National Nurses' Month: 10 Innovative Ideas for Self-Care From a Nurse


To celebrate National Nurses' Month, Maryn Moreni, MSN, RN, CNE, discusses the self-care practices she incorporates into her life and teaches to her students.

National Nurses Month

National Nurses Month

As a nurse educator, I teach students about wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention for their patients. But what many nurses fail to do is take care of themselves. Nursing can be a physically and mentally challenging job. We must learn to support ourselves before we support others. Self-care replenishes a nurse’s empathy and compassion and reduces burnout.

Self-care is not limited to nursing. We can all benefit from self-care to improve our mental, physical, and emotional health. Let’s explore simple yet powerful ways to implement self-care amidst the demands of our daily lives.

1. Sensory Meditation: Sometimes, meditation can seem intimidating. Engage in sensory meditation by focusing on 1 sense at a time. For example, spend a few minutes appreciating the aroma of your favorite coffee, candle, or essential oil, listening to calming nature sounds, or savoring the taste and texture of a piece of dark chocolate.

2. DIY Spa Day: Create your own spa day at home with DIY treatments such as homemade face masks, luxurious baths with Epsom salts and essential oils, and soothing hand and foot massages. Engage your partner or family members in the experience to foster personal connection.

3. Journaling with Prompts: Reflection and debriefing are important for nursing students and nurses but can also be effective for anyone. Use journaling prompts tailored to you to reflect on your experiences, emotions, and accomplishments. Explore prompts related to gratitude, resilience, and self-compassion to foster personal growth and well-being. An example prompt could be, “What am I proud of myself for today?”

4. Artistic Expression: Explore different forms of artistic expression, such as painting, sketching, or photography, as a creative outlet for processing emotions and promoting self-expression. Need help figuring out where to start or what to try? There are some excellent adult coloring book options out there!

5. Dance Therapy: Incorporate dance therapy into your self-care routine by spontaneously dancing to your favorite music. Allow yourself to let go of stress and tension as you move freely and express yourself through dance.

6. Mindful Eating: Practice mindful eating by savoring each bite of your meals, paying attention to the flavors, textures, and sensations. Take time to eat without distractions, focusing on nourishing your body and enjoying the culinary experience. You could create a simple rule such as not eating in your car...or not eating from the work vending machines!

7. Laugh Therapy: Dedicate time to watch or listen to comedic content that makes you laugh wholeheartedly. Laughter releases endorphins and reduces stress, offering a natural and enjoyable way to boost your mood and well-being.

8. Nature Immersion: Immerse yourself in nature by spending time outdoors engaging in activities such as hiking, gardening, or birdwatching. Connecting with the natural world can help reduce stress, improve mood, and promote overall well-being.

9. Intuitive Movement: Practice intuitive movement by tuning into your body's signals and engaging in activities that feel good and energizing. Whether it's yoga, tai chi, or simply stretching, allow your body to guide you in movement that promotes relaxation and vitality.

10. Community Service: My favorite self-care practice has nothing to do with self! Volunteer your time and skills to support community service initiatives or organizations that align with your values and interests. Giving back to others can foster a sense of purpose, connection, and fulfillment, enriching your well-being.

These are a few practices I incorporate into my life and share with my nursing students. Any act of self-care can provide meaningful benefits. Remember, self-care is highly personal, so explore and experiment with different practices to find what resonates most with you.

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