Working in healthcare can be incredibly stressful for anyone and often everyone, add into it newly registered nurse wobbles, winter pressures, a global pandemic and of course Christmas stress.
Christmas is a magical time, a time which also often goes hand in hand with financial worries and maybe the guilt of working away from loved ones. This year I am working on Christmas Day, I am happy about it though, actually. I’m looking forward to it. Nobody wants to be in hospital, let alone over Christmas!! So, we need to make the best of it better yet, I’m choosing to be positive about it. I’ll have Christmas morning at home with my family, so I’m not missing out altogether.
I feel there is a lot of tension in the air, the hustle and bustle of people trying to get organised. Covid-19 is having a detrimental impact upon already stretched staffing levels. Management is stressed trying to cover shifts, patients are sad and angry because they want to get home for Christmas, staff are stressed trying to organise and facilitate discharges and where discharges aren’t possible, we feel sad and guilty for our patients and for their loved ones. It can be difficult not to take this stuff home. When we don’t talk about how we are feeling, really feeling, it stays in our hearts and in our heads. That stuff can get heavy. We can be left a little bit vulnerable to negative thoughts, like feeling rubbish, not good enough or that we’re letting people down all the time.
Nurses are often described as being resilient, to me that means strength, tough and will handle whatever comes our way. But, often then showing that maybe we are not ok and not handling the situation well, would then feel like a weakness? Sometimes, I think when will my resilience arrive – as if it’s a bus I’m waiting for to catch into town. Too busy looking at things I cannot control or change and it’s frustrating, and often I feel helpless. So looking further into resilience (for the record, I did not google ‘how to be more resilient’…ok maybe I did) I came across this poem by Alex Elle and I think it’s worth a wee read…
Look at you
And thrown out.
Look at you
Picked and plucked
And prodded out of
Look at you
Look at you, love.
Still here and hopeful
After it all.
This really struck a chord with me. I try to choose positivity in all situations and sometimes it can be a very difficult choice – but it reaps so much more. So, take time yourself to look at how well your are doing and how far you have come. At some point amongst all this mayhem, look at you, look at you, and be kind. Tell yourself well done and give yourself a pat on the back – you’ve earned it.