One of the most powerful tools I use to combat the stress of nursing or the stress of life is to write a letter to God. This is NOT a thank you letter to God. This is not a sweet letter stating how I know God is taking care of me. This is actually the opposite. This is questioning what the heck God is doing! This is hashing out the problem with God. This is an emotional plea about what to do next. And this is a very power tool!
The God letter is a very powerful tool because it leads me to flush out exactly what I need help with. Once I see the areas that I need help in, I can ask God to PROVIDE me with the help I need.
If I'm struggling with stress at work, I'll make requests such as:
I am peaceful at work.
I am calm at work.
I am focused at work.
I separate myself from stress at work.
I practice good self care at work.
I have all the resources I need to take care of my patients at work.
I leave work on time.
I have all the skills I need to take good care of my patients.
I have all the help I need at work to take care of my patient.
I have a highly qualified support team always available to help me take care of my patients.
I don't know about you but those are just some of the things that I worry about and that cause me stress in nursing. The thought of having to do it all alone is terrifying. The thought that I won't have enough help to take good care of my patients is frustrating. The thought that I may be able to "do it all" but it will cost me some overtime is infuriating. The thought that I get to go home (late) and wake up early and do it all over again is sometimes just too much to handle.
All those fearful thoughts can lead to depression and anxiety. It's living in the future and the future is not good. It's living in the future and I'm all alone. It's living in the future and there's just not enough of anything. Not a good thinking pattern to get into.
But when I take those specific fears and ask for God (or the universe, or Higher Power, or whoever) to provide for me, I instantly feel a sense of relief. That somehow, some way I'm NOT alone and that there is enough for me. And furthermore, figuring out how God is going to fix the problem or how he's going to provide what I'm asking for is NONE of my business. I don't have to know how he's gonna do it all. I just have to ask. Remembering to put my requests in the present tense (as if they have already happened) is key. It's a powerful form of prayer and it changes things.
In fact the situation may not change right away, but somehow, some way I change. I start relying on infinite God rather than my finite self. I'm not alone and I don't have to make everything happen on my own. I have a provider and a protector. It's all gonna be okay. The nursing stress eases up a little and that's the whole point.
Here's some examples of how God has provided for me recently:
**For months, my schedule requests have all been honored.
**The E.T. nurse showed up at just the right time to do a major dressing change for me.
**Some very difficult supplies (only used in the ICU) were made available to my VIP med/surg patient and brought to his bedside by the ICU nurse educator.
**I got a 4.7% pay raise (annual review).
**I had a bright student nurse intern for several weeks who lightened my workload.
**I haven't missed a break in months.
**Overtime, if any, is minimal (a few minutes, as opposed to hours).
**The pharmacy is my buddy. It recently took less than 3 minutes to receive the med I was requesting.
Are they all coincidences? I choose not to believe so AND my stress level has gone down incredibly because of my belief...and that's the whole point. The mere act of asking for help from an infinite source of supply has filled me with hope. And as far as I'm concerned, the internal and the external results speak for themselves.
Can you imagine if all nurses starting asking for help from their spiritual supplier? The patients would benefit. The nurses would benefit. Everybody wins!
I learned how to ask here.