There is more discussion these days on “mindfulness” as a way to alleviate burnout. A key component of mindfulness is the idea that one can consciously pause and be in the present moment, no matter how pressing the demands at the time.
The University of Virginia health center incorporated the idea of such a pause into their emergency department. After a difficult trauma or code, the staff stand quietly together for up to one minute. It gives them an opportunity to feel a sense of community, to grieve, be angry, or just empty out their minds before rushing off to the next emergency.
Academics and managers promoted mindfulness as a tool to build mental and emotional resilience among nurses and physicians to prevent burnout. We can’t usually change staffing schedules or stressors at work, but we can pause and create a moment dedicated to quieting the urge to go, go, go, and do, do, do. We can create a calm.
We can also pause, deep breathe, and create a calm before we get out of our car and enter our homes after work. For a few minutes, stop thinking about work, be mindful of the moment. Deep breathe, refresh, renew.