Avoid Burnout! Take a Mindfulness Class!


What is the best reason to take a mindfulness or meditation course? Self-care! How many of us make choices in our daily lives that put our own health and wellness first? While we stay busy doing the important work of taking care of our patients, we can often forget to take care of ourselvs. Oftentimes, in addition to perhaps not learning to value self-care as we were growing up in our own families, we don't have strategies or the time-management skills to implement self-care. What is self-care? Self-care, as suggested by compassionfatigue.org, can include healthy lifestyle practices involving physical activity and healthy dietary habits, setting boundaries (saying "no"), having a healthy support system in place, organizing daily life to be proactive rather than reactive, reserving energy for worthy causes, and creating balance in life. (Check out this link for a prior blog post on compassion fatigue!)

The truth is, healthcare providers are stressed and burnout is common. So how does taking a course in mindfulness benefit the health care provider? Recent research including a university center based mindfulness-based stress reduction course was implemented with 93 providers including physicians, nurses, psychologists, and social workers. The training involved 8 weeks of 2.5 hour classes in addition to a seven hour retreat. Participants were instructed in mindfulness practices including a body scan, mindful movement, walking and sitting meditations, and were involved in discussions in how to apply mindfulness practices in the work setting. Outcomes included the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the SF-12. Results of the training, which was offered 11 times over a 6 year period, included improved scores relating to burnout and mental well-being.

But where can you take a course to learn valuable self-care tools? First up, there's the Meditation and Pain Neuroscience continuing education course happening at the beginning of next month. Then there is the Mindfulness-based Biopsychosocial Approach to the Treatment of Chronic Pain taking place in November in Seattle! Join us as we spread the word about how to not only take good care of your patients, but also of yourself.

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