When you’re a nursing student, life without reflection doesn’t exist. Each day we’re supposed to take half an hour to reflect on our practice, so what initially started as a way for me to reflect on my nursing practice and deal with difficulties I was facing, has turned into reflecting on all aspects of my life.
If I’m being totally honest, I don’t reflect for half an hour each day because that’s just quite a long time really isn’t it? But I definitely reflect at least a couple of times a week on average.
Reflection is all about making a conscious effort to look at an activity or event in retrospect and understand what went well and what didn’t. This means that you can work out how to do something better next time or help others to do the same activity.
To make this a bit more applicable to real life, here are some times when I use reflection to better myself:
- Reflecting on my day as a whole – what went well, what didn’t? Is it something I can change?
- Relationships – Am I giving enough to my friendships and am I getting something out of them?
- Fitness – Have I been fuelling my body well and exercising? If not, why not?
- Mental Health – Is it good or bad right now? Has something changed? Can I do something to change this?
Why is reflection so good?
- Reflection helps to learn from your mistakes and improve for next time. I’m always striving to do better so it’s a really good way of looking what you’ve done in a rational way, to see what the next steps are, rather than pushing yourself too hard.
- Reflection really helps me to stop beating myself up. I am prone to blaming myself for the slightest mistake but when I can reflect I’m better able to see that things aren’t always my fault!
- A great thing about reflection is that it’s scheduled times which lets you think things over so that worries about your day don’t seep into your leisure time.
- For me, reflection really aids my creativity. It’s the best time for thinking up new ideas and feeling that lovely feeling of being able to do anything.
What do I do?
Whilst there are lots of different frameworks you can use for guidance (Check out: Borton’s 1970 Framework Guiding Reflective Activities or Gibbs, 1988) I prefer a less structured approach.
I’ll take some quiet time to myself, maybe in the bath or post yoga. Rather than just sitting and thinking, I prefer to write things down because it helps me organise my thoughts, so for, journaling and reflection are really interlinked. But the nice thing about reflection is that there’s no set way to do it and any reflection on yourself will aid personal growth and help you feel more in control of your life and happiness.
Do you use reflection in everyday life? Let me know in the comments!