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Got Rhythm? Establishing Daily Flow for Nurse Educators

As educators of nurses and nursing students, we are often tired and get too little sleep and downtime. When we do try to prioritize rest, all too frequently we give in to the late night email message, or two. While we are tired, we become irritable and feel ourselves struggle to stay present. Establishing supportive daily rhythms involves two things: the in-breath and the out-breath. Breathing in is what we do when we have a cup of tea, listen to a podcast, read current articles, eat a meal, stretch, and meditate. Breathing out involves responding to emails, facilitating lecture, hitting the floor in clinical, and presenting in meetings. Moving throughout our days with this routine rhythm in mind, honors our intention.

One key principle of this balanced practice is flexibility, which can be honed through inner work where we learn about ourselves and understand our own limits. Training our flexibility does not mean that we need to continuously work outside of our limits; rather boundaries are established proactively and work to guide the day-to-day with ease. When we know ourselves and value our needs, rhythm becomes more natural. Regularly going beyond our limits can leave us feeling drained and unable to anticipate changes to situations and our engagements, oftentimes resulting in frustration. This is the place where rhythm goes out the window.

As we practice breathing in, we direct our attention on activities that relate to ourselves. Some of us may feel and perform at our best with frequent, short periods of breathing in throughout each day, while others may benefit most from fewer, longer in-breaths. Among the most creative, art, knitting, singing, and the like, may be incorporated during these in-breath periods to help ground and center. It is important to keep in mind that each breathing-in period should be accompanied by a breathing-out period of relatively equal space, so that rhythm is established. While it might sound like we can’t possibly have enough room in our days to alternate breathing-in with relation to breathing out, many of us actually already incorporate these elements, just out of sync with one another. Taking a good hard (yet gentle and with patience) look at our days can illuminate much about what we are actually doing with our time. When we identify what we fill our days with, we start to envision a rhythm that rearranges some elements to allow for movement.

We also find great value in allowing some space to be "bored." Having time to find ourselves not knowing what to do, lends way to creating from the inside out. This inner creativity is so rejuvenating and brings about a level of satisfaction in the rhythm that progresses the day. This type of flow moves past feeling stuck and allows us to feel our own presence. When the day comes to a close and we feel that we have been present in different situations, moving in and out, we can leave our work, as we not only know, but also, feel that we are actively leaving a process we have been present for. When reasonably possible, fulfilling daily rhythm includes physical activity, stress management, healthful nutrition, pleasure, and time outdoors.

Thanks for reading today. If you enjoyed this post and feel inspired to continue exploring our blog, continue on to some other relevant titles below:

We also have several helpful resources available for download from Member Downloads, such as our recently added Closing Checklist, which aims to guide the workday’s ending process.


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