Surrender to the Rest

Healthcare organizations everywhere are concerned about the well-being of their employees and Atrium Health committed to doing something about it. Last month, 17 ICU nurses graduated from my 8-week Well-Being Coaching Pilot (WBCP) at Atrium Health, Pineville. The statistically significant results of the pilot reflect practicing Self-Leadership skills improve well-being by decreasing stress and burnout and increasing engagement and compassion.

The ICU nurses who participated in the pilot were bright, high-functioning and over-achievers, sometimes to their own detriment. Like many of us, they often denied their basic needs, like sleep and rest because they were so busy. They found it challenging to take a rest day even though their two-word check-in at their coaching sessions often included the word tired.

Here is K’s story:

“My experience with the Well-Being Coaching Program was very impactful. In my first session with Diane, I talked about how I have a hard time slowing down. I don’t take a lot of breaks or “me time” and when I do, I often find myself feeling guilty for taking the rest. We talked about how important rest is and how our bodies sometimes force us to rest.

How interesting that a couple weeks later, I tested positive for COVID. It really took me down and after feeling bad for two weeks, I was diagnosed with a sinus infection as well. After 10 days of antibiotics, and a lot of rest days, I finally felt better. I reflected on our first conversation. I am now willing to surrender to the rest and actually put days on my calendar to give my body the rest it needs before something takes me down again.”

Surrender to the rest doesn’t have to mean taking to your bed. It is honoring your body and yourself exactly where you are and can be as simple as slowing down to do something just for for you, like reading, drawing, or taking a gentle walk. We can feel empowered instead of guilty when we surrender to the rest because we show up as better partners, parents—and people when we feel better. It’s that simple and that hard.

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