When you think about people who love giving, who are perhaps over givers, who do you think about? Mums? Nurses? Teachers? Someone you know? What about you? Do you over give too?
IS IT SELFISH TO PUT YOURSELF FIRST?
WHY DO WE STRUGGLE TO PUT OUR SELF CARE NEEDS AS A PRIORITY?
We have been taught by our families, by society, to put the needs of everyone else before our own.
That it is selfish to put your own needs first.
But, I have found that we have it back the front.
We subconsciously believe that putting our needs first sends a message that wellbeing is our ONLY priority.
So really it must start with me. I must put my needs and wellbeing first so that I can give from a full tank, not an empty tank.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ON THE RECEIVING END OF CARE GIVEN BY SOMEONE THAT CAME WITH RESENTMENT, FRUSTRATION, EXHAUSTION?
It doesn’t feel good, does it?
I have received care like that and I have also been the one giving it. It never feels good.
Are you taking care of everyone else or caretaking? There is a difference. Taking care is with boundaries and healthy whereas caretaking is unhealthy and can lead to exhaustion and burnout.
Today, May 12th, 2020 is International Nurses Day, celebrating 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale and nursing as a profession.
And the World Health Organisation (WHO) has appointed 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.
The theme is Nurses: A Voice To Lead – Nursing the World to Health.
And yet, nursing and the health industry is facing a crisis because caring for others is overwhelming and demanding.
Burnout rates for all industries have risen significantly in the last decade. Physicians, nurses and other health professionals are among those who are most affected by burnout. With rates, somewhere between 40-60% even cited up to 78% in some recent publications. And it is rising.
High levels of stress can lead to conflicts and workplaces can feel unsupportive, even hostile, leading to high rates of staff turnover and many health professionals intending to or leaving the industry.
And this was before the impact of COVID-19 😯
In 2019 the World Health Organisation identified burnout as a workplace phenomenon and added it to the International Classification of Diseases 11th Revision (ICD-11) not because it is a disease but because it is a major reason why people seek help from their doctors.
Burnout is costing billions of dollars in lost productivity each year and impacts the health and wellbeing of each individual and those people who are in their care.
So what is burnout?
It’s a syndrome that results from chronic stress in the workplace. Chronic stress can be from work and/or workplace conflicts.
Burnout symptoms include emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation and reduced personal accomplishment.
Or more simply put, if you feel exhausted, start to hate your job, and begin to feel less capable at work, you are showing signs of burnout.
The truth is having a high-stress job doesn’t necessarily lead to burn out if it is managed well. But there are certain occupations and certain personality characteristics such as perfectionism and pessimism that predispose a person to burnout.
As a Registered Nurse for over 30 years I’ve been through the heartache and shame of burnout feeling unappreciated, isolated, unfulfilled and resentful. I was questioning what is the point?
Burnout my experience
Through my experience of burnout and my recovery, I discovered aspects about me that led me to burnout. At the time, I didn’t know I was in burnout until I was through it and could look back on that time of my life.
As a sensitive, empathic, person I see and feel people’s pain and their wounding and am compelled to make them feel better. I was over responsible for everyone else and under responsible for myself.
I am an idealistic, spiritual and love holistic health and hold an optimistic view of the world and of people. Classic rose-coloured glasses! Yet I barely shared this side of myself at work, believing that western medicine and holistic health/spirituality could not go together. I lived with my feet in two camps.
Around 12 years ago as a single mother, I returned to full-time nursing. My three sons were only 8,10 and 12 years old. I was juggling a new job, a new relationship, and studying.
It was a lot.
Then I took on a role with even more responsibilities.
But I didn’t even stop to think about that, I just kept adding more to my plate. And with my high ideals, I was imagining the difference I could make in the work I was doing.
It became apparent that I could not achieve what I wanted, I was not able to please my managers or myself, I became more and more disheartened, demotivated, burdened and cynical.
I didn’t share my struggles, I didn’t speak up or reach out for help, instead, I complained and I withdrew and became more and more isolated.
Not in touch with my feelings, stressed, I took it out on my family. The littlest thing such as the boys leaving their dishes on the sink was enough to have me yelling.
I was running on empty.
I felt powerless, stressed, I was making poor decisions.
Then I hit rock bottom
The Turning Point
I was in the doctor’s office, he was behind his desk, he was being so kind, compassionate and listening to me, looking right into me, seeing me. As I sat there red-faced with tears streaming down my face, I couldn’t speak, I felt so ashamed, embarrassed, my heart was breaking 💔
Then it dawned on me… I was doing this to myself.
I was not listening to what I wanted or needed, I was soldiering on, even though I was desperately unhappy.
I realised right then and there that if I don’t do what I need to do to care for me then I am self-neglecting, self-sacrificing and even self-abusing.
I could make a choice,
I could do this for me
To put myself first, my heart, my peace, my happiness, my health was foremost. Because without it who was I?
I realised IT STARTS WITH ME! and in my recovery, I discovered the 5 keys that are needed to soar free.
5 KEYS TO SOARING FREE
KEY 1. HONESTY
Drop into your heart ❤️
I took time out for me and listened to my heart
What do I want? What do I love doing? Who do I love being?
I did know what I needed. I do have the answers inside me.
I had been living a lie, denying myself, my heart and soul wanted to express my love for holistic wellbeing, to embrace my spirituality, I had to stop censoring myself. I had a different view of health and healthcare and I could no longer pretend with my 2 feet in 2 camps, I had to be real, authentic, to show myself, to be myself, to be proud of myself.
I shared this with my family, my work, my friends and even though I felt vulnerable and uncomfortable, I soon discovered there is freedom in being vulnerable.
KEY 2. RESPONSIBILITY
Take responsibility for you, not for everybody else
Working with my mentor helped me to take responsibility, to move to a place of empowerment instead of being a victim tossed like a pinball in the pinball game of life.
I could see that I had been caretaking not taking care.
KEY 3. BOUNDARIES
Know yours and honour them
I had no boundaries in place. I wanted to feel accepted and fit in. I learned what I was willing to accept and what I wasn’t. I set my boundaries and committed to them.
You get to teach others how to treat you when you have boundaries.
KEY 4. BELIEFS
Can be changed, make them empowering
I looked at my beliefs and recognised many erroneous beliefs that weren’t serving me. I chose to believe in me.
KEY 5. KNOWLEDGE
Learn tools to support you.
Mindfulness and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Tapping helped me to feel my feelings and to express my truth. Feeling is healing and it enabled to me develop self compassion, acceptance and self love, to know my own value and deservingness.
This started everything flowing into my life
Now think about your life, where you are not listening to you?
Where are you needing to do something for yourself?
Where are you putting everyone else ahead of you?
WHAT I WANT FOR YOU…
is for you to know what you need to take care of you. At home, in your workplace, in your career, in your relationships? So that you too can feel happy, on purpose, fulfilled to the brim and overflowing.
As a Nurse with A Voice To Lead – Nursing the World to Health and as a coach I know it is time for you to address your self-care in an empowered way. Gain emotional mastery and take responsibility for your own professional and personal wellbeing.
So how well are you doing?
If you are giving yourself away everywhere you need to find a way to make you first.
Take my special quiz Are you Taking Care or Caretaking? FREE Quiz to assess right now how you are doing with this.
Visit www.laurenbell.com.au to learn more about Lauren and get your complimentary Are you Taking Care or Caretaking? FREE Quiz
“Self-care is giving the world the best of you instead of what is left of you.” Katie Reed
It Starts With Me! Burn Bright don’t Burnout.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lauren Bell helps nurses, healers and caring professionals who feel burnt out, stuck, angry and silenced to step up, stand out and be valued at the highest level in their field. Passionate for holistic health and wellness – body, mind, and spirit, Lauren delivers high impact transformation with therapy, coaching and workshops to move you forward and live the life you dreamed of; ‘An Extraordinary Life.’ Visit www.laurenbell.com.au to learn more about Lauren and get your complimentary No Apologies, I Deserve More Toolkit.