1. Kyra, Nann MA, DSS

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In today's world, giving and serving seem to be the keynotes of our hurry-up lifestyle. Businesses across the board are downsizing and asking a smaller number of workers to give and do more in a shorter time. We are in servitude to the instant access of cell phones, e-mail systems, text messages, and an apparent 24/7 connection to work demands, in addition to the needs of our family and friends.


Caregivers are called upon for an even greater level of giving, especially hospice and palliative nurses. In addition to performing a multitude of administrative tasks and managing interactions with colleagues and medical personnel, you are relied on to provide a deeper level of emotional support for patients in your care. End-of-life and palliative care requires serving patients and their families with an exceptional level of attention and support and nurturing with essential qualities such as patience, understanding, kindness, and encouragement. This level of service and care requires extraordinary and constant focus-the need to be fully present in each moment in order to render the most efficient, effective, and responsive service and care you can give.


I am wondering, however, how you rejuvenate yourself throughout your day? Do you take time in the midst of your busy workday for self-nurturing? For many years an abundance of information has been available on how to avoid stress-related ailments and burnout. Well-respected self-care and coping strategies often include exercising, meditating, listening to music, walking in nature, journal writing, and myriad other wonderful suggestions for nurturing and well-being that are often not implemented until after your shift or workday is over.


I offer a slightly different perspective on self-care. Rather than wait until your work is completed, I suggest a simple and effortless way to nurture and support yourself throughout your workday, regardless of the intensity of your work agenda. I have discovered an easy way to relax, refresh, and rejuvenate during the course of a busy daily schedule. I call it "The Fine Art of Noticing." By taking "Noticing Moments" throughout the day to focus on something other than your work activities, you can restore ease, balance, and focus to your life.


The process is simple and elegant. It only requires your willingness to take a moment-or five-for yourself, alone, to focus your attention on something other than your current activities, take a breather, and switch your focus. "Switching your focus" means that you become conscious and present with what you are currently doing, thinking, and feeling. You then slow yourself down and permit yourself to stop, look at, or listen to something of a positive nature that engages you in that moment-something that offers you solace and rest, rather than the stresses or activities currently vying for your attention. A Noticing Moment could be as simple as taking a moment to listen to your breath, watch a child playing, or appreciate something interesting or unusual that captures your awareness while looking out a window or walking outdoors.


The point is to take time for yourself away from the demands on your time and energy. Giving yourself even a few moments at a time away from your multi-tasking activities offers refreshment that rests your consciousness. It provides relief that affords you the opportunity to return to your tasks more effectively with a clearer head. I have found that when I nurture myself, I feel as though I have far more energy to give to others than when I keep working and giving without a rest. Although it may be a foreign concept to actually stop and consciously decide to take moments for yourself each hour, I encourage you to try it. You may well discover that your hour is much richer, fuller, and more productive as a result.


In addition to these Noticing Moments, I encourage a next step in self-care and nurturing-a Noticing Retreat. Noticing retreats offer days of practicing Noticing Moments, providing the opportunity to relax and refresh your mind, body, and inner spirit. Participants are asked to leave cell phones, computers, and daily pressures at home in order to spend their days fully present with themselves. The retreats are about self-appreciation and being served-eating, resting, walking, or simply listening to your own silence. Although activities are planned, you may choose to practice the Fine Art of Noticing yourself, resting and relaxing for the entire retreat! Consistently practicing The Fine Art of Noticing and taking Noticing Moments can provide solace, self-support, and renewal beyond what you might imagine or expect from such a simple process. Once established, the practice stays with you after the retreat has ended. My efficient friend often reminds me that doing small things consistently can have a significant impact on our lives. That wisdom certainly applies to the practice of Noticing.


Treat yourself to a Noticing Moment and breathe in goodness, appreciation, and peace. Consider it a gift, a treasure that is always available, anytime, anywhere, to everyone. For information about personal Noticing sessions and retreats, please contact the author.


Nann Kyra, MA, DSS


is a Noticing Coach based in Ojai, CA. Contact her at