Self-Care & the Resilience Paradigm

Originally published in Beginnings Magazine by Lyn McCright, RN, MPH, APRN, AHN-BC, HWNC-BC

Nurses are perceived as vulnerable to emotional stress in the workplace. It’s not uncommon to find ourselves attempting to connect our emotions and feelings to circumstances and/or the behavior of others around us. But, isn’t it true, if we honestly consider our actual experience, that all of our feelings are generated from within? When we see this clearly, it dissolves the illusory source of our stress and anxiety, and, along with it, the distress itself. This is the direct way of revealing our ever-present resilience.

In 2016, I was very privileged to have contributed to the workshop “Transforming the Epidemic of Burnout in Health Care: Awakening the Innate Resilience of Healers” in Los Angeles. Describing the evolution of our professional self-care as providers, Dr. Keith Blevens and Joseph Bailey established the context for the Resilience Paradigm. With this concept as foundation, I’ve had the joy of seeing health and wellbeing emerge in the professional practice of nurse coaches, as well as in the lives of other nurses. Surely, this is taking care of the nurse first! Sharing their insights below, two colleagues beautifully express their experience of health and wellbeing as a result of working with the Resilience Paradigm:

Recently, I have had many small insights that have shifted my thinking and impacted my life for the better. One particular insight has been especially life changing: the day I realized that I no longer needed to worry about my adult daughters. I had spent years agonizing over decisions they were making. Always trying to “help” (give advice), which they didn’t want.

One day, as I was listening to an audio seminar about how parents and children are separate people, I had an insight in that moment – my children are adults perfectly capable of making their own decisions. I quit giving advice and instead supported them in whatever they requested. I released them from my need for emotional control (the mother-knows-best idea), which I could now see had all been created from my own thought. This had been causing me pain for too long.

I now felt a huge weight had lifted. I was free in a way I had not experienced before. From this one insight, my relationship with my daughters has completely changed. They now ask me for advice, but only when they want it. I see them growing and accepting responsibility for their decisions without blaming me when things don’t turn out as they would prefer. My oldest daughter told me recently, “I like the new you. It’s like you trust me to make my own decisions.” I like the new me, too.

—Teresa Walding

A few years ago, an insight led me to feel a part of something larger than myself, a powerful universal life force. I had been feeling very low and overwhelmed by a demanding situation with my family. It was depressing to be in this situation; I felt it was more than one human being could take and told myself that if circumstances didn’t change, I would probably “sign out” sooner or later. I had known for a long time that our thoughts in the moment create our feelings, and that nothing could come from the outside. In spite of that, I could feel this depression and exhaustion in my bones.

Suddenly, I experienced a huge shift. Not only mentally, it was as if every cell in my body realized something new at the same time. I understood deeply that I could choose not to identify with all the thoughts and emotions, and instead just be an observer of the situation. Everything changed immediately. The inner “tsunami” became a calming breeze. Filled with an intense healing energy flowing through my veins, I suddenly became strong, calm, and happy. I discovered that the part of me that is connected to a higher source is much stronger and more solid than my thoughts, feelings, and bonds with the past.

When we allow our minds to rest, we will always be supported. It is about recognizing our connection to divine intelligence as our greatest healer and guide.

—Ashild Kristin Tilrem

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