When I ask nurses and nurse leaders, “How do you support Nurse Well-Being?” they often talk about their Wellness Programs, like LiveWell, Code Lavender, Peer Support, and Zen Rooms. These are all great approaches to support Nurse Wellness, but not necessarily Nurse Well-Being.
Wellness and Well-Being are often used synonymously, and while they influence each other, they are not the same. In short, Wellness is a set of behaviors, like working out and eating healthy, while Well-Being is a state of mind, how you feel about yourself. Exercise and good nutrition can help you feel good about yourself but I find when I feel good about myself, I am much more likely to prioritize healthy behaviors.
When I have a day where I miss a deadline or birthday, my writing stinks, or anything that contributes to me not feeling good about myself, I easily choose immediate comfort, like sugar, wine, or shoes (shopping). Then I feel even worse about myself and am more likely to skip my workout or stay up too late with a murder mystery because I am not prioritizing my wellness or myself.
Your Well-Being determines your Wellness because when you feel good about yourself, you make good decisions for yourself. Period. These good decisions include putting yourself first with kindness, especially when you make a mistake (Compassion), slowing down, even when you think you are “too busy”, (Presence), and doing something that brings you joy, (like drawing) even though you feel overwhelmed, (Recovery). These are all practices of Self-Leadership, the foundational skill The Well-Being Coaching Program (WBCP) is based on.
The WBCP teaches you not only the skills, but the structure and support to incorporate Self-Leadership in your life every day. It doesn’t replace your Wellness, but aligns with it, by empowering you to prioritize you and your Well-Being. That is how we can support our nurses and ourselves because when we feel good about ourselves, we are unstoppable and anything is possible.