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Takeaways from Episode 19 of the Heart and Soul of Oncology Navigation Podcast: Loving Yourself

February 23, 2022 | AONN+ Blog
Featuring:
Mu Lin
Digital Content Writer
Amplity Health

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many nurse and patient navigators have seen a shift in their roles and responsibilities as they were transitioned from navigator roles to helping with frontline patient care. Stress and burnout have soared, and depression and mental distress have worsened among navigators as well as the entire healthcare community.

In this episode, Emily Gentry, BSN, RN, HON-ONN-CG, OCN, Senior Director of Education and Program Development, AONN+, and Monica Dean, HON-OPN-CG, Director of Patient Navigation Program Development, AONN+, talk about the importance of self-love and share some “lessons learned” for care practitioners that the current literature is highlighting: giving yourself grace, movement, mindfulness, meditation and breathwork, adequate sleep, and healthy diet and hydration.

Here are the key takeaways from this episode:

  1. Cultivate positive self-esteem and act the same way towards yourself when you experience a difficult time or a failure. Try gratitude journaling – jot down the things in life that you’re grateful for. If there is something about yourself that you don’t like, give yourself some grace like you would a good friend if you were counseling them.
  2. Incorporating movements into daily routine has both physical and mental wellness benefits. Many navigators are “wound up” individuals and feel it difficult to slow down, but movements do not need to be hourlong workouts in a gym – instead, it can be getting up and stretching from your desk, walking your dog outside, going up and down the stairs, or maybe dancing in your kitchen.
  3. Be mindful of key stressors that affect you and use meditation to cope with them. If you don’t have the time to practice meditation in its truest form, there are alternative methods that are simpler and effective, such as taking deep breaths in and out for 3 to 5 minutes, or even listening to your favorite podcasts.
  4. Our overall health starts to diminish if we don’t have enough sleep. It is important that we identify and stay away from key factors that impact sleep, such as caffeine, electronics, or a barking dog, and practice habits such as reading a book before sleep.
  5. It helps keeping the body functioning at the highest level if you limit processed foods in your diet and focus on natural or whole foods. Seventy percent of our body is water, and drinking water helps flush the body of toxins.

To maintain a healthy mindset as the pandemic continues, you also need to honor your own emotional needs – take time off and get counseling if needed. Stress and anxiety may come out like a fireball if you internalize too much of them for too long; it helps if you let them all out to someone who is not a friend or family and doesn’t know anything about you.

To learn more about the Heart and Soul of Oncology Navigation podcast and to view our series schedule,
please visit our podcasts page.

Stay tuned for the next episode:
Perspectives on Certification: Physician, Nurse, and Patient Navigator
Wednesday, March 2, 2022

AONN+ Podcast

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