The phrase “time out” is a phrase used universally in healthcare. There is a time out before any type of invasive procedure whether it is intubation or a surgical procedure. It is a brief moment where every member of the team stops what he/she is doing to reflect before moving forward with a procedure involving a patient. Imagine now taking this concept and applying it in life.
How can a time out apply in life? Nurses give all they can on the job, in the community, to their families, to one another. Many of us have little left at the end of the day for ourselves. Taking a time out allows for a moment of self reflection and growth. When was the last time you took a moment?
I have spent the last few days in some of the most remote regions of northern Sweden sans electricity, internet, and toilet. It has been a time out that challenged me both mentally and physically. I have faced some fears, challenged myself, and tried something new. Why am I sharing this with you? Because I have not always been the girl who jumps in feet first when challenged and yet here I am living and working in another country, speaking another language, and still taking life on. I promise that none of it has been easy, but my intention is to encourage anyone out there who is afraid of trying something new that anything is possible. How?
Disconnect from your daily life even if you have only two days. Disconnect from social media. Disconnect from politics. Disconnect from any unnecessary distraction. Disconnect from comparison or self sabotage. Disconnecting allows for contemplation without interruption.
Never Stop Challenging Yourself
View a challenge as more an opportunity than an obstacle. Are you contemplating testing another area of nursing? Going back to school to advance your education? Do you dream of becoming a nurse practitioner? Are you burned out completely in nursing and contemplating something entirely new? You are never too old, too in debt, or too committed to your current life to make some sort of change.
Confront a Fear
The person I was 10 years ago is not the same person I am today. I dreamed incessantly, but fear of failure weighed me down. I decided finally to follow my own instincts instead of someone else’s and while it has not been without strife, I have grown in more ways than even I recognize. Confronting what you fear is a way of overcoming what you fear.
Set a standard
Nurses live by standards professionally. Why not set personal standards? Perhaps you are reflecting on some kind of lifestyle change? You want to be your healthiest you? Set a standard for yourself that you will only eat junk food one day a week. Perhaps you want more respect on the job or at home? Set a standard for how you would like to be treated. It starts with respecting yourself.
Life is too short to not live your true happiness. It takes effort, tears, confronting fears, and/or change, but in the end you will have in the very least grown. I end my hiking trek north of The Arctic Circle with bruises, exhausted legs, and a real appreciation for roughing it. Above all, it is an experience I will remember for as long as I live. The good and bad I have learned to embrace. They teach us equally. The next chance you have, try taking a time out. Taking a few moments are so important, especially in our profession. It may not always be life changing, but unless you try you will never know.