Recovery Time (by guest blogger Amber Williams )

I’ve started reading a book called Nurse Burnout by Suzanne Waddill-Goad.  Just reading the introduction made me pause and think about a phrase we may hear quite a bit, but not really in reference to ourselves as nurses: recovery time.  Here is the whole sentence – “Nurses need to be encouraged to prioritize self-care and recovery time to promote their own health and well-being” (p. xxi).

We can actually be busy in our self-care activities.  We become so busy planning the vacation that when we get to our destination, we are too worn out to really enjoy the time away.  How many of us have commented, “I need a vacation after my vacation”?  We need that recovery time.

Or, we finally get our spa day – pedicure, manicure, facial, massage.  Personally, those are relaxing activities; but after all of those hands have been on me, I need a time to recover and be alone.

When I think of the phrase “recovery time,” I think of a time of healing.  A time to reset the body and allow it to mend or restore itself.  When we talk about our patients’ recovery times, it is usually about allowing their blood counts to recover or recovering from a surgery.

Two definitions for recovery are “a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength” and “the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.”  That second one we usually think of when someone’s belongings are stolen and then recovered, but what about the concept of our health and well-being being stolen or lost?  If you feel like that is you, then it is time to recover yourself!

How?  Some ideas from the book include:

  • Set boundaries between work and rest
  • Exercise regularly
  • Sleep 7-9 hours at a time
  • “Digital detox” – Do you need to stay connected to work even when you aren’t getting paid to work? Can you remove yourself from social media for a period of time longer than a day?  Do you have to be available to everyone at all times?


I would love to hear how you are planning your next recovery time!



Waddill-Goad, S. (2016). Nurse burnout. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau International.