Do You Practice Self Care?
Tonight I work a night shift and the next night I work a night shift, this means I’m in full on self care mode right now. This is my attempt at taking care of myself so I can actually feel somewhat decent physically/mentally/emotionally and in turn be a good nurse and a kind mother. Self care doesn’t mean I’m at the spa or sleeping the day away in preparation for staying awake all night. It does mean taking care of things of various things so that I feel my best (I do love the spa though).
In order to feel my best I cut way back on extra activities during the day of my night shift. I don’t attend any functions or make big plans, I just take it easy. I always (always!) feel my best when the house is clean and the fridge is fully stocked, so I make sure that happens before going to work. There is just something about a nice orderly living space that makes dealing with night shifts that much better. So, today I’ve done some laundry, scrubbed the bathrooms and my husband went grocery shopping with Josie. I’ve picked out the kids clothes for tomorrow and packed up Ben’s school bag. These things just help me to feel organized so I avoid that uppity overwhelmed feeling that’s so easy to feel when your body is stressed from being awake all night.
Since it’s a weekend my husband is off work and I get to have a delicious nap before I head off to work this evening. Sleeping before a night shift is something I most definitely took for granted before I had kids. I remember how I used to get all panicky when I only had a 2 hour pre work nap and now I’m pretty satisfied if I can clock an hour in my bed without someone needing me. With the lack of opportunity to catch a nap, taking care of myself is even more important.
Self care means putting attention toward the things that make me feel good. For me today that meant having a shower and lathering myself up with lotion and then sitting down on the couch and cuddling with my kids. I like to take things before a night shift very slowly and I try my hardest not to beat myself up over not being able to do it all. There is nothing selfish about self care, instead it is mandatory in order to keep your mind and body healthy. Since going back to work last year after my maternity leave ended, I’m an even bigger advocate for self care. Just like you, I don’t have time to be bogged down by sick days or extreme lethargy and I need to feel good. Self care helps me with that.
As a shift worker with type 1 diabetes, self care is even more important and really helps to keep me healthy long after my night shifts are over. Being awake all night makes hormones, like cortisol, do crazy things and being a diabetic means that I am more at risk of having really wonky blood sugars from the stress of being awake all night long. This just means that I need to sleep when I can (sleep really is where it’s at) and make sure I have healthy food to eat. There is just something about being up at 2 AM makes you want to eat Doritos! I will never push myself to stay awake after working a night shift and try to live a regular day doing mum things. I will always make sure I get to go to bed and let my body rest and recover. Not only am I a much nicer person to be around, my body thanks me with normal blood sugars.
If you’re reading this and you are not a shift worker, a mother or a diabetic, self care still applies to YOU. We all need to practice self care on a regular basis so that we can be the healthiest person possible. So, tell me…what do you do to take care of yourself?