Friday, March 30, 2012

Taking Care of Myself

I have lost track of which week it is in my fourth semester of nursing school, but I like it right now.  Clinical wrapped up and I now have two extra days off each week.  I *should* be studying like a mad woman and catching up on all my readings, but I have opted to take a break instead.  I need it.

My classmates have been falling ill in various ways.  Their illnesses vary from high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, and anxiety to stomach ulcers, anemia, and the common cold.  Most of them are simply tired.  I think it's related to all the stress we are under to perform well in clinical, pass our classes, and stay up to date with our studies.  It's a lot of work and most of us don't sleep enough.  Ironic that the very career that aims to heal people and save them from illnesses is making us ill.

I decided that I should do something about my health.  I walked myself to the counselling office so that I could talk with someone about how to better manage my stress, I went to physio for my aches and pains, and I even went tried out acupuncture (it's free at the school).  The end result of my efforts was very satisfying.

The counsellor said, "You advocate so much for your patients so that they can have good health. What makes you any less worth advocating for?".  It stopped me in my tracks because she was right.  I deserve to have good health too.  She asked me what kind of care plan I would write if I was treating myself, and I verbally constructed one.  It was a very good exercise.

At the acupuncture office, I was poked a lot.  The needles don't really hurt, but I don't know yet if they work either.  I did like the heat stones and the heat lamp though.  Those were relaxing.  The acupuncturist gave me some pretty awesome advice though.  She told me to go swimming.

I wasn't sure about swimming, but I thought about it that night as I fell asleep.  I imagined being in the water and moving weightlessly about like a mermaid.  It was such a peaceful and stress-relieving visualization that I determined to go swimming the next day.

I swam for hours and it was a wonderful experience.  The buoyancy of the water made me feel light and free.  I didn't feel so weighed down with the world.  Honestly, I swim terribly, but I didn't really mind.  I just paddled around however I was able, and rested in between.  Afterwards, I sat in the hot tub and let the hot jets of water massage all the aches and pains away.  It was really cathartic.

I told my classmates about how nice it was so a few of them plan to start swimming too.  I hope it will help them as much as it helped me.  If you're feeling stressed out, maybe you can try swimming too.  You might like it.

Take care!
  My Nursing School Diary

1 comment:

Anita Hines said...

Your counsellor's right! A lot of medical professionals do forget to take care of themselves, reducing their effectivity in serving others. Body pains such as back aches are not welcome, so you made a really good decision on visiting the acupuncturist exposing you to alternative medicine. The bonus tip about swimming even made you feel better, so it's always a good idea to widen our horizons when it comes to things such as this.
Anita Hines @ EastWestHealingSolutions.com