As supportive as your loved ones are about how stressful your job can be, sometimes it feels like only other nurses can really understand — especially why the job is so rewarding even despite the stress. Get together with your co-workers outside of work for a regularly monthly or even weekly activity to put aside work stress and enjoy each other’s company. Spend a few minutes at the start of each gathering getting all of the work issues out, but end the work talk on a positive note; for example, you may encourage each other to seek better chances for promotions and raises through increased education. Then get down to relaxing activities that have nothing to do with work.
Sometimes after a long shift, you don’t have the energy for physically demanding activities. Curling up with a book under a warm blanket is an ideal way to spend a cold winter day, and during the summer, you can enjoy the fresh air reading on the back porch. Meet with your colleagues to pick a book to read at the same time and get together for food and book discussion at least one a month.
Vary the book genres to keep it interesting. Read classics and new bestsellers. Devour romances and mysteries. Let the busiest nurses who juggle families, school and work listen to audiobooks instead of reading. Be flexible in how you plan your book club, and it’ll become a fun release for all of you, no matter your tastes and reading speeds.
If it’s easier for all of you to fit a two-hour film into your free time, opt for a film club. Like a book club, you can “assign” films for your colleagues to watch between meetings, or since films take less time to digest, wait and watch them together before you discuss them every few weeks. As with the book club, the key to making everyone happy with the offerings is to vary genre and subject matter in your choice of films.
Crafting is a versatile hobby, ideal both for when you’re alone and when in groups. Sometimes you have to make time to do the things you love, and holding a regular crafting club meeting is the best way to craft on a regular basis. Discuss ideas for types of crafts your colleagues are interested in, and vary it each meeting. You might include:
If anyone is more skilled at a certain craft than others, task her with being the instructor for the day.
Perhaps cooking is more of a shared passion than books and movies. Arrange pot luck dinners every few weeks where everyone has an opportunity to show off their favorite dishes. Make someone in charge of assigning types of dishes (i.e., salad, appetizer, main course, dessert) so there isn’t too much of one thing. You might also set a “theme” — Italian, Asian, Mexican, etc. — for the night so all of the dishes go together well. Focus on the food and fun discussion, or combine a pot luck with another type of gathering, like the book, crafting or film club.
As nurses, you’re a caring group of people. Continue to do what you do best by volunteering together on a regular basis. Work with animals, kids, seniors and others in need at shelters, after-school programs, and retirement homes. Raise money for disease research by running a marathon as a group. Offer your nursing expertise and give health talks at schools. Vary the types of volunteer work you do, and make every group volunteer outing a special one.
The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing reports 64 percent of nurses feel burnt out from work. Aside from bringing up issues such as too many shifts per week and shifts that are too long at work, you and your co-workers can strive toward relieving some of that stress by supporting one another in fun activities. Even if you can only get together a few times a month to accommodate changing shifts and other life responsibilities, you’ll find it worthwhile to pamper yourselves. The joy you feel may continue into the workplace.