Guest: Sam Eddy
Tags: Burnout, fatigue, mental health
Soundcloud: Listen to Episode 31
Have you started 2022 feeling you are in survival mode? Was your longed-for leave cancelled? Are you working too many hours? Are you — like many — sapped of energy, depleted, and running on empty? Do you feel cooked?
You are not alone. Unfortunately, this is exactly how many nurses and midwives feel.
This podcast may help you to shift gears, refocus on your own health and make intentional changes to move into thrive mode!
Two years into this brutal pandemic, many nurses and midwives are exhausted, fatigued and wondering how much they have left in their energy tank. We are concerned about the impact on the health of nurses and midwives. We’ve recorded this podcast to offer you support, health tips and hope.
Two years ago, we spoke to Sam Eddy, Mental Health First Aider, experienced workplace coach and educator on Episode 15 of the podcast. We discussed stress management in times of crisis. That was in the early months of the pandemic and now feels like a lifetime ago.
Given the popularity of the episode we asked Sam back to offer his support and tell us about his new training program From Survive to Thrive, a 12-week program developed with Mental Health Nurse Sarah. This is a self-paced online study program filled with emerging scientific concepts to empower you with the knowledge and skills to move beyond merely surviving and into thriving in your career, home life and for your mental and physical health.
Do you think you could benefit from learning how to go from Survive to Thrive? We have teamed up with Sam to offer two people the chance to win access to the 12-week course. Find out how to enter on our Facebook or Instagram. Entries close 28 March 2022, 8:59am.
We discuss the importance of listening to your body and mind and taking affirmative action to provide refocus and attention to your health and wellbeing because YOUR HEALTH MATTERS!
We often hear from nurses and midwives that they feel drained and don’t know how to refuel. The tips in this podcast aim to assist you to top your energy levels, refocus your health, establish boundaries that support your wellbeing and work towards thriving in 2022.
We hope this podcast supports you to take a moment to reconnect with your health and wellbeing and make it a priority. If you’d like to talk, take a minute to reach out for support — give Nurse & Midwife Support a call on 1800 667 877.
Your health REALLY does matter!
Mark Aitken RN
I am an experienced workplace trainer, coach and educator and have a Master of Science (Psychology) from the University of East London, trained with No Panic (NHS funded UK not for profit) helping clients manage anxiety and related disorders. I am also a qualified Mental Health First Aider.
For 15 years I worked as a senior marketing executive in banking and financial services in Australia and Europe in both large institutions and start-up Fintech companies focusing on digital innovation, brand and thought leadership.
Client work: KPMG | Asahi Schweppes | Deloitte | NAB | Westpac | Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) | Mitchell Shire Council | Helena Laboratories | Nurse & Midwife Support | Future Fund | Benetas | Energy & Water Ombudsman
Educator | Speaker | Executive Coach Stress Management, Wellbeing & Career Confidence
Visit Sam Eddy's website
Mark Aitken [0:09] Welcome to the Nurse & Midwife Support podcast: Your Health Matters. I'm Mark Aitken, the podcast host. I'm the Stakeholder Engagement Manager with Nurse & Midwife Support, and I'm a registered nurse. Nurse & Midwife Support is the national support service for nurses, midwives and students. The service is anonymous, confidential and free, and you can call us anytime you need support. 1800-667-877, or contact us via the website: nmsupport.org.au.
Hello, and welcome to Your Health Matters podcast. I'm Mark Aitken, the host of the podcast, and my guest today is somebody well-known to the listeners of the Your Health Matters podcast, Sam Eddy. Hi, Sam, and welcome back.
Sam Eddy [0:46] Thanks so much, Mark. It's great to be here as always, and really lovely to be back on the podcast again with you.
Mark Aitken [1:12] Now you'll remember Sam on Episode 30 of the Your Health Matters podcast. We spoke in 2020 in March, right at the beginning of this prolonged pandemic, about stress and stress management and it's one of the most downloaded podcasts that we have. So it's terrific to have you back as a guest Sam, and we're looking forward to you sharing your wisdom with us.
Now just to remind you, Sam is a Mental Health First Aider, experienced workplace trainer, coach and educator and has a Masters of Psychology. Today we're going to talk about Sam's latest offering, an online course designed to assist you to shift from survive mode to thrive mode, and it's called 'From Survive to Thrive'. It's a 12 week, self-paced online course focusing on burnout prevention and recovery to help people thrive.
Sam, I couldn't think of a better topic to talk about. We're recording this on the 21st of January 2022, when much of the country is being overwhelmed by the Omicron variant and it's challenging people in so many ways. Many nurses and midwives are experiencing extreme exhaustion, fatigue, moral distress, anxiety, depression, and are running on empty. So it's vitally important that we provide information to support your health and wellbeing, and that you actually take affirmative action to provide some focus and attention to your health and wellbeing, because the risk of not doing so could put you at risk of chronic health issues. And none of us want to see nurses and midwives experiencing those things.
Sam, remind us why burnout prevention and recovery to help people to thrive is so important?
Sam Eddy [3:12] Well, what a tough situation we're all in, as you've just described. We talked almost two years ago at the start of the pandemic, not really knowing what to expect, but I suspect, Mark, we probably both knew that this stuff would be important. Stress reduction, burnout, prevention, and wellbeing would be part of how we all cope. I guess it's a bit of a paradox, isn't it? Because people are stretched perhaps like never before in healthcare and nurses, midwives in particular. So it can feel like a paradox: do I really have time to focus on my wellbeing and resilience?
I would argue that we just have to. We don't really have a choice, because as you rightly described, there is a cost, the body will eventually say no, and we will burn out at some point, if we're constantly burning the candle at both ends, whether it be at work or at home. There is just no getting around it. If anyone's heard me speak on this podcast previously or in other forums, you'll know that there is no getting around it, we need to put time and attention towards being well, to building that resilience.
I guess this is what this course is all about. That's why I've done it with my colleague and registered mental health nurse, Sarah Kavanagh. Hopefully she brings those real-world insights from the nursing world and she's doing a lot of work in triage for the ambulance service, so she's getting a real frontline view as well and we talk about that. But we have to put time and attention to looking at our practices, our habits, how we're feeling, what information we're absorbing, what we're doing, the simple things like taking breaks, we've got to have a holistic look at where our time, attention and energy is going in life to ensure that we're able to slow down, to disconnect, to relax, even when it feels hard.
I'm sure there's a lot of people potentially listening, Mark, maybe throwing things at the phone or the computer, if they're listening on the computer, going, "I don't have time for this, how can I possibly focus on it?" Our hearts go out to you, because we know it feels hard. But there is a cost if we don't. I'm here speaking to you as individuals primarily, trying to give you this opportunity that, you know, if we do even just shift a little bit of attention towards wellbeing and resilience, no matter what's going on around us, it can have really powerful effects over time. Does that make sense, Mark?
Mark Aitken [5:39] Yeah, complete sense, Sam. I completely agree with you that exhausted, tired, overwhelmed, busy, people might be listening to this thinking, "Yeah, that's all very well, but how the hell do I carve out time to focus on my health and wellbeing when I'm working 18 hour shifts and going above and beyond constantly?" But as we said, the cost of not doing that will have repercussions to your health and wellbeing and it could impact you with long-term chronic health issues.
We know that many nurses and midwives are dealing with long COVID, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, moral distress, anxiety and depression, just to list a few. We know that the pandemic two years in has negatively impacted the health and wellbeing of many nurses and midwives. But the cost of not acting immediately to refocus yourself in 2022 onto your health and wellbeing could be detrimental. So: a real call to action today. The Nurse & Midwife Support tagline, 'Your Health Matters' really resonates for you now more than ever. Please connect with that message, Your Health Matters, take your health and wellbeing by the horns, and do something intentional, even if it's a small thing to improve your health and wellbeing. Sam's going to share some tips and strategies to be able to do that.
Sam, I'll get you to talk about your course and how it can support the health and wellbeing of nurses and midwives. Perhaps some take-homes in relation to, look, if I've only got, you know, five or ten minutes in my day to focus on my health and wellbeing, what is something that I could do that could actually help to improve my health and wellbeing?
Sam Eddy [7:35] Maybe I'll start with the tips if you like, if that's of use, Mark. I think, if you're in 'red zone'...I've talked about the stress temperature check before, and that's also included as part of this course, in more detail. But if we're finding ourselves in red zone now, stress temperature has been hiked up for all the reasons we've just described, and probably everyday challenges [as well]. Home schooling, constantly wearing PPE, all the things that just add [to] or spike our stress temperature, then we just have to find little ways to slow down. If you drive to work, maybe it's just pausing in your car, closing your eyes, doing some box breathing, some slow, deep breaths before you head into work. Making sure you're getting out for five minutes. You might have to think about pushing back gently at work to carve this time out. It might be making sure you're going for a walk, getting outside, going for a run. Whatever are those anchors, those little things that you know you need to just disconnect. It's not going to fix everything, those things on their own don't necessarily prevent burnout. But if you're in a particularly high-stress state, we must find time and it must be every day. Even if it's just 10 minutes, ideally half an hour or an hour, to really start to slow things down, to really calm the nervous system down, calm that flight or fight.
That's just a starting point. But what I would say around this course and the reason why Sarah and I wanted to put this together...and I know Mark, you're aligned to this sort of thinking...is that if we want to make fundamental change over time...perhaps we've been close to burnout before, pre-COVID. Mark, I know you know this as well, nurses and midwives [were] experiencing a lot of burnout anyway before the pandemic. We have to try and cultivate new practices and the only way we can do it is dedicating time to it. This course is designed to take you on that complete journey from survival...a lot of us are feeling like we're in survival mode at the moment. Why is it that we get there? A lot of people experience survival, they know what it feels like on one level, but we never really understand why. Why is it I get to survival mode, even pre-pandemic? It might feel more obvious now. But if we understand the 'why' then we're in a more powerful position to do something about it.
Sarah and I share our own journey of burnout, and share throughout the course the tools that we used to really help ourselves, but also how our clients move out of that state. That's how we start the course, but then we get straight into in the second module, 'What does it mean to thrive?' It might feel a bit weird, but we actually get people spending time thinking about what that thrive state would look like. Because we all know what it is. We argue on this that we all know what that thrive state is. It might feel a bit buried at the moment, a bit clouded. But even if we just spend five minutes trying to remind ourselves of what that is, it can give us a bit of hope. It can reignite the spark. Even if we're not fully sure how we're going to get there, we can start to reconnect with what that feels like and give ourselves hope that we can get back there, no matter really what's going on around us.
Does that make sense, Mark? In terms of how we frame the start, we talk about survival, what it means, why we get there. And then we jump straight into, okay, let's get a bit of hope. Let's set our intention for where we want to get to, from a 'thrive' perspective.
Mark Aitken [11:07] Most definitely, Sam. You've really picked up on a message that I'm very committed to putting out there this year, because we all need a dose of hope right now. Without being Pollyanna about it, I think it's really important that we have that hope to remind us that things will get better, and that life is going to be better, and we will get through this. I very much want to put that out there.
The great Brené Brown, who most people will know about, writer and social researcher, who's written five New York Times bestsellers, talks about this. I talk about this in the introduction to the newsletter—that's part of this podcast, Sam—and Brené Brown reminds us that 'we need hope like we need air. Hope is a function of struggle, we develop hope, not during the easy or comfortable times, but through adversity and discomfort.' That's exactly where many of us are at the moment. But hope is what will really get us through. Brené Brown argues we experience hope when we 1) have the ability to set realistic goals. 'I know where I want to go.' 2) We are able to figure out how to achieve these goals, including the ability to stay flexible, and develop alternative pathways. 'I know how to get there. I'm persistent, and I tolerate disappointment, and try new paths again and again. And 3) We have agency. We believe in ourselves. 'I can do this.'
So a key message of this podcast and this newsletter is [that] I hope, and I know Sam hopes for you, that 2022 is a year that you find the time and energy to focus on your health and wellbeing and you make it a priority to look after you so that you can not only survive, but you can thrive. Thanks very much for raising that important message of hope in all of this, Sam. I'm really advocating that people look at your course and have hope that there is support out there. There are ways to be able to get their health and wellbeing on track and to make it a priority.
Sam Eddy [13:34] Indeed. What great quotes and advice from Brené Brown. It's funny, as you sort of mentioned her name, I was thinking similar to what you read out in terms of her advice. All this stuff that we do; the podcasts we listen to, the books we read, the people we see, they're not for the good times. They're not for when it's easy. They're not for when life is going swimmingly and family is good. It feels good to read this stuff and maybe get confirmation of what we ideally want. But it's when the rubber hits the road, when it's at its hardest, which it is right now. I guess that's the benefit of this, is that it is hard right now, and so the motivation perhaps is there, even if we don't feel like we have the time. I guess I'm just appealing to everyone. Of course, often it's individuals that make up the collective, at work, at home, wherever.
Something I've encouraged people to think about is: what is your line in the sand with all of this? What are you prepared to do, and what are you ultimately not prepared to do? Even [in] pre-COVID or pre-pandemic times, I'd have this conversation in one-to-one coaching sessions, even just with people in the corporate world where they're not saving lives, but also of course with nurses and midwives. What is your line in the sand? What are you ultimately prepared to say yes to? Do you have one? Because if you don't...we could always be doing more work, home life, it's effectively a bottomless pit of stuff that we can be constantly doing. And if we're not clear on what our line in the sand is, or if we feel we're beholden to all the external environment for our internal wellbeing, then it does make this stuff very hard. That can be a tough concept to grasp. But at least I think, Mark, that's a really important one.
Mark Aitken [15:21] Yeah, I agree, Sam, and part of the messaging today, I think, is giving people tips and strategies to find their voice to be able to set those boundaries and create some awareness about not just jumping into the next task or activity because it needs to be done. But pausing and taking a moment to reflect and checking in with self. Am I okay? How am I? Am I extremely fatigued and exhausted? If the answer is that you are, then you need to say no to that next shift that needs to be done. You know, somebody's come in and saying, "Look, I know you are off tomorrow, but we're really short staffed, and I need you to do another shift." You're quite entitled, and in fact, it's your responsibility, if you're not feeling okay and you're fatigued, to say no to that next shift. I think that's what we need to empower nurses and midwives to do more of.
Now, you may feel like you're letting down your colleagues, you're letting down the people that you care for. But fundamentally, you need to be not letting down yourself. You need to be your best self to do the important work that you do, and to be able to show up in your life to be the best version of yourself. Again, channeling Brené Brown. Show up in a way that supports your best self and your health and wellbeing.
But I think there's another point here, Sam, and that's that the code of conduct for nurses and code of conduct for midwives requires us to be responsible for maintaining our own health and wellbeing. That code of conduct is part of us being registered nurses and midwives. It's on the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia website, 'Codes, Guidelines, Statements, Professional standards' and there's a link in the newsletter to that. 'Principle 7' is health and wellbeing under the domain 'Promote health and wellbeing', and it states that nurses and midwives have a responsibility to maintain their physical and mental health to practice safely and effectively. To promote health for nursing and midwifery practice, nurses and midwives must—so you know, not 'can'—that you MUST understand and promote the principles of public health, such as health promotion, activities and vaccination. And b) you must act to reduce the effect of fatigue and stress on your health and on your ability to provide safe care. So if you need another reason to focus on your health and wellbeing there it is in our code of conduct. Some reminders, Sam, for nurses and midwives to take their health and wellbeing by the horns and do something constructive to focus on it.
Sam Eddy [18:21] I was just gonna say, what a great reminder, and hopefully sometimes we need reasons don't we? A reason to prioritize ourselves and to me that sounds like something in black and white, a reason to look after ourselves and do it properly. I guess the course is really designed to do that. It's designed to help you take care of yourself and figure out why is it that I got into survival mode in the first place, if that's where you're at. I'm conscious that we're speaking to people at all ends of the journey, maybe you're actually doing okay, but it doesn't hurt to remind yourself of this stuff and know what you need to do to stay in that thrive state.
In Module 3, we talk about befriending stress and it reminded me of what you were talking about, Mark. If we're really learning to understand how the stress response works, looking to understand how the nervous system regulates the flight or fight response and affects our thinking, our emotions, how we feel and act day to day...if we're really starting to know what's normal, what's a good use of stress, when we can really channel energy positively or that nervous tension positively, then we can make more conscious choices in the situation that you just described, Mark. Knowing that look, I am busy, but I'm doing okay. I've got this 'busy but well' section on the stress temperature check-in, so I'm going to say yes to that extra shift because I know I've got capacity, because I'm really familiar with my nervous system. I'm the expert in terms of how I feel. Or, alternatively you might go "Look, you know what, I'm heading into red zone. I've put my hand up for an extra shift and that's actually it for the week."
So we can start to make conscious choices, but the only way we can do it is if we step out of ourselves regularly. We listen to this, we do this course, or you might have other resources that really help you step out of yourself so you can get perspective and go, how am I really feeling? Am I thriving as much as I think, or maybe Is there a bit of tension here that I'm not really acknowledging? Have I been pushing things down? Am I really letting things come up and really get in touch with how I'm feeling. I think that's really important, this idea of being your own expert in how stress and the busyness of life affects you. This is all about self-empowerment, so that you have the tools to really be your own expert in your own health, mental or physical.
Mark Aitken [20:46] Yes, Sam, a good reminder. You've talked about 'take your stress temperature', and we speak about that in our previous podcast, but I love that concept, Sam, and I talk about it often. Can you remind people of that?
Sam Eddy [21:02] Yeah, sure. The way that we've structured the course, is to do a bit of a deep dive, right, because often you listen to a podcast, you might go to a webinar or, and you get some good information. But the reason why we've done it over twelve weeks, six modules that you get access to every fortnight, is just to allow you to learn at a pace that you want, so you can really absorb this stuff at your leisure. You can pause, rewind, go back, and we encourage you to do that, just so the information really absorbs. The first three modules are really talking about the survival state, how stress works. The second three, which start with the stress temperature as you mentioned, are all about getting you on the front foot. Often we are on the back foot coming into this stuff, and we're going to give you the understanding of why in the first half.
The second part is getting on the front foot so you can really empower yourself. The stress temperature model is a great way to do it. I often say, wouldn't it be great if you could put the thermometer in the mouth when you get up in the morning, or plug yourself into some sort of barometer and see where your stress temperature is? Because if you knew where you were on the scale, if you're in that red zone, that stressed or burnout risk zone, you would make different choices, because it's an objective scale. The way we can do that is just by pausing regularly, slowing down, even before you get out of bed in the morning, and just do a quick body scan. Just scan your body mentally from your feet, to the top of your head and just assess the level, the amount of nervous tension in your system.
The body is often a good indicator of where we're at in terms of stress levels, because often the mind is saying, "Oh, no, no. I'm fine. I'm fine. I can do that shift." Whereas if we connect with the body, and it might take a few goes to really get in tune with yourself or attune to it, we can start to go, "Well, how am I really feeling? Is there adrenaline surges? Is the heart racing? Am I feeling tension in the stomach regularly? Is there tension in the neck, shoulders, are they up or down?" We can start to then get a bit of a guideline as to where we're at.
The way I've structured the stress, temperature is that in 'green zone' down the bottom, if you're calm, if your stress temperature's low, that's what I call mindful living. So I don't know if there's too many of us there at the moment, particularly those who have been in Melbourne and Victoria. But it's where we're not worried about tomorrow. We're not worried about all the things that might happen, we're not going over the past. We're able just to be present in the moment. That has a lovely calming effect on the nervous system. It'd be nice if we were there all the time, but the reality is, a lot of us even pre-COVID are busy but well.
There's a lot going on, right? In life, at home, at work, which we all know. But we might have enough outlets for the inevitable stressors that come along. We're sleeping okay. We're doing our exercise, we're being sensible with alcohol, or whatever it might be. We've got practices in place that allow us to compensate for the inevitable challenges. The problem is, and Mark, we've talked about this before, but it doesn't hurt to remind people...often we get tired, we get fatigued, we get a headache. Mark, I guess I'll just ask you: what do we often do that's not always helpful, when we get some warning signs?
Mark Aitken [24:25] We push through it. We just keep going, and we don't listen to it.
Sam Eddy [24:29] Exactly. I'm sure people listening can probably relate and this is not a self-blame exercise, by the way. This is just about really getting to know yourself and go right yeah, you know what? I'm on my feet all day and I push through, I take a headache tablet so I can push through. I might reach for the coffee, and I love coffee as much as the next person...but there's often things we're doing to override the warning signs. We're pushing ourselves, not deliberately, into that high red zone. If we can be aware of some of our habits, our practices, get in touch with our physical symptoms of stress, we're in a more powerful position to start to make more conscious choices and go, "You know what? I can feel the tension now. Heart's sort of palpitating a bit, need to slow down."
So we can use this stress temperature scale to really anchor ourselves back into the moment, to really step outside of ourselves. A lot of clients and a lot of nurses I've worked with in the past, they might even have the temperature chart on a staff room wall at work, or raise it in a meeting so everyone's checking in. It can be an individual tool or a collective tool to get a sense of the collective stress temperature as well. It has a number of different uses.
Mark Aitken [25:40] That's great, Sam, thanks for reminding us of that. I assume you go through all this in your course as well.
Sam Eddy [25:47] Yes, absolutely. I'm just giving you a taste of it. Hopefully it helps people even if they don't do the course. But absolutely, we go into it in more detail because the whole course is based on the principles of neuroplastic change. That means changing your brain, in terms of how it's wired, to form the habits that you want, and let go of some of the habits that you don't want. The principles of neuroplastic change mean that if you want to form a new habit, we've got to think about it. We've got to write it down, we've got to talk about it, because every time you're thinking about this new habit, maybe pushing back at work a little bit, it's activating that neural pathway in the brain. If you write it down, or share it with your partner. "You know what? I'm just gonna slow down at work." You're activating that same neural pathway again, and those synapses between those connections start to strengthen.
If you go back and listen to Module 1 again, or you then listen to Module 2, and you get reminded of the same message, you're starting to hardwire this new mindset. Because if we only listened to the podcast once, read the book, and then we go back to absorbing all the news and getting a bit obsessed with the numbers of COVID, or we're flogging ourselves at work, we're actually then hardwiring the other habits that we don't necessarily want. So the habits or the thought patterns, behaviors that we use over and over again, hardwire, and the ones that we don't use, which sometimes are the wellbeing ones, they fall away. That's why the process of change is hard. So yeah, this is all based on and designed around the principles of neuroplastic change to hopefully maximize the possibility that you can form the habits that you want with understanding and transparency.
Mark Aitken [27:29] Good advice, Sam. I think that's a really good reminder for us to take a bit of a pause here and remind our listeners that they can create moments of pause and awareness in their day and in their life whenever they choose to. In fact, building those into your life and your routine is probably vital to give yourself a circuit breaker, slow yourself down. What I'm talking about in the introduction to the newsletter, is build those pause moments in, take a deep breath and create awareness in the here and now. Acknowledge how you feel. Give yourself permission to feel however you are feeling. You don't need to be something you're not. It's okay not to be okay, and it's okay to be okay. If people around you are not okay, you don't have to be that way if you feel okay. Each of us, as Sam has stated, experience stress and pressure differently. But if you acknowledge you're not okay, please reach out for support. That's when Nurse & Midwife Support is vitally important. We're here to support you 24/7, no matter the issue you need to talk about. 1800-667-877, or via the website nmsupport.org.au.
Thanks, Sam, for that reminder. I'll just kind of circle back a bit if I may, Sam, something you said about 'box breathing'. Could you talk about box breathing? I know you have a short mindfulness activity on your website where you practice this?
Sam Eddy [29:12] We could do it now if you want, if that helps? Experience it and then talk about the benefits of it after, if that's of use, Mark?
Mark Aitken [29:21] Great, Sam. I think giving people an example of this, and a way that they can create these pause moments in their day and help to restore and refresh themselves is really useful for people.
Sam Eddy [29:36] Great, fantastic. Look, in the course we do this as well. We almost start off every module with a pause moment, and I love how you describe those pause moments. I almost felt calmer by the way you were talking then, myself. So we always do mindful activities like these to help really regulate the nervous system, calm down the flight or fight. So as everyone is sitting there, please get comfortable in your chair. This activity will only take a few minutes.
I'm just going to get you to breathe in to the count of four. Hold for the count of four. Breathe out for the count of four. And pause for the count of four. We might do, say, three cycles of that. If this is new to you, don't worry. If you get lost, or you can't hold for that long, just do your best. It's all about just attempting it even the attempt will have some benefit for you. We'll just do it three times or so.
So again, get comfortable in your chairs. Feel free to close your eyes for best effect. Just start by connecting with the body, feet, legs, stomach. Shoulders, neck, head and face. Perhaps noticing just your natural flow of air, your natural breath rhythm in and out of your nose and mouth. Giving yourself permission to take these few moments just for you. In a moment, I'll get you to breathe in for four, holding for four, out for four, and pausing for four. Breathing in 2, 3, 4. Hold 2, 3, 4. Out 2, 3, 4. Pause 2, 3, 4. In 2, 3, 4. Hold 2, 3, 4. Out 2, 3, 4. Pause 2, 3, 4. In 2, 3, 4. Hold 2, 3, 4. Out 2, 3, 4 and pause. Just letting your breath return back to its natural rhythm. If you had your eyes closed, just note your surroundings, thinking about the conversation we're having. When you're ready, just opening your eyes. How did you go with that, Mark?
Mark Aitken [32:42] Great, Sam. It's a really important reminder, always, to me that it's important to weave these moments into my day so that I...as I said, I create circuit breakers in my day and I don't just run from one task to the next. I'm mindfully living and working. A really useful stratergy, thanks Sam. I think something that nurses and midwives can incorporate into their day. I realise, working in PPE all day, it's not even easy to get a toilet break. But if the only time in your day is that you can go to the toilet and create one of these pause moments and do some box breathing, we would encourage you to do that. But, we'd love you to be more mindful than that, and we'd love it if you could perhaps turn it into a team activity at the beginning of handover, or throughout the shift when you might do a team huddle, so that you're actually, as a team, connecting mindfully and going to the next stage of your work a bit more mindfully.
I hope these are useful tips and strategies. We'd love to hear from you, what you might build into your day and life to support your health and wellbeing. So drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we're going to do something very exciting on this podcast. We're going to offer two free places to this course to support you to move from survive to thrive. If you tag us on social media, Facebook or Instagram, @nmsupportau, and what's your handle for those things, Sam?
Sam Eddy [34:30] Sure, it’s @openchangeau.
Mark Aitken [34:34] So, @nmsupportau or @openchangeau, if you tag both organisations into your post, why you would like to do the course, 'From Survive to Thrive', and there'll be two lucky people who will get to do this course for free. We want you to share this podcast with five of your nurse and midwifery friends, because we believe as many nurses and midwives as possible need to connect with this information. Thanks Sam.
Sam, I'm always very mindful of our graduate students and early career nurses, and indeed, some nurses and midwives have started their career in a pandemic. Two of my nieces have done that, they finished their degrees in 2019, did their grad years in 2020. All they've known in their career to date is working in a pandemic. So if you're a student or a graduate, we really want to say: we know it's tough for many. We support you, and we've got some great resources on the Nurse & Midwife Support website, to be able to support you. Visit the website at www.nmsupport.org.au, and put into the search engine ‘students and graduates’, you'll get some great resources.
But Sam, it's very important that people set health and wellbeing up, as you've said already, as a habit, and set goals and intentions. I'm advocating that all nurses and midwives, but particularly students and graduates, create really good early career habits in relation to their health and wellbeing, so that you make it a priority throughout your career. I don't want any more nurses and midwives to experience burnout, and making health and wellbeing an intention and a habit will support you to avoid burnout. Sam, do you have some further tips to support our students, graduates and early career nurses?
Sam Eddy [36:56] Yeah, sure. I think it's such a great point and how lovely that they've got Nurse & Midwife Support and all the resources and the phone line, to call upon. I think that will be such a great resource for them, or for anyone, really. To help as an anchor point to learn more, when they're encountering different stressful situations, whether it be with patients, clients or their own challenges, they've got this resource.
I guess the reason why we've developed this course...and of course, I'm completely biased and Sarah is too...Sarah, on one of the modules that we talked about, she talks about how she wishes she learned this stuff, she wishes that she found this package early on in her nursing career, because it steps you through the whole process of survival mode to thrive. What it means, why change is hard, the process of change and why it's difficult. Why people get stressed, why people are in survival mode. If you're starting out in your career, even if you're not experiencing stressed levels yourself, or you've had a relatively smooth ride, perhaps, you're going to encounter people in survival mode in your workplace.
This course will help you help them. Even if you can identify on a lesser level how the nervous system works, how your flight or fight response works, using the stress temperature check-in. Sarah uses this with her clients, and she's worked in the mental health space and wards for many years, and she will use the stress temperature check-in to help people step outside of themselves, to break their own cycles. To hopefully help create a bit more peace in the workplace, to push back with confidence.
I would encourage graduates and newly qualified, newly registered nurses and midwives to think about, well hang on, this is something that people go through, it's part of being human. Stress is not always bad. It can be really useful, but when do we know the difference? These are fundamental learnings I wish I had learned about, because everyone you encounter is there on some level or some spectrum of this journey. If we can see it and understand it, it's going to make our work a lot easier.
But also, we're going to encounter challenges. We can't get rid of suffering. We can't not encounter suffering. Eckhart Tolle, who wrote The Power of Now, says suffering is potentially one of our greatest teachers, as much as you wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy. We know that we're going to encounter challenges. I think it's in the final module, we talk about anticipating setbacks, anticipating roadblocks. And that will happen, no matter where we are in our career. If we can try and get a little bit comfortable with that, knowing things won't always go to plan, then we're on the front foot with this stuff. Hopefully it's a sum of all parts with this, that might help people get on the front foot and boost their knowledge, so that we're going into this world eyes wide open. Not just with that Pollyanna view that you might've mentioned earlier, Mark.
Mark Aitken [40:00] Great points, Sam. If you need a hand to work out your health and wellbeing goals and put a plan in place, feel free to call Nurse & Midwife Support, we're happy to support you through this process. As I said, we've got some great resources on our website. 1800-667-877, or check out the resources on our website, www.nmsupport.org.au.
Sam, you and I could talk about this important thing all day, health and wellbeing and its importance, but unfortunately we've come to the end of the podcast. Is there anything else about the course you would like to share, From Survive to Thrive? How do people access it, Sam, if they're looking to do it?
Sam Eddy [40:49] Sure. If you go to openchange.com.au, there's a tab with 'Survive to Thrive' and you can just sign up there. There is a cost involved, we can't get around it, but you can get a free preview. So if you just sign up and click via the 'free preview' button on the tab on my website, you can register for free and listen to the introduction podcast with Sarah and I, or module I should say. You get to know a bit about us, our backgrounds a bit more, and we describe exactly, in detail, similar to what I've talked about today, what it's all about. It goes for 40 minutes. I'm sure even if you don't do the course, you'll get some benefit from it. Our intention is to help as many people as possible. If you're keen to do it and you don't have the funds, it might be a bit cheeky but ask your employer to fund it for you. You get CPD points with it as well, so hopefully that will help with your professional development and registration requirements.
I won't pretend it's a quick 'Ten Tips to Fix Everything'. There is a lot of information around that, and tips and tools are very useful, but this is around fundamental change. If people are hitting burnout or they've been close to burnout for a long time, if they keep finding recurring challenges in life, they're unsure as to why they're still in survival mode after all these years, this is really about fundamental change. It does take time, and we encourage people to absorb at your own pace. We recommend 12 weeks, but it might take you three months, four months, and you can keep pausing and replaying the modules over and over. Using the tools, going away and practicing with the mindful tools that we give you quick access to as well. There's a workbook, so you can reflect right down, hopefully improve your learning, share with others, go on the journey. If we build up a bit of a community we might do live Q&As, to really help you apply a lot of the theories and the tools in the real world. But of course, Sarah and I share our own examples of burnout, but also how we apply these tools in the real world.
Hopefully that gives you a bit of an idea. We're really excited to do it, just because we felt that we wanted to put it all in one place. Often we only have small snippets of time to talk about this stuff and it does require an amount of time and attention to turn the ship around, so to speak, and make some fundamental changes, if that makes sense, Mark.
Mark Aitken [43:20] Certainly does, Sam. Thank you very much, you've been a great guest. Really appreciate your wisdom, your knowledge, your time, and indeed your support for nurses and midwives and Nurse & Midwife Support. You're a great advocate for the work we do, Sam, and we really do appreciate it. So, I encourage you to do that course, or access other resources that can support your health and wellbeing.
Finally, from me, thank you dear listener for everything you do to support the health and wellbeing of others. I hope that 2022 is a year that you find the time and energy to focus on your health and wellbeing and you make it a priority to look after yourself and to thrive. Our promise at Nurse & Midwife Support is that we will be here 24/7 to support you to do just that. Your health really does matter. Look after yourselves, and each other, and I'll speak to you next time.