When you are a nurse, you’ll have hard days where you have to deal with a lot of emotional issues. You’ll have to deal with terminal illness, life-changing injuries and even death. You will also bear the emotions that go along with these things not just for you, but for your patients and their families too. Of course, you’ll also have wonderful days when you can see a real recovery taking place or you can get a good news story, but you do have to be prepared to take the good with the bad.
It’s crucial to try to be as happy as possible when you’re a nurse because of this. Not only will this enable you to handle the bad days more effectively, but you’ll also be able to help your patients more – if they see you are pleasant and smiling, they will feel better. Plus, it’s better for your mental health to be as positive as possible. With all that in mind, here are some of the ways you can be happy as a nurse; see if you can implement any of the ideas into your daily working (or personal) life.
Create Your Own Happy Space
When you are a nurse, you will be busy. You’ll be asked to do things all the time, and that can be tiring. Even if you’re not given specific work to do, you’ll be able to find something to do all through your shift; the work of a nurse never ends, it just switches from nurse to nurse as each shift comes and goes.
This can take its toll emotionally and physically. Even if you don’t actually have anything unpleasant happen during your shift, being so busy all the time is still exhausting, and being exhausted will have a detrimental effect on your health and happiness.
This is why it’s important to create your own happy space. This is a place you can go where you are alone, where it is quiet and peaceful, and where you can relax. Having a place like this can make a huge difference to how happy you feel and how good a nurse you can be. It can also make a difference when it comes to your home life; taking just a few minutes in this happy place can reset you and help you overcome your feelings.
So, where can you make this happy place? It could be your bedroom. This makes sense because it’s a private space you can make your own, and you can even hand a ‘do not disturb’ sign on the door so that your family or housemates know that you need some time to recharge. If you can’t use this room, what about the bathroom? You can run a relaxing bath and read a book or listen to music to unwind. If all else fails, there is the great outdoors. A local park, the nearby woods, or even your own backyard can make for an ideal happy space.
If the thought of exercise doesn’t bring a smile to your face immediately, don’t worry – not everyone enjoys it. If you do like exercising, however, then planning to do it before or after work (or even during if you’re able to get enough time in the middle of your shift) can make you feel happy as it gives you something to look forward to. However, even if exercise is something you would normally try to avoid, it can still be an ideal way to feel happy.
When you are a nurse, it’s easy to fall into bad habits and not exercise as much as you know you should. It’s perhaps ironic that nurses, people who know more about fitness and health than most others, don’t have the time or the energy to actually do it themselves.
Yet it’s crucial to make the time to exercise. It doesn’t have to be much; just 10 minutes should be enough if you can raise your heart rate during that time. What’s great about exercise is that when you do it, you release ‘happy hormones’ such as serotonin into the body. This makes you feel good and happy, so exercise becomes less of a chore. Those hormones stay with you for hours after a workout, meaning that you’ll feel good for your shift and can be a happier nurse because of it. The fact that you’re getting fit and healthy at the same time will make you feel good too.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Human beings are more easily able to focus on the negative things that happen to them than the positive. This seems to be the wrong way around, but it’s to do with how our brains store memories and how those memories make us feel thanks to chemicals and hormones that make it harder to recapture good feelings and thoughts.
To combat this and to stay happier as a nurse, you should keep a gratitude journal. Within this journal you can note down all the things you’re grateful for and happy about. Perhaps you saved a patient’s life or someone came back to the hospital to specifically thank you for helping them or a family member. Maybe the sunrise was beautiful even though you watched it at work. Perhaps you were able to enjoy a good cup of coffee without any disruptions. Maybe a long-term patient finally went home. No matter what happens, find the positive, even if it’s a tiny thing, and note it down. Not only will this make you happier at the time, but you can also look back at your journal after a particularly hard day and be reminded that there is good in the world and that happiness is possible.
Practice Your Faith
Being a practicing Christian and a nurse might feel hard sometimes; you’ll see a lot of things that will test your faith. This will include death, disease, injury, and things that just seem very unfair. It would be easy to walk away from your faith if you wanted to, but would that make you happier? It’s unlikely.
If you have a faith and it brings you comfort, then it’s important to keep practicing it as much as you can, even if you see things that upset you and make you ask questions. In fact, these are the times when your faith is more important than ever; you need to learn to trust your god and understand that there is a reason for everything that happens. Only by learning more about your faith will this become clear, and you will be happier.
In many hospitals you’ll find a faith room where you can go for some quiet contemplation and prayer. Try to make use of this if you need to and you might find that by being quiet, praying, and thinking things through, you can increase your happiness levels.
Learn New Things
You must never think that you know everything when you’re a nurse. The truth is that there are always new ideas coming out and new techniques being developed, which is why it’s important to keep up to date with these things by reading journals, joining organizations, and even taking classes, some of which might offer you a qualification that could be used to advance your career.
Learning new things is actually a good way to be a happy nurse. When you learn new nursing techniques, for example, you’ll be confident in what you’re doing and much happier to do it – your patients will see that you’re confident and happy and that will make them feel more confident and happy too.
Yet it’s not just nursing information that can make you happy and confident when you learn it; in reality, it could be anything at all. What is it that interests you? Why not take a class (there are online classes in almost everything, meaning that you can fit it in between your shifts) in that subject? Or perhaps you could set up a subscription to an interesting magazine. It could be as simple as making it a matter of course to learn a new thing every day and searching online until you do. Learning will make you happy, and it’s something all nurses can do.
Get Enough Sleep
How do you feel when you haven’t had enough sleep? If you’re like most people, you’ll feel groggy, irritable, and exhausted. You won’t feel happy. If this lack of sleep goes on long enough, you’ll feel even worse and could eventually fall sick.
This is why sleep is so important, or rather, it’s one of the reasons. Sleeping well and for long enough means that your body can recharge and fix issues that would otherwise go on for a long time. Your mind will be clearer and your body will be healthier when you sleep well. You’ll feel much happier too.
In order to sleep well, even if you are a nurse who works shifts, your bedroom needs to be completely dark with no screens in it. It should also be as quiet as possible, and it has to be cooler rather than too hot. If you can get this right, then even shiftwork won’t stop you from sleeping and feeling happier.
To read more on topics like this, check out the Health category