10 Ways to improve your mood during your shift

We all love what we do, but sometimes the grind of a shift can wear down even the most enthusiastic nurse.

Whether we are dealing with sad patient situations or the frustrations of the job, our mood may flag during shift.

Fortunately, you can do several things to help make yourself feel better, even if you don’t have the time for long and involved relaxation techniques.

Here are ten simple actions you can take while actually working a shift that will improve your mood.

1. Take a Break

No one wants to admit it and everyone claims they don’t have time, but the best way to boost your mood on shift is to get away from the craziness for fifteen minutes.  Seriously, people, someone can watch your patients while you go decompress.

2. Talk to a Patient

Many of us got into nursing because of the interactions with patients.  Go and talk to one of them and remember what it is like to really connect with someone and help them through a difficult time.

3. Talk to a Coworker

Sometimes, coworkers are the only ones who understand exactly what we are going through.  Hunt down a trusted nurse friend, explain why you are feeling down, and allow their commiseration to help you realize you are not alone.

4. Look at Family Pictures

Family pictures are remarkably easy to carry on your cellphone now, and they can provide a boost when you need to remember good times.  If you aren’t allowed cellphones on the floor, carry a small wallet with printed pictures in it for a quick pick-me-up.

5. Find the Floor Cut-Up

Every floor and every shift has a comedian, someone who makes you laugh despite the BM hitting the fan.  Find that person and engage them, and you will usually find they can brighten your day.

6. Eat a Tasty Treat

Oh, candy, chocolate, and cookies can lead you down a road to bad health, but you can’t ignore the boost in mood that they bring.  If you’re having a bad day, indulge, but be careful not to overdo it.

7. Help Out a Coworker

When your day sucks, you can believe that someone else on your shift is having trouble, too.  Find that coworker who is swamped and offer to pass some meds or change a dressing.  You may find that it lifts your mood to be the hero.

8. Remember a Warm Moment

Nursing is full of moments where we know, deep in our hearts, why we became nurses.  Think back to that gentleman you helped with excruciating pain, the time you stood up to a doctor, or when you performed well in a code, and you are bound to feel better about yourself and your skills.

9. Review Your Personal Mission

You should have a mission statement that reminds you of why you became a nurse, preferably written down and within easy reach.  Review your reasons for becoming a nurse and what you love about the job when the shift seems like one problem after another.

10. Attitude of Gratitude

Finally, develop an attitude of gratitude.  Instead of focusing on what’s wrong with your life, profession, shift, workplace, or patient load, be grateful that you have the ability to touch people’s lives every day.

Not everyone has it as good as you and some have it much worse.  Remembering that during the dark times can help lift you out of your funk.


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