Taming stress with mindfulness
A good idea does not have to be elaborate, as Yvette Yeo Yin Hui, Staff Nurse, Sengkang General Hospital (SKH), proves with her “Mindfulness Jar” workshop.
Every day, thousands of thoughts run through our minds but for operating theatre nurses like Yvette, the job requires their full attention. The practice of mindfulness is critical to help them stay focused, especially during long surgeries that require precision. Yvette came up with the idea of setting up a workshop to guide colleagues in the making of their own mindfulness jars.
The workshop, held in December 2020 in SKH, saw Yvette instructing a small group of colleagues on how to piece together their own mindfulness jars with glass jars, glue, glitter, food colouring and water. Akin to a snow globe, the mindfulness jar allows the nurses to observe how the glitter gently settles at the bottom of the jar — a powerful visual metaphor for how “we achieve greater clarity of mind once our thoughts and feelings settle”. The session was very well received, with one of her colleagues commenting that the mindfulness jars make good Christmas gifts.
Yvette’s own mindfulness jar sits in her locker, ready to provide her with some calming respite whenever the need arises. One of the upsides of the workshop was also the sense of camaraderie fostered between the participants.
Fostering mental resilience in nurses
With almost two decades of nursing experience under her belt, Hartini Binte Osman, Senior Nurse Manager, Singapore General Hospital, understands first-hand the importance of self-care.
“As nurses, we are taught to care for others but after a long and demanding shift, we often forget to care for ourselves,” said Hartini, adding that taking time to care for oneself can go a long way in ensuring physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
As one of the faculty members of Team Transforming Healthcare through Resilience, Innovation, Values and Excellence (THRIVE), a SingHealth initiative to foster joy at work, Hartini attended a three-day “Resilience in Academic Medicine Train the Trainer” workshop. After the training, she conducted her first Team THRIVE workshop that focused on positive psychology as well as the importance of self and team resilience.
She also conducted a one-hour sharing session with 25 nursing leaders covering a range of topics, which included burnout in healthcare, positive psychology tools, and self-care tips. She also shared with participants the peer-support networks and resilience programmes available to them.
For Hartini, her workshop is one way to “teach nurses how to care for themselves and lead others to do the same”. Hartini hopes to reach out to all Senior Nurse Managers, Nurse Clinicians and Assistant Nurse Clinicians through subsequent workshops by the end of this year.
By imparting her knowledge of self-care to others, Hartini has also gained valuable lessons herself, including a deeper understanding of the link between resilience and self-care.
HARTINI’S TIPS ON OVERCOMING BURNOUT• Know your purpose – it will give you perspective and help you bounce back from challenging times• Practise positive psychology – even small accomplishments, such as making someone smile, can make you feel good about yourself• Know when to take time off – go for a walk, pick up a hobby, or spend time with family and friends• Don’t be so hard on yourself – allow yourself time to grieve, then pick yourself up and see how to make things better
For more inspiring stories of our nurses, read the 2021 Singapore Health Special Nursing Issue, produced in conjunction with Nurses’ Day.
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