Our Inspiring Guest Panel includes:
Rosie started as a Registered Nurse in 2007, and graduated with her BSN from the University of San Francisco. She further advanced her education by earning her MSN from Boston College in 2012. While running her private practice, she also works in Primary Care and has previously worked in different specialties such as Addiction Medicine and Gastroenterology.
Fun fact: Rosie is a hip-hop dancer. She is known for bringing the joy of dance everywhere she goes in her Nursing career. Through teaching and creating choreography, she has brought light, smiles, and happiness to many health care providers. She has produced dance routines and flash mobs to celebrate Nurses Week.
Healthy Nurse Evangelist, Author. Speaker. Life Coach
Kim, a Board Certified Nurse Coach, combines her passion for nursing, integrative health and coaching to create the components of Self-Care Academy. Her extensive research on the science of self-care and resiliency has been widely published. Kim offers professional workshops as well as and a sustainable program to improve resiliency, engagement and retention which has been successfully implemented by thousands across the US and UK.
Kim is proud to offer her new series of inspiring presentations, Rising Resilient. The topics focus on lessons learned in recovering from traumatic life events, great loss and natural disasters. Kim’s profound message of hope, synchronicity, and ultimate release of expectations will make you laugh, cry and imagine a truly authentic life that IS within your reach.
Facebook: Emily Bennett
“We have to consciously remind ourselves, man, I need to take care of myself, right? What does that mean, to take care of yourself? Is another deeper question. It’s not just the physical part of the self. It’s also addressing your emotional needs, your mental health needs, your spiritual needs, and even your environment.” ~Rosie Dominia
“I think self-care is at the core of supporting your wellbeing. If you’re in tune with what you need, then that’s the first step. Asking yourself the question: what do I need right now? I’m feeling stressed, I need to take a break, I need to take a deep breath.” ~Emily Bennett
“And being able to know that there’s self-intervention practices and activities that I can do to, like I said, I mean, truly create a self-intervention, you know? Like, save myself. Because ultimately, it’s up to me. If I can’t treat myself the way I want to be treated, how in the world do I expect anyone else to treat me well?” ~Kim Richards
Nicole Vienneau 00:00
Welcome, everyone, to Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! My name is Nicole Vienneau. I’m a Board-Certified Integrative Nurse Coach and I’m also the host for this amazing podcast of inspirational Nurse Coaches. And today’s episode is beyond exciting because this is the first time we have ever had a panel on our podcast.
And so I’m going to do a brief introduction of the people, the amazing Nurse Coaches that we have on our podcast today. First, we have Rosie Dominia. She’s from San Francisco, California. She owns Reaching New Depths Coaching. She’s also known as the Hip-Hop NP SF. She’s Board-Certified as a family Nurse Practitioner and Integrative Nurse Coach.
We also have Emily Bennett on our panel today, who is from Sandy, Oregon. She started her career as a Veterinarian Technician. She is growing her Graceful Nature Coaching. She’s a Board-Certified Nurse Coach and is celebrating as she just graduated with a master’s in Nursing Population Health and a graduate certificate in Nursing Education.
And we also have Kim Richards, who is a speaker, author, resiliency expert, Board-Certified Nurse Coach, and the owner of Self-Care Academy. And she is also the crew of a luxury sailing catamaran in the Caribbean.
So, we have such an exciting panel today. Our topic is all about self-care, and it’s coming from the lens of Nurse Coaches. And it’s coming from the heart of Nurse Coaches, and sharing tips, tools, ideas, resources, things that can help our fellow Nurses in their journey through their life and through their careers. So welcome, everyone, to today’s podcast!
Kim Richards 02:03
Thank you, all. This is an honor. Thank you so much.
Rosie Dominia 02:07
Thank you for the invitation. I’m so happy and excited to be here.
Emily Bennett 02:11
I agree. It’s just wonderful to be a part of the panel. Thank you so much.
Nicole Vienneau 02:14
Let’s get into some of the nitty-gritty. So, I would love, and I know our listeners would love, to have each of you maybe describe a little bit about what brought you to Nurse Coaching. And how about we start with Rosie to kick us off with that.
Rosie Dominia 02:35
That is a great question. I remember being at a very stressful point in my life. I was in a toxic job, and I also lost my father unexpectedly. So, this was the beginning of 2019. And so at that point, I remember just feeling not great in many ways — mentally, physically, emotionally, and I didn’t really know how to deal with it.
I don’t at that time, I think I didn’t really have the skills to deal with the complex situations I was going through. And so the backstory to even discovering Nurse Coaching was that I found a little advertisement in an ANA magazine, like, literally on the bottom right corner. And something intuitively drew me to that advertisement.
And I took a, you know, leap of faith into going into this eight-hour conference. And that’s where I actually had met Emily. And it was the first time in my Nursing career — so it’s like 13 years out from starting as an RN — was the first time I was really excited to learn about Nursing.
And I have nothing against Nursing. I think it’s a rewarding profession. But I think there was a lot at that point about achieving and becoming stable, earning income, because that’s the way that I was raised. And so when I think back to what really self-care meant at that time, it wasn’t really defined.
It was defined for me in a very different way. So, when I took the course, I joined in 2019 with cohort 26. It was the first time it really made me look at myself and ask myself these questions. What does it mean to really take care of yourself? Am I doing that for myself? Am I making the right choices that my time and energy… like really looking at: was it worth it for me?
And I think I was discovering a lot, because the way that I watched my dad pass was right in front of my face. And the universe gave me a sign, like a literal sign, that life can change at any moment. So, when I say like I witnessed his death, it was the transition of watching him come from conscious to unconscious.
So, it was something that was very powerful for me to witness and I think, you know, it was meant to happen. That’s how I choose to learn from that experience. It was meant to happen for me to finally wake up. Wake up to really the topic of this podcast today — is how am I really taking care of myself? Do I value myself? I can ask the deeper question: do I find that I’m worthy to take care of myself?
Nicole Vienneau 04:59
Thank you, Rosie. And Emily, what about you? What is your brief story about how you discovered Nurse Coaching? What brought you here?
Emily Bennett 05:07
I think that Nurse Coaching also came to me in it was not the straight path. I was working as a Nurse, and then over time, transitioned into some roles into Nurse leadership. And I think just the way of the healthcare world right now, leadership can be very stressful. And I always considered myself to be a servant leader, you know, a leader who would be willing to do what she was asking others to do.
And over time, I didn’t recognize it right away, but I became very burned out, I became bitter, I became unhappy. And I sought some help from a yoga teacher who had just started a life coaching… kind of a side gig. She’d done some coaching training, and I didn’t know what that was, but I thought: well, if a yoga teacher is doing it, I can probably go that route. And I want to check this out.
So, I signed up for some life coaching. And it was a combination of yoga and life coaching, where we would do some embodiment practices and some pranayama. And then we would get down and, you know, once I was kind of in that good space, we would talk about life’s purpose and what I saw for my future.
And it was just amazing to be able to have a conversation with someone who really listened and asked the questions and seemed to really have an interest in my wellbeing and my future. From there, joined a yoga teacher training program and became a 200-hour registered yoga teacher, and jumped right in with INCA after that.
I took a leap. I was on kind of that academic train of learning, and I just jumped right into INCA right after yoga teacher training. And that’s where Rosie and I worked together in cohort 26. And we met this wonderful group of people at this wonderful place.
And I’m just so grateful that I found this path because I think it’s really changed my life. And it’s helped me to stay grounded and humble and grateful. And it’s helped me to see the beauty in little things and to remember what’s important.
Nicole Vienneau 07:35
Thank you, Emily. And Kim, how about you?
Kim Richards 07:41
My journey to Nurse Coaching really started with my own personal journey and having to overcome some events that kind of made me wonder what my purpose was anymore. And I was in cohort 2, which was back in 2011, actually.
I had been an executive recruiter for over 20 years, and I had been hearing nothing but burnout in recruitment, and I just kept thinking, you know, there’s got to be a better solution than just recruitment, recruitment, recruitment. I mean, how about if we actually take care of the people who are doing a fabulous job and just make sure that they’re so well taken care of, and that they have the resources that they need.
And so that’s when I developed my business called Self-Care Academy. And I also, at the same time, I had done a lot of work with Dr. Barbara Dossey — was in communication with her. And of course, we all know how she is. She just like completely turns you on to this stuff. So, I was like: yes, I’m in, I’m in, I’m in.
So, it was a combination of my personal journey, my business journey through recruitment, and also knowing that I had something more to offer. At that time, I was a yoga teacher, I was a fitness instructor, and I just kept looking at my classes, thinking: gosh, wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to provide this kind of support and camaraderie and companionship and compassion to the Nursing community?
And so, my very first session with Self-Care Academy was doing nothing more than driving to downtown Denver to a hospital — an inner city hospital down there — teaching the Nurses who had gotten off their 12-hour night shift in ICU — who had worked together — just convincing them to come into one of these rooms.
And I provided the yoga mats and I had my little boombox back in the time, and we did nothing but meditation and gentle yoga to allow them to release some of what had gone on the night before, before they took it home to their families. And that’s simply all it was at the time. And it just kind of evolved from that, obviously with incredible support from, you know, what we’ve learned through Nurse Coaching. So, that’s my journey.
Nicole Vienneau 10:12
Thank you, Kim. Thank you all for just sharing a brief snippet. I know I want to get into the details of all of your stories, but we’ve got to focus on the topic at hand. But I think there was a beautiful thread in all that you said. Each of you spoke to the importance of caring for self and caring for others, and how those two can intertwine with each other.
And so, I’m just going to read the old dictionary definition of self-care, just to have that out there. And then I’m just going to ask a question. So, the definition, the dictionary definition, defines self-care as the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own wellbeing and happiness, in particular, during periods of stress.
So, that’s the definition of the dictionary. And so, I’d like to open up our panel to offer your thoughts on the following question: what is your definition of self-care? Start this time with Kim.
Kim Richards 11:22
I love that definition that you read, because the thing that really spoke to me was the word protect. And that’s something that we as Nurses are not that great at — protecting our own selves from the outside environment that we just don’t have, you know, that much control over.
I mean, all the stuff that’s going on around us, we oftentimes struggle with really protecting ourselves; our own hearts, our own soul, our own time, our own energy. So, we just give, give, give, give, give and over give without, you know, really filling our bucket. And so, I love that protect is in that dictionary version of self-care.
I like to use the definition by Louise Hay, because I followed her for a million years. And her definition is: extraordinary mothering of self in mind, body, and spirit. And I love that because the mothering aspect… I mean, even if we’re not mothers by design… I mean, I have no children but, you know, that certainly doesn’t mean that I’m not able to mother my family, my friends, my co-workers, the people I come in contact with.
There’s so many different ways to “mother.” You know, to me, I just think it’s such a comforting way to think about self-care. And the way that I describe that is, you know, what kinds of motherly things would you say to your family or your friends? Well, gosh, “have a great day”, you know, “you make such a difference.”
You know, just things like that — so many compassionate affirmations that we have no problem telling other people, but boy, do we have a problem when it comes back to telling that, you know, to ourselves and actually believing it. That’s kind of my definition of self-care: extraordinary mothering of self in mind, body, and spirit.
Emily Bennett 13:22
I would just like to jump off of what Kim was saying. I just appreciated that so much, Kim, thank you for sharing that. It really brought to mind something that I was thinking about when I was thinking about this question. And I also agree completely with the definition you shared, Nicole. And I was thinking about something I’d heard before.
And I don’t know who first coined this term, but you know, one cannot pour from an empty cup. I like to think that that is really the basis of self-care. And just jumping from what Kim was saying about mothering yourself, I often think about the inner child. You know, treating yourself as you would, or thinking about when you were a child, how you would want to be treated, because we were all children.
And we all have had experiences that are varied. Some are good, some are bad. There’s been a lot of trauma. But that doesn’t change the fact that we know how we would want to treat children or we would know how we would want ourselves to be treated when we were kids.
And you think about that and you think about what you learned from interacting with adults when you were a child, and how some of those things shaped you into believing some of the things about yourself or your self-care — that you’re not worthy of that.
And just going back to that heart of it and thinking about, as a mother, how you would want to treat your children in the best of times, every single day. And so, I just love that. I love that you shared that, Kim, and I wish I had written it down. So, I’ll have to listen to the podcast so I can jot that down later.
Nicole Vienneau 15:15
That’s right. Everybody listen to the podcast, right?! Rosie, what are your thoughts?
Rosie Dominia 15:22
Well, I agree with both Kim and Emily about their definitions of self-care. What I would like to add on to the dictionary definition is — I mean, yes, you’re playing an active role in self-care, but it also has to be one where you’re conscious and awake to it. And a part of that is creating space. So, creating time. Making time for it.
And I feel like sometimes as Nurses, we get caught up in the busyness, which is understandable. I think what we do for a living, what naturally comes with it is it is busy. We are caring for people, or patients, likely at their lowest times where they don’t feel well, so we try to fill that space for them in a very caring and nurturing way.
But I think a lot of what we do — and we have to remind ourselves — is that who we are as people, what we bring to the table — whether you are a mother, a father, an aunt, a friend — it comes from your health. So, I do agree with the analogy of the empty cup. I like to use the analogy of a gas tank.
When you’re running on empty, if your car’s running on empty, it’s gonna burn out and your engine is likely going to break down. So, going back to where our actions come from, in terms of who we are and what we give, because as a profession, we’re givers. We are a compassionate, caring, trusting profession.
So, a lot of the times, we have to consciously remind ourselves, man, I need to take care of myself, right? What does that mean, to take care of yourself, is another… it’s a deeper question. But it’s not just the physical part of the self. And I think that’s what I want to remind others of self-care.
It’s also addressing your emotional needs, your mental health needs, your spiritual needs, and even your environment. So, to look at different aspects. I think we get caught up in I need to exercise and just eat healthy, which are both important, but sometimes just even sitting with yourself and your own thoughts.
And those thoughts sometimes play a very… they play in the subconscious or unconscious mind that you don’t even know exist, but they contribute to that cycle of burnout and stress. So, even what you say to yourself in the moments of when you feel stressful, right? Getting into those moments where you remind yourself: you know what? I’m having a busy day, let me take a moment to step back.
That’s why I like using the term “bite size.” Because realistically, when we get busy, we lose sight of that. But even just five seconds, five conscious seconds of just pausing and taking a deep breath, to me, is a form of self-care in the moment.
And that’s when we do need it the most, is when we do go through difficult times. So, I mean, that’s how I would add on to all of the definitions of self-care, is just being 1: play a conscious role in it, and 2: create the space and time to do it.
Nicole Vienneau 17:59
I’m getting all jazzed up by all of you amazing Nurse Coaches sharing your thoughts. So wonderful. And so, the next question I’d love to ask is: how does self-care support your own wellbeing?
Emily Bennett 18:17
I think self-care is at the core of supporting your wellbeing, honestly. Because if you’re in tune with what you need, then that’s the first step, right? Asking yourself the question: what do I need right now? I’m feeling stressed, I need to take a break, I need to take a deep breath.
I think that it grounds you so that you can recognize when you’re feeling a certain way, or you may not have the energy to sustain, and to be able to set up boundaries, you know, around what you can do. I think, for me, without self-care, it really does lead to physical symptoms, and it leads to exhaustion.
And it’s not sustainable. And it’s not even optional anymore. Now that I think I’ve got some practices that I undertake, without them, I just don’t know… I don’t know what I would do. I don’t think I would be well. So, it gives you the space to ask yourself the question what you need.
And I think that you need to allow yourself to do that. That may have been kind of a circular answer. I’m not really sure. So, I hope that made sense. But that’s just sort of what came up for me when you asked the question.
Nicole Vienneau 19:44
Some of this is circular though, don’t you think, Emily? I mean really thinking of, you know, what came first: the chicken or the egg? Well, sometimes it doesn’t even really matter what comes first.
Emily Bennett 19:56
That is so true. I really appreciate that. Yeah. I totally agree.
Kim Richards 20:01
Yeah, I totally agree with what Emily said, because you know, when we get so fatigued — I can say for myself for sure — I mean, fatigue really is the end of mindfulness for me. Oh, because when I get overtired from over giving, I just… it seems like at that point, things just kind of go downhill.
So, I have had to learn, over the years, to recognize that and to understand that, you know, it is just a moment. One thing that’s really helped me is to be able to decipher what’s temporary and what’s permanent. And so, when I get to that point, I realize, look, this is a temporary situation that I have an opportunity to be able to solve. So, what can I do?
And typically, it comes down to, you know, get more sleep, which is a huge issue for Nurses in the United States right now. And knowing that our jobs really are — whatever job we’re in, whatever, you know, whatever perspective we’re coming from, whether you’re doing, you know, direct patient care, or education, or whatever it is — being very mindful of those times when we’re just really feeling like an adrenal overload.
You know, and we become so accustomed to our normal being such a heightened state, that we get so jumpy, we get irritable, and we start exhibiting all of those signs and those symptoms, and being able to spot that in ourselves and know what that looks like.
Emily Bennett 21:44
Kim, that is so amazing. Just like, getting to know your nervous system, right? Being in touch with your nervous system. I am elevated right now and I need to take a step back. And I think Rosie brought that up already, too, right? Just really being in touch with yourself. And being okay with knowing that you have needs. That is what I got from what Kim was saying, and I just appreciate it a lot.
Kim Richards 22:10
Yeah, I think we just, you know, this chronic stress — that much of it is self-imposed — it really teaches our bodies how to normalize toxic stress. And that’s not normal. We know, as Nurses, that’s not a normal or a sustainable way to live. You know, and that has so much, for me, that has so much to do with my own wellbeing, is just not normalizing toxic stress and being able to spot it immediately or as soon as you can.
And being able to know that there’s self-intervention practices and activities that I can do to, like I said, I mean, truly create a self-intervention, you know? Like, save myself. Because ultimately, it’s up to me. If I can’t treat myself the way I want to be treated, how in the world do I expect anyone else to treat me well?
Rosie Dominia 23:09
I absolutely agree. I agree with both of you. And I think you guys, your answers were really great to what that question means. And I think, just to add on to both of you, you know, I think about the last two years. So, I do practice part-time as a Family Nurse Practitioner in primary care, and a lot of the patients I’ve seen, especially with the pandemic, a lot of it’s like underlying mental health issues that have come up.
So, anxiety, depression, stress, fatigue related to stress. Sometimes it’s a metabolic source. But I think we also live in a culture, too, where it is hard to take care of yourself. And we’re used to the quick fix, right? And the quick fix, as we know, is a temporary measure. Yes, it may heal things for a few days, a few weeks, or maybe an hour, but then my patients come back and they’re like: nothing’s working.
So, then I start asking the deeper questions like: are you taking care of yourself? Let’s go back to, I mean, what I call the foundational basics of sleep, are you eating well? Do you give yourself time to breathe during all this, like, during your busyness? Whatever that looks like for the patient.
So, it makes me think about that the awareness — someone’s personal awareness to their self-care is key. And that conversation to be had, I mean, it’s different for everyone, right? And what they perceive to be their own optimal wellness. So, I mean, I know I like asking the deeper questions, is where I’d like to go with this kind of stuff, because it is different for everyone.
It’s different for all types of Nurses. We all experience different types of stress. There is no algorithm to how we deal with it. And it’s not linear. And I think sometimes we make the mistake that if it works once, it’s always going to work. And that’s not the case. It’s a practice. Self-care is a practice and it takes time.
And it may change because depending on how you grow and evolve, your tools also have to go in that direction as well. So, there is a lot of reflection that comes back to you, where you think about: okay, are the things that I’m doing, are they truly working? Do they relieve stress? It’s not about just checking off the box of I meditated for 10 minutes, but it’s how do you feel after you meditate for 10 minutes?
Are you relaxed? Are you breathing slower? Is your heart rate lower? Do you actually feel calm after that? So, I think about those deeper questions, the boundaries, which I do agree, Emily — boundaries are super important when it comes to self-care. And making time for that and having just — again, I’m gonna use that word, it’s the word that comes up — that conscious awareness around how you take care of yourself. So, I think it is. It’s different for everyone.
Emily Bennett 25:48
I love that. I love that you talk about it as an evolution. It’s like not only is it a commitment, but it’s an evolution, it’s not the same. And you have to actively participate in it. You know, you can’t say, “Well, you know, it used to be that I would go to yoga class once a week, and that did the trick for me.”
You know, it changes. It may even change by the week, depending on what’s going on. It’s not formulaic. And you have to really be in touch with yourself and take the time, like you said, take the time to ask yourself: is it working? What do I need? What do I need right now? And be open and be curious and be connected with yourself.
I’ve been reading this book called Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hansen. It’s an assignment for work. I’m taking a mindfulness facilitator training. And Rick Hansen talks about a lot of things in this book, I highly recommend it. But something that he talks about is the darts we throw ourselves. I don’t know if you guys have heard this concept before.
The first dart is this like unpleasant thing that happens. But then the second dart is the one that we throw at ourselves. Saying that we really have a choice. So, you get into a circumstance, say you tripped over a chair as example. And your first thought is: who moved that darn chair?
Because you’re throwing a dart out there. You’re throwing some blame out there. And so then you have… then you feel bad for sort of blaming someone for moving the chair, right? And so a lot of these things that happen, if we can just take a step back and think about what it is that we need, or what’s really going on, we have a choice.
We can be mad about something, or we can take a step back and think about it. I think that that goes along with your wellbeing and your self-care too, right? Is that some of this reaction from this nervous system, it just… it’s all connected, right? And it really all comes down to asking what you need in that moment.
Nicole Vienneau 26:20
So, now I’d like to shift a little bit. So, as you’ve defined self-care, I’ve heard protection, filling the cup, evolution, discovering what you want and need, mothering. And so, I know our listeners would love to know: what are your favorite tips to help you do that? How does that work in your life? What does it look like? And maybe some ideas that our listeners can explore to help them in their continuous journey.
Rosie Dominia 28:46
It has taken me quite some time to figure out what really works for me. As of now, I can say, you know, sitting here with all of you on this panel in 2022, what works for Rosie in terms of self-care. One thing that works for me, personally, is affirmations. You know, reminding myself what I call like my core characteristics.
So, what I repeat to myself is that I am compassionate, I am loving, and I’m strong. So, if I tend to get lost in the midst of the craziness of stress and work or family, I take a moment to really repeat those things in my brain. I actually do them in the morning as well, just to give myself that space to be with me before I exert my energy for 20 plus patients.
Another thing I love, I mean, you mentioned I am the Hip-Hop NP SF. I love dance. I mean, it’s not a secret. It’s not a secret, but there’s something… it’s not about the performing part of dance, it’s more about the spiritual release for me. And so dance is much of a very like sacred expression.
So, it’s not just, again, getting up on stage and performing in front of an audience, but actually, I dance in my room, I listen to music. Just that release. Because sometimes I can get caught up in my own, you know, stress or get really busy in a moment. And my savior is just putting on a great song that I love and just moving around.
One other thing I do is when I’m driving, I just look at the sky for a second if I’m at a stoplight, and just take in whatever it is — just being present, and being mindful, you know, in that moment. So, those are the key things for me right now — dance, affirmations, and just pausing wherever I am.
Doesn’t have to be at a stoplight, but even if I’m sitting at my desk, at my job, looking out the window just for a second, and capturing, oh, that’s what the weather looks like. Oh, look, the sky is blue. Or like, there’s a dog that just walked by. I mean, that kind of stuff, for me, has worked tremendously to give me space, so that I can approach the next thing with more clarity.
Kim Richards 30:49
I like that you talked, Rosie, about music, because for me, music is a drug. And I use it PRN, and that’s a lot. And, you know, I focus on the way I want to feel, not necessarily the way I am feeling, because that, to me, is my little self-intervention. It’s music. You know, I’ve got a real eclectic playlist.
And if I’m feeling stressed, I put on something very calming, or I put on like my favorite happy music. And then that actually creates the shift in my perspective, and a shift in my mood. So, I use music a lot, especially dealing with 10 visitors out on the ocean every week. 10 different visitors every week.
I’ve had to learn how to create that space for myself and things that I can do. And I also loved that you said, you know, it changes and evolves. What we do for ourselves maybe last year or even last week doesn’t work now. And I’ve had to identify that for myself quite a bit. Because my go to was always getting on my bike when I lived in Colorado and riding 40, 50 miles and then going to a yoga class.
That was my go-to. Well, that doesn’t work here anymore. I’ve had to adapt to that, which is hard. You know, I miss it. But that’s not an excuse. You know, having to learn to make time to get out and swim every day. And oh my gosh, if I can just hover over a sea turtle, watching that sea turtle, you know, eat the grass or whatever, just move, for me that is like bliss.
It’s just calming. Relaxes everything in my body. Just talking about it, I feel relaxed. So, having to, you know, find some new ways to create those self-interventions for me and practice my self-care. The other thing, really, is developing those routines that I start off first thing in the morning.
Because like so many of us, no matter what your job is and where you’re doing it, you know, usually we get up in the morning, and then we’re off to the races. And unless we take some time right up front, that time doesn’t come around again. So, if I can create these rituals that I truly stick to and I set myself up to be successful for the night before, then I find that it’s so much easier just to fall into them instead of finding excuses.
And you know, there’s always an excuse, I mean, I can come up with any excuse ever not to do these things. I’m like an expert at doing that. So, you know, just really coming up with these rituals and things that I know I’m going to be successful at and I’m going to feel so much better and my life is going to be better, people around me are going to feel better.
And it just starts with me and how I start my day. My choices that I make first thing when I wake up, like the affirmations, you know, like swimming, like stretching, like doing all of those things, like a great cup of coffee that my husband makes me every morning. I tell you, that makes my day. It makes my day. So, simple things all strung together, when at the end of the day, make a big difference.
Emily Bennett 34:20
I love that, Kim. I am also a morning person, self-care ritual, routine person. I’ve always been a morning person, so this may be something that isn’t great for maybe people that are not morning people. Morning lark versus a late night owl, right? I love to get up before I’m supposed to or need to, to get ready for the day.
I love to have quiet time and enjoy that nice cup of coffee. Let the dogs out, watch them run around. And then come in. I do have a routine of meditation in the morning. And I do have a routine of yoga in the morning. I would be remiss to say that music doesn’t always cheer me up, too, when I need it.
It’s a wonderful, wonderful intervention, to have some music, or a walk, or even just a delicious cup of herbal tea in the afternoon. I think it’s just the little things. I think, for me, tuning into the seasons, and having rituals that maybe are even seasonal. Such as, in fall, I want things that tastes like cinnamon, or, you know, everyone loves pumpkin spice.
Or at Christmas time, things that you have done as a child that you get to share with your kids or your family — decorating the Christmas tree. All those little things. Just finding joy in those things. I think sometimes you can get caught up in the work of some of those routines and some of the… even with your family or, you know, with your siblings, if you are feeling like you’re responsible for something.
But taking a minute to remember that these things are supposed to be fun, and finding the joy in those things. And taking a minute to laugh at yourself. And when you find yourself getting stressed out because something isn’t perfect, just the way you envisioned it would be, to really think about that.
And think about: what’s the point in that? You’re losing the joy. So, I mean, I think self-care takes on so many different elements of our life. And it really is just being able to laugh at yourself, being able to not take it all so seriously, and just have fun. I’m a perfectionist, so for me that’s been kind of a big deal.
Rosie Dominia 36:51
Oh, Emily, I hear you. I am a recovering perfectionist. I mean, it’s one of those things, it’s hard to, you know, undo. And you have to really… you’re right, it’s finding… it’s really finding the joy in those moments. I love using that word. That’s one of my words for 2022 is, you know… an affirmation I say in regards to joy is: I live with inner joy.
That’s something I remind myself in a moment of stress. I also want to add on to, I mean, I just wanna acknowledge that, you know, there are people… this is not about… self-care is not just, you know, making these appointments for massages, and for spas, and to doing those different kinds of things, which those are great.
But I think it’s a circumstantial type of practice, right? And some folks, depending on where they are with their own needs, in regards to supporting family and supporting their children, I mean, I can go on a different tangent here, but just acknowledging, too, that you don’t have to follow someone else’s way of doing self-care, right?
It’s really asking you, and just bringing it back to what Emily said, is what do you find joy in doing? Even if it’s the smallest thing of giving someone a hug — that could be a form of self-care — to reminding yourself of who you are. Pausing. Just being silent with yourself. I mean, those are ways to take care of yourself, as well.
Nicole Vienneau 38:11
And I’ve got to jump in on the bandwagon here. I gotta jump in and share some of my self-care practices, too, because I suffered from burnout. I left the bedside in Nursing. I took a job at the local YMCA, because I was so burned out and had no clue that I was burned out. I thought I was taking care of myself.
I was working out every day, I was eating well. But I didn’t see that I had all of these other facets that were really important to love and nurture, as well. Like my mind, my spirituality, my environment, my relationships. And those things had fallen away and became less of a priority.
And I thought that movement and food were the things that were taking care of me. I didn’t know anything about burnout, or self-care, or any of that stuff, really, until I took the Nurse Coaching program. And, you know, really opened my eyes to a lot of things. And then I began… just started exploring stuff.
I never meditated before in my life. I did yoga, but I did yoga. Right? I just practiced the poses and worked as hard as I possibly could because it was the physical side. But I didn’t realize there was this mental side, this aspect that I really needed to nurture. I really did, I needed to, yes, but I realized its importance.
And so now I’ve… you know, I continue to explore. I feel this is a journey, a lifelong journey of taking care, of protecting my own inner peace. And an example I love, that I do, is cooking. I love to cook and my husband always says, “Oh, but that’s so much work, that’s so much work.”
But for me, taking time to open up a clove of garlic, and smell the scent off of the garlic as I’m chopping, and taking the wrapping off the piece of the clove of garlic is… it’s just like a sensory experience for me. And so I savor that, and I enjoy chopping and chopping and chopping. Now, an onion, not so much, but a garlic, yes.
But those kinds of… that kind of thing, where I feel like I’m being fully present in the experiences. Another thing I love to do is lift weights. I like to lift a heavy thing. And I like that. And I enjoy like even carrying the big water bottles into the house. Often people will come rush over to see, you know, can I help you? And I say no.
I want to feel the weight of that, and know that I am strong enough to continue to do that and enjoy that in my own body and how I feel in it. And then one other thing I love to also do is get outside. I love to be outside. And, you know, I was latching on to some of the things that you were saying, Kim.
I was imagining floating over the sea turtle. You know, and just being outside in nature and enjoying the smell and the wind and the sun and the flowers. I’m so amazed at nature, that Mother Nature brings us such beauty and joy for us to visualize and use our senses with. So, I had to jump in, I had to share.
Kim Richards 41:47
Those are all great things, Nicole. I mean, they’re awesome. And I think, you know, all of that… the other side… and I don’t know if you ladies have experienced this, but there’s times when, I mean, I love to be outside, I love to, you know, workout, whatever, all that stuff.
But sometimes idle time and alone time is really what I need more than to continue to push, push, push through a time where I just don’t feel like doing a darn thing. And I’ve had to give myself… that’s hard for me to do. Because you know, I mean, our society, think about it, you know, everybody’s supposed to be crazy busy all the time.
Well, what does crazy busy mean? I mean, you know, it’s not a badge of honor. We’re damaging ourselves when we’re constantly “crazy busy”. And idle time is so important to just desensitize. Just to… like, I’ll go down into a dark room and just put my legs up the wall, and just breathe, and just like put my hand on my heart and my belly and try and reconnect for 15 minutes.
It completely changes the way I feel when I leave. You know, just being able to just stop all the noise and the commotion and the demands and just my own sense of having to check this off, and check this off, and check this off, and then I do this, and then I do that. Just stop. Just stop and let go. And just be. And that’s okay. And that’s exactly what I need in that moment.
Rosie Dominia 43:39
Oh, I love that you said that, Kim. The word I thought of when you said that, when you said stop, is to surrender. Like surrendering to your own needs and pausing. Which, yes, as a culture, being busy means you’re doing great, right? It’s interesting. It’s interesting to see that, I mean, and I feel that it is unfortunately getting worse.
But what does that mean to surrender to self-care for yourself? Right? I’m just gonna leave that question out there because I don’t know how to answer it sometimes either. It is, it is hard sometimes to stop, because sometimes you might feel like you’re failing someone else.
Or you could be failing your patients. You’re failing your team if you call out sick, but you’re not also feeling well. I’ll go back to what I said earlier in the podcast of your drive for doing all these things does come from your health. Your own well, or your own cup being full. Emily had used that analogy.
So, I want to say, too, when it comes to self-care, I am much of an introvert. I love to be alone for some really deep healing. That’s just for me. Some people love to be around others. I have discovered for myself that being with my own thoughts and being silent when I’m alone is the most helpful.
Kim Richards 44:53
I agree. And Nicole can verify this. I mean, most people think of me as an extrovert, but I’ll tell you, there’s times when I don’t want to hear one more word that anyone is going to say. I really just want to be quiet. And I really just want to lie down in the dark, alone.
And that, to me, is the best thing I could possibly do, and that just reinvigorates me. And that’s what I need. And that’s been a new thing for me to learn. And to be vulnerable to that, which I think is another part of, you know, practicing self-care, is to embrace your vulnerability instead of us running around like we’re, you know, superheroes.
We’re people. We’re human. We get exhausted, we get tired, we get irritable, we get cranky, you know, we get dehydrated. And for sure, you know, we don’t go to the bathroom for 12 hours. I mean, what’s wrong with that? Being vulnerable and being open enough to allow that possibility. You know, maybe I’m not at my 100% best today and that’s okay. It’s cool. Nobody is. It’s alright. Life goes on.
Rosie Dominia 46:18
I was thinking the same thing. Even if you were to stop for a second, life will move on. And it’s to understand, you know, what that really means, that you can say to yourself: okay, I can stop for today, and everything will be okay. And I love that, too. I tell myself that, too.
I’m not 100% today, and that’s okay, because that’s where I am. It’s not a permanent thing. I think that’s the one constant in life — things change. Your mood changes, your external circumstances can actually change at any minute, and how you adjust to that.
And one other thing I came up for myself for 2022 is to have flexibility and grace when I face difficult moments, and practicing that. That’s another story, right? Self-care is a practice. But recognizing that I don’t have to be perfect at all, because it’s not about achieving something.
And you mentioned the word perfection, Emily. I’m like: yep, that’s my brain. I mean, maybe like, in my early 20s, that’s what it was about for me, was achieving and making sure that I’d met all the criteria on a certain list. I mean, honestly, the concept of self-care didn’t come to me until probably about 2014, of what it really means to take a step back, to stop, to pause, to be mindful.
And as my first job — just to share a personal experience — my first medical director in my NP job looked at me one day and she goes, “Do you meditate, Rosie?” And I was like, “What do you mean? That’s not for me. I’m not one of those people. I don’t need that in my life.”
She just looked at me and she was like… and I think back to that, because that was such a different Rosie at that time, who was all about like getting things done. And I worked at the bedside, too. I was about meeting all the needs, passing the 8 A.M. meds, are they all showered? Are their meals there?
I mean, that was my brain. It was just like keep going to the next thing, to the next thing, to the next thing. And I didn’t realize how much I really wasn’t focused or how I didn’t bring self-care into my career. And that is a recent shift for me, as well, is how do you… and that’s a question, too: how do you bring self-care into what you do?
Emily Bennett 48:16
When I’m listening to you guys talk, I’m thinking about what good coaches we are. Because of course, if we were talking with someone who was running around like a chicken with their head cut off, who you could tell was just burning the candle at both ends, our question would be: so, what would happen if you stopped right now? Right?
What would happen to the world? Would it stop spinning if you were to take a break? You know, like, what do you think about that? And giving permission to take a break. Giving permission to do nothing. And it’s so hard to do nothing. But then it turns out to be such a valuable…. you get such great results from that, right? Because then you’re reinvigorated.
Nicole Vienneau 49:08
That reminds me of when we started the podcast. Well, our listeners don’t know what happened before we started the podcast, where we all sat together in silence and reconnected to our own energies, and connected to each other’s energy because of that.
And every podcast I always start with: “Now, before we start the podcast, let’s take three deep breaths in and out together so that we can slow down and connect.” So amazing.
Man, I can’t believe that our time has already flown by.
Before we go, though, I have to open up for one last question. This question is: if you were to open up your heart to our listeners today, what would you like to share from your heart about self-care? And I’ll just leave some space here for just a moment as you dive into your hearts.
Kim Richards 50:26
I think one thing I’ve had to learn over the years is that honoring myself first is the best thing I can do for those around me, including myself. So this notion that self-care is selfish is total crap. When I honor myself, it’s amazing how the energy around me shifts. And it’s amazing how people start to want to listen and open up more than they would have if I continue to push, push, push, push, push.
Remembering to be vulnerable, and to keep my heart open for possibilities, for opportunities to be able to share my love, and be able to share my compassion with those around me, really starts with the way I share my love and compassion for myself.
Emily Bennett 51:39
I love that, Kim. I feel like this question carries so much weight. Nicole asking us what is coming from our heart, right? And so it’s coming from a place of love. And I think that taking the time to honor yourself — I think it echoes a lot what Kim was saying — you know, taking the time to honor yourself, respecting yourself shows that you have respect for other people.
And it gives you the space and the room to be more patient, to be more humble, to be more grateful, to be more intuitive towards other people’s needs. Because you have that sense of curiosity, and you have that sense of interest in them, because you’ve taken the time for yourself.
So, it isn’t selfish. It’s a gift — a gift that you can share and then you become connected with the community. It starts with you. And you’re the only one that can make the world be the way you want it to be. And that starts with self-care.
Rosie Dominia 53:07
Yeah, I’m going to add on to what Kim and Emily said. I mean, I fully, fully agree with them. This is a heavy, heavy but very deep question to ask. So, I really had to pause for a moment and just ask my heart. What would I say to someone if someone asked? How do I respond to this question?
And, you know, I would like to remind any listener who’s listening to any of this, I mean, who you are is valuable. All of us have a gift. And it would be a shame if you couldn’t share that gift in an authentic, caring and loving way, coming from that place where your cup is full.
I think about what self-care means, and I think of self-love. It’s loving who you are. And yes, you can, from that place, you can be there for others, you can be compassionate and be open. But also, I think about when you come from that full place, you can’t control anyone’s reaction or how they will treat you, but you can control yourself and how you navigate through that.
And so, coming from that place where you feel whole, the response is going to be very different. And creating that space to even navigate in your own brain. I like to call it the third space. I know we talk about third spacing when it comes to edema, but in terms of that third space, I call that more of like the objective space. Looking at yourself from a third person point of view. Looking at yourself from a place of equanimity.
That’s the word I wanted to bring up earlier, is how do you face conflict with neutrality? And that is… it’s an art. It takes time. It takes practice. I think of the words forgiveness. You’re not alone in this. Talk to friends, reach for support if you don’t know how to take care of yourself or if you find yourself in some kind of mental or emotional rut that you can’t seem to get out of.
Because I can guarantee you’re not alone in feeling that way. I think all of us, whether you’re a Nurse, you’re a doctor, you’re a Nurse’s assistant, CNA, LPN, I mean, all the above, we all go through periods that are difficult. We all tend to forget ourselves in this profession.
So, where you find your cup, or where you find the gas for your car, whether it’s a Chevron or a Shell, doesn’t matter. Find what those resources are for you. Find them and try them on like a sweater, like finding an outfit every day. If the first one doesn’t fit, that’s okay. Go to another rack and look for a different style, look for a different color, and sit with it for a little bit.
Even if it doesn’t work the first time or even if you had an ounce of relief from it, keep practicing it. It is all a practice. It all comes back to who you are and how valuable you find yourself. I mean, yes, that is a deeper question. But you are, I’m gonna remind you, you are valuable. So, if you’re listening, you are valuable, you are worthy, and you are loved.
Nicole Vienneau 56:04
Ah, I just had to take a deep breath to absorb all of this incredibly positive, inspiring, loving, caring energy that you each have shared here today on this podcast with our listeners, all of the listeners in the future. And I want to thank each of you for coming on our podcast today. I want to share with our listeners, to take some of this energy with you. And have an amazing day.
And of course, I’m going to share all of the contact information for each of our guests on our podcast notes, and some of the resources that you all shared, as well. So, I’ll just close the podcast with one final question, and that is: share one word you’re feeling right now. Rosie?
Rosie Dominia 56:57
Nicole Vienneau 56:59
Emily Bennett 57:00
Oh, you stole my word. Just kidding. I’m filled with love.
Nicole Vienneau 57:08
Kim Richards 57:10
Oh, you guys stole my words! Oh, wow.
Emily Bennett 57:16
Kim Richards 57:18
You know, oh God, if it’s just left to one word, it would be joy. Yeah, joy.
Nicole Vienneau 57:29
I feel inspired. Alright, so I’ll have you all come off mute to say your goodbyes.
Emily Bennett 57:38
Bye! Thank you!
Kim Richards 57:40
Bye, thank you so much!
Rosie Dominia 57:41
Thanks for listening!
Nicole Vienneau 57:43
Bye-bye, everyone. ‘Til next time.
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