AORN Blog - The Periop Life

4 Practices to Optimize Your Energy

Optimize Energy 
July 22, 2021

Natalie Johnson
Natalie Johnson, CPT, CWC, Performance Psychology Expert

Do you often experience negative emotions such as impatience, irritability, and anxiety? Do you have difficulty focusing and multi-tasking?

These feelings emerge when work and life demand more energy than you have, a problem many nurses are coming to grips with post-COVID, according to Natalie Johnson, CPT, CWC, a performance psychology expert who helps healthcare professionals make behavior changes for meaningful and satisfying performance at work and in life.

Johnson has been working with nurses to reclaim and redirect their energy in healthier ways.

Optimizing Your Energy
Before implementing Johnson’s four practices, she recommends focusing on two important steps to prepare yourself for the best results. The first step is to conserve the energy you have. You can do this by defining who and what deserves your best energy. “This allows us to create boundaries,” Johnson says.

When you are able to conserve energy by not wasting it on people and things that don’t matter, you realize you have the power to control your energy. The next step is to expand your physical, emotional and spiritual energy through training with these four easy practices.

  • Practice #1: Improve your sleep quality with consistent sleep patterns each night.
    Consider how you might show up for the people and things that matter most if you were well rested. Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on the weekends, and create a routine to wind down before bed such as dimming the lights, turning off technology, or reading a book.

  • Practice # 2: Fuel your body by paying attention to your body’s hunger/fullness cues.
    Consider how you might show up at work and at home if you felt energized by your food. Pack healthy snacks to sustain your energy through the day and eat only what you need to fuel yourself for the next few hours.

  • Practice #3: Practice strategic micro-recovery for a few seconds or minutes through the day.
    Take time for periodic movement while in the operating room, practice gratitude with your team, take a walk outside if you can, and listen to music that gives you positive emotions.

  • Practice #4: Clarify and define your own purpose and align your behaviors with this purpose by creating and sharing your best self-vision.
    Envision what you look like when you are living with purpose. Purpose creates resiliency and allows you to be more intentional in your energy expenditures.

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