• Make Resilience your Superpower

    By Jessica Switzman, MSN, CRNA, Peer Assistance Panel member

    We cannot escape stress, but we can build tools to prevent burnout and become physically, mentally, and spiritually healthier.

    Take a moment to examine how you cope when frustrated, angry, and/ or nervous. Are you taking the best care of yourself possible or are you self-medicating with sugar, alcohol, THC, and other harmful substances on a regular basis? Prolonged stress and poor coping mechanisms lead to DIS-EASE. Resilience can help us handle stress, find enjoyment, and live healthier more successful lives.

    What is Resiliency?

    It is the ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Resiliency allows us to acknowledge the situation, learn from our mistakes, and move forward. Becoming more resilient does not mean we will be happy all the time, but rather it gives us the energy, mindset, and support mechanisms to weather life’s ups and downs.

    How to build this “Superpower”

    Make self-care a very high priority. Give yourself permission to make your health number one. Your patients will be better off. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle strengthens your body and provides a foundation for physical and emotional well-being.

    Eat a healthy diet, and avoid excess sugars and alcohol that can wreak havoc with our emotions. Add foods to your diet that doesn’t cause inflammation. Pay attention to the foods that make you feel and perform at your best. We all have different constitutions; so, foods that make me feel good might be very different from food that help you be your best.

    Get adequate rest. Sleep is essential to every process in our body, affecting our physical and mental functioning, our metabolism, and our ability to fight disease, and build immunity. Sleep builds resilience. A coffee or tea break can help too!

    Exercise regularly and keep active; walk, run, bike, paddle, swim, practice yoga or Pilates, garden, and engage in a team sport you love. Choose physical activities you enjoy, and you will be more apt to make them a habit.

    Stay hydrated, start your day drinking water and strive to drink half your weight in ounces each day. Keeping hydrated gives us energy and helps flush out toxins, wards off headaches and helps our metabolism.

    Practice deep breathing exercises or meditate for a few minutes daily; longer once you develop the habit.

    Deep belly breathing and making our exhalation longer than our inhalation activates the Vagus nerve and helps us to feel relaxed.

    Regular practice of breathing and/ or meditation has been shown to actually change our brain waves, making us feel more focused, engaged, and happier.

    Make and maintain strong relationships with family members, friends, coworkers, and other people who share similar interests and have a positive outlook. Healthy relationships provide support and make us feel connected to something larger than ourselves; reminding us that we are not alone.

    Focus on the positive. I know it is hard to feel hopeful when life isn’t going our way but remember our mindset plays a key role in our capacity to get on our feet again once we’ve been knocked down. Accept that change is a natural part of life. We cannot always control our circumstances, but we can choose how we react. Try being proactive and focusing on the beneficial aspects of the situation and visualize an encouraging outcome.

    Have fun building healthy habits. Resiliency will make you stronger, happier, and healthier. Know your limits and remember asking for help only makes us stronger. You are never alone. Seek help from the AANA, family, friends, coworkers, faith-based organizations, and from professionals.