Cultivating Calm in the Chaos
Posted on September 16, 2020
Ask the Expert
At work and in our personal lives, there are numerous stressors that can send our nervous system into overdrive— intense meetings, kids, relationships, financial obligations, just to name a few. We all know the feeling of days that just don’t seem to go as planned. One spilled cup of coffee in the morning, the anticipation of a difficult meeting, and other worries can snowball into what seems like a day of chaos.
With so many hectic days and things that come at us that are beyond our control, it may surprise you to learn that the most common source of stress is ourselves. Our own internal self-worry and fear of the unknown is usually the root of our physical and emotional symptoms of stress.
While working with patients or behind the scenes, it’s important that we are able to stay calm and collected during moments of chaos, so we can better see the bigger picture, hone in on what needs to be done, and give our patients and families the support they need during their difficult time. When we’re calm, we are better able to recognize issues and respond appropriately.
As a former ICU, ER, and urgent care nurse, I became familiar with fast-paced environments and learned how to cope during chaotic situations. I often apply the lessons and experiences I’ve gained from dealing with stressful situations to my work at Islands Hospice.
Here are a few tricks and tips I have for cultivating calm amidst chaos:
- Start your morning on the right foot. Develop a calm and peaceful morning routine that allows you to take a moment to get yourself in the right frame of mind before your day begins.
- Respond rather than react. A reaction is often instinctual, hasty and sometimes tense or aggressive. A response is more thought out and involves exploring options or outcomes. By responding instead of reacting you can de-escalate tense or stressful situations.
- Be present in the moment. When things feel disorderly, take time to connect with others around you and offer undivided attention.
- Show empathy and compassion towards others. When you show empathy and compassion, it helps others with responding in ways that offer solutions to difficult situations.
Stress means different things to different people, and everyone may have their own tricks for coping with life’s challenges. By staying cool when life throws wrenches in our days, we are better able to improve patient care, take care of ourselves, and provide support to each other.