Clinically reviewed by Dr. Chris Mosunic, PhD, RD, CDCES, MBA

Small ways to protect your energy as a nurse

By Vivian Nunez

5 ways to help you set boundaries, even on the busiest days.

As a nurse, your energy is one of your most prized possessions. You’re able to radiate joy, optimism, and calm to your patients and their families thanks to your own personal power supply. Your energy makes it possible for you to support your fellow nurses and staff. Your skillset, intuition, and energy help you tackle every day as a nurse. It’s like your superpower and deserves to be safeguarded as such! 

And while it’s true that life as a nurse means that so many experiences or interactions are out of your control, you still have agency over other parts of your day, including dedicated nurse self-care time. 

On that note, here are five ways to protect your energy that you can work into your day-to-day life. 

Audit what is currently draining your energy 

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when protecting your energy. Sometimes the best place to start is to look back at all the areas that have been draining you of late. Take time to write them down and use this list as a guide to start setting boundaries so that your energy levels can stay where they need to be. 

Practice boundary-setting phrases 

Setting boundaries is a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it. The relieving part is that you don’t always have to practice in real-time. Write down some phrases or sentences you’re comfortable using to set boundaries and practice them before you need them. Here are some examples: “No,” “I need a minute to take a deep breath,” or “I need support to be able to do this.” 

Set custom “do not disturb” schedules 

It’s easier than ever to use technology in our favor. Depending on your device, you can set custom “Do Not Disturb” settings so unwanted texts or calls cannot disrupt your sleep or shift. You can also go “old school” and simply put your phone on silent mode, do not disturb, or turn it off altogether if you want to disconnect from others for a bit. 

Prioritize daily (maybe even hourly) check-ins

Self-care (particularly nurse self-care) doesn’t have to take all day to benefit your mental health. Small, more consistent check-ins with yourself can help you keep an eye on your energy levels, what’s draining you, or what’s filling you up. All of this is great information that can help clarify any next steps.

Find space for mini-breaks 

While you’re finding a moment to check in with yourself, you can also take a mini-break for the same few seconds. Pausing for any amount of time can double as a moment to take a deep breath, have a sip of water, or unclench your jaw. 

Remember, it’s not about making sweeping changes; instead, it’s about finding sustainable ways to protect your energy. These small actions can make a big difference in how you show up to care for patients and coworkers alike. 

Calm Health is a mental health wellness product. Calm Health is not intended to diagnose or treat depression, anxiety, or any other disease or condition. Calm Health is not a substitute for care by a physician or other health care provider. Any questions that you may have regarding the diagnosis, care, or treatment of a medical condition should be directed to your physician or health care provider.

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Our programs are created by licensed psychologists, and you can explore them at your own pace, in any order you like.

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