It’s a stressful time for everyone at the moment. I see it, I feel it, I hear about it.

Our true character shines through in stressful and challenging situations. Having a supportive team around you can help you through these periods but, ultimately, it’s up to you how you respond.

Nursing isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. We are involved in difficult situations all of the time. But it also isn’t all doom and gloom. We are also involved in truly amazing situations.

You can either choose to solely focus on the negatives or you can acknowledge and reflect on the negatives and choose to focus on the positives, boosting your own, your patient’s and your team’s morale.

The way I do this, and you may find your own way of doing it, is by being aware of and in tune to how I am feeling. I find that if I carry on as normal and try to ‘pretend’ everything is okay and ignore the challenging situations I feel worse in the long run. Things I thought I was feeling okay about suddenly begin to mount up and eventually I have to process them all at once. Then it is easy to become overwhelmed with the difficult situations and to almost become blind to the amazing things that are happening around us everyday.

To avoid this, I allow myself time to process one thing at a time. If, for example, I am involved in something upsetting I give myself time to reflect on how that situation made me feel, what else I could have done and how I would act if that situation happened again. I usually have this time on my drive home, on a walk or when taking a bath. Uninterrupted time to just focus on your thoughts. Sometimes it may help to talk to someone about how you’re feeling – not for that person to give you all of the answers or to make you feel 100% better, but simply to aid your processing and reflection.

This is a journey though and, with all journeys, there may be bumps in the road. You may find this reflection process works perfectly for some scenarios and then hit a wall with others. That’s okay. Just be mindful of your thoughts and feelings and repeat the reflection process as many times as you feel necessary. Once you feel at peace, you will automatically find that you are happier and more positive with your work and self.

This is a time for uniting together. Look out for your colleagues, your patients, your loved ones and yourself. If you see someone struggling or you are struggling, reach out.

On your next shift try to find five positive things that came out of that day/night. It can be as easy as making someone smile!


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