Building Resilience

Hi everyone!

I know it has been some time since my last post. Sometimes life has a way of changing your trajectory. What was to be the summer of writing and building my business, became the summer of loss, grief and resiliency. On August 9th, we experienced the unexpected death of my sweet mom.

At the beginning of the summer, our family was just coming to grips with the knowledge that mom had early onset dementia. Mom knew something was going on, but often could not articulate what was happening. We began preparing for the progressive loss of memory of our independent, loving, and often sassy matriarch. Her unexpected passing compounded our grief. There were many times during these events that I shifted into nurse mode -looking for answers, evaluating options for care, planning next steps. Other times I clung to my family for direction and comfort.

All my life, my mom has been my role model. I learned the value of hard work, determination and grace from my mom. I learned how to bounce back from adversity and persevere even when times are tough. Mom also taught me to “not rob them of their joy” when folks wanted to help you. She was such a wise woman.

I am so grateful for the moments spent with my mom this summer. We looked at old photos, reminisced, and enjoyed family stories. We hugged and sang and took naps together. These are memories I will forever cherish.

As a nurse, as a daughter, as a human being…we have experienced loss in our personal and/or our professional lives. We’ve gone through the grieving process as do some of our patients’ families. AND, you have become stronger for it! It is through these hard times that we build resilience.

Resilience is the ability to adapt to adversity or unexpected changes that occur in your life. We build it up through our experiences and can draw on that resilience when needed.

Each week in September, I’ll share stories of building resilience and the tools we can use to bounce back and continue to function well during times of significant difficulty. The tools can be used both personally and professionally as nurses.

This week’s tool to building resilience is practicing good self-care. Historically I have not prioritized my own self-care. Neither do most nurses. We care for our patients and families, but rarely ourselves. Your ability to be resilient under stress requires you to have emotional and physical reserves to draw upon. One of the most important ways to build these reserves is by practicing good self-care. Deliberate, conscious choices to care for your body, mind and relationships can help you manage even the big stressors in your life. Even if the stress temporarily knocks you down, you are more able to get up and keep going.

This summer I drew from the well of my own resiliency. I took walks and listened to my favorite music. I took time to pray and time to be grateful for my many blessings. To quote one of my new favorite authors, Anne Grady, I was Strong Enough and even stronger now.

Join me next week when I’ll share the importance of relationships and resiliency.