holding this pose for a short while, long enough to capture this image ?
Now the purpose of this is to consider what do we show others in our life. Do we show them the left image? Or the right image?
I know at work sometimes until I am walking through the door of the unit or ward I might still be feeling a little dishevelled insideout (picture on the right) and I take a deep breath and bring myself into the form of ‘nurse’ (picture Left) ready for the day, for the unknown, for the busy-ness, the chaos, the constance!
And then I walk out the door after my 8 hour shift and I let myself fall. I let myself go and let myself get in touch with where I am.
At the beginning of my nursing, I would often still be in a space of ‘fallen’ when I got home. I wouldn’t feel like I needed to put up a face to housemates, family. I was often too exhausted, hungry, tired, dirty, over exposed to grief and people. All I wanted was to sit in my own space and be quiet for a while.
Sometimes a would snap and be shitty. It reached a point in my grad year that my family were hurt & upset that they only got to see the fallen, tired, upset Sarah. They saw my worst moods and didn’t get the brighter Sarah which I seemed to be able to transform into when at the hospital.
How can we maintain a balance that we don’t give everything away in a shift and compromise the relationships and loving people in our lives. The people that then get the leftovers.
I began a habit where on the walk to the car (I would park often a 15 minute walk to the car – shout out to beautiful friends who often drove me to my car after a long shift or if raining!)
Anyway, on this walk I would use this time to debrief/reflect in my mind what the shift had been. Had it been a positive day? What had I learnt? What would I do differently? How can I better support myself? More simply: 3 things I found challenging. 3 things I did well. 3 things I learnt.
All the while instilling that I actually did the best I could today with the energy, time, resources, support, knowledge, experience that I had access to in that shift.
This reflecting got me out of this space of anxiety/guilt. That I should have done more. I didn’t finish the dressing. I should have removed the CVC before handover. I left them in a pile of poo. I got agitated at the family. Whatever it was.
I would consider that the travel between work and home is a space to process , reflect and let go. Sometimes it isn’t that simple. I’ve had shifts where my processing of it may have extended beyond a few days, weeks depending. But the processing didn’t have to have a sense of anxiety, guilt or distress. I was beginning to treat myself with the kindness I always found for my patients even when they were being the worst!
Or I will now sit in my car for at least 15 minutes when I arrive home and just sit in silence and stillness. The first time in the last 8-9 hours. Before I enter the house.
Physically the shower became a way that I can physically wash the day away. I always stretch my body after a shift even just for a few minutes. Breathe and meditate for at least 5 mins whilst I come back into the present moment & life beyond the hospital.
No longer worrying about the last shift or the anticipation of what will happen in the next shift.
The truth is we can only balance in ‘crow’ or ‘nurse’ for a period of time before we need a break, we need to regroup, reflect, stretch. How can I do this differently. So give yourself time to rest. In a way that can become nurturing and nourishing for both you and those that most love you.