Spring Cleaning Your Mental Health
The warmer weather, sun kissed flowers and singing birds are iconic signs of spring. The change of season often arrives like a breath of fresh air and inspires us with a sense of renewal. While many people take to their closets for a major clean out and the corners of their homes to wrangle dust bunnies, spring is also a perfect time to refresh your mind. Nurses, especially travel nurses who are faced with so much change on top of professional demands, need to care for their mental health just as they care for their patients.
Emotional well-being also has a direct effect on performance. It is very difficult to be at your best managing a big caseload, dealing with unforeseen emergencies, and coping with co-worker drama if you are not in a good headspace. Juggling an overwhelmed mind is also draining and can destroy your energy levels.
Clutter happens in more places than your cabinets, consider how these ideas might be causing distractions in your life:
- Spending too much time on negative feelings or worries
- Obsessing over a mental to do list
- Refusing to let go of incomplete goals that might be unrealistic
- Daily bombardment from external distractions and over stimulation
- Strategizing how to change things outside your control
- Harboring resentment
- Inability to shake sadness or hurt
We’re not suggesting you can snap your fingers and be free of every stressor, but there are proven ways to help manage these feelings.
Let spring be a reminder to declutter your mind and start a ritual toward better mental health. Try these tips to get on a path to a new season of well-being:
Get quality sleep
Science shows that quality sleep improves focus and brain function.
Create a prioritized to do list
Trim down your wish list to the top things you want to accomplish, ensure they are feasible and set practical due dates.
Declutter your physical environment
Look around where you spend your time. Find ways to organize and create open space, downsize items that are not used or needed.
Disconnect from social media
Take a break from electronic stimulation. It’s great to keep up with friends and family, but sometimes too much information causes us to compare and compete in unhealthy ways.
Confide in a loved one
Talking is always an effective way to release worry or pent up feelings. Choose someone you can truly trust and ease into sharing your deep thoughts. If they are judgmental or unsupportive, abandon them as confidante.
An extremely useful way to organize and declutter your thoughts. Writing is a very therapeutic method to vent frustration, release anger, cherish happy thoughts, and can help put things in a more realistic perspective.
Break down negativity to “bite size” pieces
Sometimes worry or anxiety can feel overwhelming and too big to tackle so we let it just eat away at us. Try to divide up your feelings into more manageable pieces and rid yourself little by little.
Try to focus
Everyone is guilty of juggling several things at one time. Reduce multi-tasking as much as possible and focus on one thing at a time. Studies show that your time to completion can actually be quicker in this manner.
Draw it out
Draw one large shape on a piece of paper, a circle, a square, etc. Then, divide that shape into proportional sections that represent the major feelings that you believe make up your thoughts. For example, you may have a large area labeled “work politics” and a smaller section called “finding and buying a new car”. Take time to understand what things are consuming most of your mental energy. Then, dissect each section to see how you can break it down into steps for resolution.
The importance of downtime and enjoying the outdoors, a sport, craft, yoga, a massage, or any fun activity can’t be overemphasized. Nurses need to recharge and relax on a regular basis to stay at the top of their game. Burnout is real and the best medicine is to feed your soul regularly with some good old fashion fun.
Take Care of You
Spring has sprung and now it’s time for you to declutter your mind. Take some time to follow these tips and we hope you will soon feel refreshed and refocused. If you are struggling with severe depression or anxiety or would like to find assistance from a trained professional, call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for free, confidential, 24/7/365 treatment referral and information service.
I am a firm believer that if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your live. I am so thankful everyday that I am living that quote. Let me help you do the same; while traveling and meeting new people!