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Your well-being matters

“Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.”– Parker J. Palmer

Nurses are responsible for maintaining their health.  They seek help if their health affects their ability to practice safely[i]

Your health can affect the care you provide to your patients. Research shows that physical and emotional fatigue can reduce your cognitive functioning including decision-making, memory and attention[ii]. Our personal and professional lives will have ups and downs. It’s important to pause and reflect on whether you feel your physical or mental health is impacting the care you are providing. If it is, it might be time for self-care or to seek professional help.

Some guiding questions to help you reflect include:

  • What are the current stressors in my life?
  • What strategies can I implement to help cope with these stressors?
  • Am I taking care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally?
  • How do I currently do to manage stress? Is it effective?

Nurses taking care of themselves not only benefits patients, it benefits nurses with increased job and life satisfaction, relaxation and better physical health[iii].

Strategies to manage stress Include: Mindfulness interventions. You can access a variety of information, including free online apps to guide mindfulness, breathing exercises and meditation.

  • Building stronger links with your colleagues so you can better support and rely on one another. For example, consider working with your colleagues to develop a self-care education session that can be offered over lunch.
  • Building your social supports.
  • Signing up for workshops such as a stress management workshop.
  • Making changes that would give you the work/life balance you need.
  • Making changes to your diet and physical activity to help cope with stress.
  • Reaching out for counselling, therapy or speaking to your primary care provider to get support recommendations.
  • Approaching the Nurse’s Health Program, a new voluntary program that focuses on early identification and referral for treatment of mental health and/or substance use disorders.

Download and print: Self-care fact sheet



[i] College of Nurses of Ontario, (2019). Code of Conduct. Retrieved from https://www.cno.org/codeofconduct

[ii] Hume, L. (2018). An investment in staff well-being. Nursing Management, 49(12), 9-11

[iii] Johnson, J., Hall, L. H., Berzins, K., Baker, J., Melling, K., & Thompson, C. (2018). Mental healthcare staff well-being and burnout: A narrative review of trends, causes, implications, and recommendations for future interventions. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 27(1), 20-32. 
Lee, T. S. H., Tzeng, W. C., & Chiang, H. H. (2019). Impact of Coping Strategies on Nurses' Well‐Being and Practice. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 51(2), 195-204.  
Page last reviewed March 02, 2020