Play, is becoming increasingly recognized
as an important component of success in the workplace
-Dr. Stuart Brown
Interested in learning more about the transformational power of body play as a transformational form of self-care to improve nurse's quality of life?
Check out this awesome video interview where the creator and producer of The Art of Nursing, Elizabeth Scala, RN, MSN, MBA and I talk about the importance of body play for nurses in improving the quality of their life, sustaining their service as compassionate carers, and empowering nurses to use their unique rhythmic expression through imagination, creativity, and courage to create innovation within the profession of nursing.
Self-Care Through Joy Replenishment to Improve Nurse's Quality of Life
Nurses, this is a call to action about Self-Care through Joy Replenishment!
As a practicing oncology nurse for over 12 years, I have had the honor of caring for patients at the most intimate times in their lives, serving as a witness to profound physical, mental, and spiritual human suffering, resilience, and courage. In addition, I have seen and experienced many changes and challenges throughout healthcare and the nursing profession. Throughout this journey, I have learned many lessons on loss, grief, the healing aspects of unconditional love, the importance of community, and the vital necessity of self-care through joy replenishment and restorative practices.
It was over 10 years ago in Central Park in New York City where I came to love hoop dancing. There was a sweet and joyful man with over a dozen hula hoops. He was playing the bongos, singing “The Hula Hoop” song, while tourist would pick up the hula hoops and step into the art of hoop dancing. I remember feeling a profound sense of joyful emotion in my body and in my heart while witnessing so much joy erupting from the tourists as they attempted to keep the hula hoop spinning on their bodies. It was then, that I began my own daily embodied movement meditation practice of hoop dancing. Throughout my hoop dance practice, I have come to learn the healing power body play has on balancing my mind, my body, and my spirit. I began to notice that practicing this form of body play allowed me to explore and experience a sense of joy, which became a vital self-care practice in my own journey of preventing compassion fatigue and burnout throughout my nursing career. I learned that hoop dancing was a safe place for me to release stagnant or frenetic stuck energy within my nervous system while also facilitating my own self-exploration and self-discovery of my own unique rhythmic expression, my own unique dance. My hoop dancing practice has served as a powerful self-care tool for the balance of the mind, body, and spirit, allowing me to provide a more healing and grounded presence for my students and my patients, as I guide and care for them throughout their journey.
Hoop dancing has served as such a powerful tool that I wrote my Masters Thesis on how hoop dancing can serve as a powerful self-care body play practice to prevent burnout and compassion fatigue among nurses. Putting play into practice and making play a priority means advocating for one’s own joy. Advocating for one's own joy means practicing joyful experiences. Joyful experiences help to replenish the energy one needs to offer up their healing gifts in the world. Just as human beings care for their safety and their health, my eternal wish is for all humans to protect, practice, and express their joy, through some form of body play for replenishing and balancing the mind, body, and spirit, so that all humans feel empowered to live out their unique and natural born gifts in this world.
Never dance in the periphery of your joy, dance in the center of it!
Soulfully, Sweet Caroline xo
"I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well."
"The body is the map of the mind" -J.D. Landis, Solitude
Welcome to The Hula Hoop Girl, an Embodied Movement Meditation Practice where I guide and facilitate women through self-exploration, self-discovery, and self-expression through the transformational power of body play. At the age young age of 21, my mother Grace died from breast cancer, just 3 months after her diagnosis. She was only 47 years old. Her passing changed my life so profoundly that I decided to dedicate myself to the art and practice of women's health, caring for cancer patients and their family members.
“Much of your strength as a woman can come from the resolve to replenish and fill your own well and essence first, before taking care of others.” ― Miranda J. Barrett
Dance in the center of your joy
Burnout and Compassion Fatigue Among Nurses
Burnout and compassion fatigue are serious occupational hazards in healthcare. Day in and day out, nurses provide safe and compassionate care to their patients to foster physical, emotional, spiritual, and social balance towards wholeness and wellness. As a result, nurses bear witness to patient's physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, financial, and social suffering. Consequently, nurses are at an increased risk for experiencing burnout and compassion fatigue throughout their professional lives. Burnout and compassion fatigue can lead to physical, psychological, and spiritual imbalances among nurses, which negatively impacts health care by causing nurses to leave their healthcare institution or leave the nursing profession altogether. For these reasons, it is vital that nurses practice self-care through the form of body play to aid in joy replenishment for fostering a balance of the mind, body, and spirit, which can truly prevent occupational hazards such as burnout and compassion fatigue.
Play involves a range of voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities associated with recreational pleasure and enjoyment. Body play is a spontaneous desire to get ourselves out of gravity through the use of our physical body. Play promotes positive social skills and physical development in children, adolescents, and adults. So the question remains, do you set aside time for play or do you integrate play into every aspect of your life?
Hoop Dancing for Nurses
Hoop dancing is an embodied movement meditation body play practice that promotes physical, mental, and spiritual balance. It offers an intense high-impact cardiovascular workout, promotes wellbeing, tones the whole body, improves physical balance, coordination, and flexibility, reduces stress, nurtures creative self-expression, fosters self-empowerment, cultivates joy, and promotes self-care. Therefore, hoop dancing can serve as a powerful intervention for nurses to practice self-care to aid in the prevention of burnout and compassion fatigue.