Lavender and Peppermint Tea

    It’s 6:00 pm. The nausea starts to set in. The butterflies in my tummy because I know its time to start getting ready for the night shift ahead. The nausea is because I’m anxious, terrified actually. What will tonight bring? Who will be working with me? This is month three on my journey as a new nurse.

    Month fourteen the anxiety doesn’t ease. Will I be able to handle the assignment? Will my words be enough to advocate for my patients tonight? Will anyone listen to me?

    This was my reality and the reality of most new nurses. We carry so much stress in and around us. No one ever teaching us that our personal decompression is just as important to our patient’s healing process.

    No one spending time in or after school emphasizing to us that as facilitators of healing, we must prioritize our own healing in so many ways.

    So many of us are stunted when we hit the floor because we aren’t prepared for the reality of what is ahead.

    That everything we ever internalized up until this point as children and young adults was about to erupt. That we’ll be triggered. That our boundaries would be tested. That the pain we felt when grandma passed away that we never dealt with is about to resurface.

    You see no one is teaching the new nurse that going inward and spending time with yourself is just as important as it is going outward to aid in healing our patients.

    That time spent in reflection is golden to how you show up as the nurse.

    I’ve been a nurse now for nine years and what I’ve realized is that we aren’t encouraged to listen to our bodies. To understand what it is trying to communicate to us.

    We’re encouraged to push against that. In the form of overtime. And poor staffing ratios. And no break times.

    We are taught to sacrifice ourselves for the greater institutional needs, not even so much for the patients.

    So, we become burnt out. We push against our personal alarm systems and our patients suffer.

    As facilitators of healing, that’s not okay.

    As nurses, we come in contact with people who are emotionally, physically, mentally, and energetically vulnerable.

    When we aren’t responding to our own needs, we most definitely will not be effectively be responding to the needs of our patients.

    The workplace then becomes this big energetic field of heavy emotions being tossed around by everyone.

    We take on the anxiety and frustrations of the workplace and now as new nurses we are feeling so many things that may or not be ours.

    This begins to affect the new nurse’s confidence. Anxiety rises. You develop an inability to trust your own decision-making. You don’t even feel or hear your own intuition anymore.

    I wanted to change that.

    I am actively changing that.

    The beginning of this was my mentorship program for new nurses, Nursing with Finesse. 8 weeks of strategy to improve at the bedside and recalibrating our nervous system for the task ahead.

    Then the book.

    Lavender and Peppermint Tea: Gentle Affirmations for the New Nurse.

    Lavender and Peppermint Tea is a book of affirmations with reflections and journal prompts to support the new nurse as they get through the common challenges experienced in the first few years as a nurse. Each gentle affirmation created to shake the new nurse's limiting beliefs around their ability to function as a nurse while helping them untether from the fear, anxiety and feelings of overwhelm they so desperately want to be rid of.

     

    An excerpt from the book:

     

    “This book was written to encourage you through countless sleepless nights with bloodshot eyes as you focus on tiny words in a textbook, To help you look past everyone who has told you this was not possible, For the many hours of critical thinking questions you reviewed until you no longer knew if you could trust your judgment, For all the parties and quality time with friends and family that you missed out on, For the vacations you could not afford, For the interviewers who did not believe in you and for the ones who did, For the strength to make it through the first year of nursing.

    Peppermint tea was a staple in my Jamaican household. Headache? Peppermint tea. Upset stomach? Peppermint tea. Unable to find the words to finish that book you’ve been staring at for months? Peppermint tea. You see, both lavender and peppermint tea provide a calmness, like no other, to my unsettled spirit. When life feels impossible and the day ahead seems too long to bear, I find my secret spot away from everything. I close the world out, put some water in my kettle, massage my body with oil and wait for my strength to return to me.

    That is also how the title Lavender & Peppermint Tea came to me. Filled with angst about my deadlines for this book, insomnia crept into my bed insidiously. Lying awake one night with butterflies in my tummy, the title came to me divinely as I reached for my lavender essential oil. I doused my body with it in hope that it would work just one more time to ease my mind. It has never failed me yet. With each deep breath, I could feel my heart rate finally slowing down. I allowed the oils to marinate my skin and my thoughts began to melt away. It has always been the secret weapon against my anxiety. It never stands a chance.

    I am hoping this book will become your lavender and peppermint tea; a small token of my love for you as a new nurse. 

    This is a book of many gentle affirmations, but that is not all you will find here. I want you to find your truest nursing self. Who you are in difficult moments. How you cope as a nurse. How the process is affecting you. We go to school and spend years focused on the skills required to practice safely, but no one spends the time to nurture us through the heartache that is new nursing. What about the other skills needed to get through this grueling emotional process? No one tells us that some days we will feel defeated, or that some days we may want to quit. No one even tells us that quitting is our right if we are not flourishing. That taking a stand for yourself and quitting a job that is not suited to you is your prerogative and in no way reflects your abilities! No one tells us that our first job does not have to last 10 years or that we do not have to take our first job offers. No one tells us nursing has many different faces and styles and options; that not starting or ever working in the hospital is not a deal-breaker. No one walks us through the steps of how to remain confident after that miserable physician rips us apart or how we pick our spirit up off the floor and make it through another day with that preceptor who just can’t seem to remember how difficult it is to be new.

    I want this to be your go-to book after a long day of work. Your lavender and peppermint tea. I want this to be your go-to book before you begin each shift. A way for you to reflect and organize your thoughts. This book is my way of helping you cope. So pause where it says pause. Reflect where it says reflect, and journal every honest feeling where prompted. Do not move on from an affirmation until you understand where it fits in your life. Sneak it into the bathroom if you need to vent. Write it out. This book is your personal coach. I hope it will help you get through your days as a new nurse.”

     

    After nine years, I’ve discovered that prioritizing our wellness is the key to facilitating our patients need. I’ve discovered that reframing our anxious and negative thinking gives way to new possibilities for us that our patients benefit from. I’ve discovered that spending time in reflection through journaling and reading books that bring us hope, we’ll be able to implement the change we so badly desire.

    Uplifting a new nurse one affirmation at a time is my part in continuing to heal our nation.

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    Jannel GoodenAuthor bio: Jannel Gooden is a baccalaureate-prepared registered nurse hailing from Bronx, New York. She graduated cum laude from her nursing program and went on to work in some of the most highly ranked children’s hospitals in the country in her career as a travel nurse.

    Co-Founder of Novice is the New Nurse, Jannel took her passion for the new nurse experience and founded her company with the mission of supporting and creating safe spaces for the new nurse as they journey into this complex role as members of the healthcare team. Through her company she has created a mentorship program for the new nurse, Nursing With Finesse, and multiple online classes to support the new nurse experience.

    Jannel has solidified her presence in the online world through her social media accounts @NoviceistheNewNurse where she spends and focuses her time on creating digestible and relatable content that resonates deeply with new nurses all over the world.

     

     

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