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The holiday season can be a joyous time for many. It is a time to reset and enjoy your family and friends. However, for many healthcare workers it is the exact opposite. The hospitals are full of patients relying on them to get through the next day. Healthcare workers can’t just turn it off and relax by the fire with a hot cup of cocoa. In fact, the holiday season for nurses can be extremely stressful.
While patients often long to be with their families on the holidays, nurses may also have that same desire. Yet, they will be there bedside with their patients. Spending long hours in the operating room or days with their patients, may cause nurses to neglect their own mental health. As caregivers, it is imperative that nurses maintain good mental health practices in order to care for others.
Tips for Managing Mental Health during the Holiday Season
Listen to your body**.** The holiday season can bring more challenges, which causes more stress. It is important that you listen to your body during this time. If your body needs to rest for 5 minutes – take the 5 minutes. You won’t be able to help others if you don’t help yourself. Regulating your breathing, taking deep breaths, and meditating are all good practices to maintain your stress levels. Staying active, well rested, and hydrated is key to surviving the holiday season.
Be mindful**.** During the holiday season there is so much going on. The winter months are the peak season for cold and flu patients. With that, an influx of patients will enter the hospital. There will be a greater need for nurses during this time. Although picking up extra shifts may be enticing, you must be mindful of your body and your limits. Make sure to listen to your body’s needs, so that you may fulfil the needs of others.
Find a day to celebrate. If you are unable to celebrate on the actual holiday, find a different day to celebrate. It is important to make the most of your time.
Although the holiday season can be stressful, it is important to keep in mind that it only lasts a few weeks. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, remember to take a deep breath.