You may be thinking, oh gosh you too? “Why are you writing about the holidays already”? Well, if you’ve been to the stores lately you probably have seen what I have. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations displayed all at once! I admit that it briefly creates pangs of stress and anxiety for me and for a moment has me feeling like I’m already behind.
Which got me thinking about busy nurses and the added stress the holidays can create. As a nurse myself, I have so many memories of working the holidays. Or even more challenging in some ways, was working the night shift, then going to visit family on the holiday with little to no sleep.
You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup
As a busy healthcare professional, you are already dealing with a challenging work-life schedule. Nurses don’t have “regular” jobs like many others with holidays and weekends off. For nurses, there is the infamous schedule request for holidays off that for some, may begin at the end of the summer. There are staffing concerns and shift work that can also make the holidays a bit more unpredictable.
As a nurse, you very well know that working some of the holidays comes with the territory. While you may be missing out on some of the family festivities, and memorable food, you may also be feeling a bit more stressed. You are not alone. In a survey of healthcare professionals, 38% reported higher stress over the holidays. When looking specifically at women, who are often responsible for much of the holiday festivities, 44% reported increased stress. Along with the increased stress comes unhealthy lifestyle habits like less sleep, binging on comfort food, less physical activity, and feelings of depression. How can you plan now to set yourself up for success before the holiday season arrives?
Your Wellness Journey Begins Here
Before the hectic holidays begin to put you in overdrive, set yourself up with small, sustainable solutions. While they will be helpful in the short-term during this holiday season, they will also be key for the New Year and the long game. Let’s look at some action steps you can take beginning today.
1. Sleep Soundly
Create a sleep ritual before bedtime. Shut down electronics and keep them out of your bedroom, keep your bedroom temperature comfortable and create a ritual to signal to your body and mind that you are winding down.
2. Move More
Make time for daily movement. Walk around the hospital for 10 minutes on a break, use the stairs to go to the lab, or walk on your treadmill at home after work. Regularly scheduled movement each day will help clear your mind and reenergize your body.
3. Enjoy Food
Focus on bringing healthy meals and snacks to work. Bringing fresh fruit, cut up vegetables, or small servings of nuts can begin to make a positive difference. You also won’t be so tempted to eat the pastries and donuts in the break room!
5. Build Resilience
Gratitude is a key component of nurse resiliency! When nurses experience gratitude at work it helps to lessen their stress, enhance their sense of meaning and purpose of their role and fuel resiliency. At your next staff meeting, why not suggest that the meeting end with each nurse sharing one thing for which he or she is grateful. Or create a nursing unit “gratitude jar” with notepads and pens. Staff can add inspiring quotes, or positive thoughts for the day. The only rule is if you take one, you must add one back to the jar!
6. Practice Self-Care
Self-care doesn’t have to be another complex task to add to your to-do list. Imagine starting your shift report with a three-minute pause for both nurses to breathe, ground themselves and stay present.
TAP into Wellness
You can embark on a holistic journey that focuses on your unique physical, mental, and emotional health needs as a healthcare professional. Imagine arriving for your shift with a positive mindset, well-rested body, and energized spirit. You can achieve it and you’re worth it!
Looking to work with a board-certified health coach who works only with nurses and others in the healthcare industry? Learn more at TAP Wellness Coaching.