Christmas is a time when even the stingiest can feel a sense of compassion and good will. As nurses, the core of our work stems from the word compassion. It is our fuel. For most, our compassion meters run high during the season. However, sometimes we can run low and find ourselves stricken with compassion fatigue. We give our undivided time to our patients as well as family and friends during this season which can be tiring in the end. So how do we spread compassion this season and remain balanced? It’s simple. Follow these few steps.
Take Care of Self
Start as always with yourself. When you place yourself at the top, you are better equipped to help and share with others. You are no good to your patients and family/friends when you yourself are running on empty. Self care is as simple as saying no to too many things if you are that person that tries to take on everything. Prioritizing your time and making time for a self care ritual every day will help you refill. Establishing a quick self care ritual such as walks around the block, a massage, or unrolling your yoga mat for 10 minutes every day will fuel you for the long haul.
If you have a neighbor who lives alone or has experienced loss, ask them over for coffee and Christmas cookies. Just let them talk. Is there an elderly man or woman close by? A single parent that works full time? Check in on them. Offer to pick up groceries for them the next time you go to the store. Bake a large batch of cookies to leave at their door. It’s a good way to spread cheer and let your neighbors know you are there should they need you.
Volunteer Your Time
Find a cause that you have always wanted to be a part of and make this the year you begin. Volunteer for your local food bank, clothing drive, toy drive, or blood bank. Volunteer at your local animal shelter. Any time you donate it will be equally rewarding. Giving is receiving. Your empathy tank will fill.
Donate your time, food, or services. Blood is always needed, so make a point to donate before Christmas. Make a day of it with fellow coworkers or friends. Donate and have a nice lunch together after in celebration of your good deed.
Use these easy tools to balance your empathetic nature without exhausting yourself. Thank you for giving the best care your patients deserve. Thank you for caring far beyond the bedside. Have a happy happy holiday!!
Lori is an American nurse, nurse blogger, and Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher living in Gothenburg, Sweden. She contributes regularly to Mighty Nurse, AWHONN, American Nurse Today, and has been featured in The Huffington Post. Follow her adventures through her blog, Neonurse, or on Instagram.