The Three-Minute Waiting Game

The hospital is a busy place with multitasking happening 24/7. Time is money especially when surgeons are involved. Questions like “Are we going on time? Do you know how many patients are waiting for me in my office?”

When we prep the abdomen with chloraprep (antiseptic), it requires a three-minute drying time. Without fail, every surgeon stands there with the drape, inpatient. I would be the same way. They can’t do anything (such as check a cell phone) except wait because they are sterile. 

We have to wait many times throughout the day.  Patient care needs to be coordinated with a multidisciplinary team, so we wait. Your coworker is slow at the pyxis removing the morning medications, so we wait. We pick the wrong line at the supermarket as the person writes a check, so we wait. The red light is taking forever to change, so we wait.

It’s become second nature for so many of us to pull out the phone, check email, surf the web or play a game. Are we so afraid of idle time? Do we not like feeling alone? Is it a way of us trying to be back in control of our environment? As a Nurse, my patients continually show me the benefits of working with uncertainty. When we learn to accept and adapt to life’s uncertainties, we refine our coping skills. When we fight against every limitations the day brings, in order to get more control and get our way, we reinforce that conditioning. There is nothing wrong with choosing an easier path but when we consistently fight against reality, we have very few resources to cope when we can’t alter reality.

Too Busy To Meditate? Got Time To Walk?

Lindsey is a new graduate just off of orientation. When she is able, she spends five to ten minutes of her lunch break in the hospital chapel meditating. She says it helps her manage the sense of overwhelm she experiences as a new Nurse. She runs and does yoga and doesn’t always have time for more time to meditate.

Most of us spend our shift in overwhelm without a proper meal break. We may find the pace of the day picks up at the end of the shift when we run around shuttling kids to games, running errands and getting dinner on the table.

So if the idea of meditating seems impossible but you want to give it a try, I’ve got a solution for you.

Mindfulness for busy people: Give Walking Meditation a try.

You can do this when you are walking from your car to the soccer field or the supermarket with these four easy steps.

Gratitude: Invite yourself to appreciate your body’s ability to walk. While your body may not be perfect, it is yours and it has the ability to get you from point A to point B.

Feel your Feet: Connect to the sensations in your feet as the heels and the toes come into contact with the ground. If you walk slow enough you can say lifting, moving, placing as you make those movements.

Take in the sensory world around you: Expand your awareness from your feet to the sights, sounds, smells and touch sensations as you are walking. You may notice the smell of fresh cut grass, the feel of wind on your face or the warmth of the sun on your back.

Use your Inside Voice: You can be getting your mindfulness on without anyone even noticing. Feel free to come up with a phrase that allows you to get centered and focused, such as “Breathing in, I feel relaxed. Breathing out, I let go of what I no longer need.”