Sadly, health care sometimes seems like anything but…especially for the professionals working within the healthcare industry. Hours are long, stress is high, burnout comes easy, and it’s common for caregivers to give all their energy to those they care for, leaving little or no energy for their own self care. Something needs to change, and the change must come from within.
Stress in healthcare is taking its toll on the industry from the inside out. It’s been nearly forty years since the first studies were produced linking stress to illness and disease. Still today, it is estimated that nearly 80% of illness and disease can be attributed to the effects on our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. How are you managing your stress? Who better to lead the way to better health than healthcare professionals themselves? I propose that we as healthcare professionals take “walking our talk” a little more seriously, and become the change we want to see in healthcare. Nothing is going to change unless you change.
Just like disease, health can be contagious too-in families, among work peers and in social circles. Becoming and staying strong and resilient to illness and disease is your best opportunity to enjoy and long quality life. Whole health and happiness – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually – simply requires the desire and commitment to placing value on your quality of life. Why is it that we can effortlessly make deposits into our financial retirement account, but often ignore the need to make deposits into our “well-being” account so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor with ample vitality and energy? Only you can choose to make your life a journey of happiness and discovery vs. illness and despair. That’s what wisdom is all about.
“Wisdom begins in wonder” -Socrates
I love this “wise” statement. It is so true. The more you wonder, the more you learn. The more you experience, the more you know, and the more your wisdom grows. This expansive state of wonder is as applicable to our SELF as it is to exploring our world.
What if you approached learning about decreasing your stress and improving your well-being with a sense of innocence, openness, receptiveness, discovery and knowing? What if your
well-being came from starting in wonder?
Try it over the next few weeks. Begin by wondering… “What would I feel like and learn if…”
- I paused throughout each day to observe my breath and slow down?
- I took regular stretch breaks during the day?
- I ate only vegetables one day this week?
- I gave up soda pop this month?
- I invited someone I don’t know very well to lunch one day?
- I scheduled meaningful time with a special friend or family member?
- I gave up watching TV for the week or month?
- I kept a regular bedtime/wake time schedule and got 8 hours of sleep each night?
- I planned ahead and brought a healthy lunch every day this week?
- I took 10 minutes each day to sit in stillness and meditate?
- I made it a point to show appreciation for a co-worker each day?
- I took time to reflect and write down what it is I really want in life?
- I took time to cook a new vegetable or recipe?
- I took the time to be fully present with my kids or spouse and really listen to them?
- I finally tried a yoga class or that yoga DVD at home?
- I got out and took a walk each day?
What do you wonder about, but have yet to try? Why not now?
True happiness and well-being can only come from within. There is no job, raise, praise, big house, child or grandchild, number of friends, or perfect outfit that can make you truly happy. Caring for your SELF and the resultant sense of well-being leads to more wanting and desiring what is good for you– which will continue to expand your well-being. This is “right action” – action that is good for you, good for those you love, care for and serve, and good for the world. What could be better?