Tips for the Nurse to Ease the Holiday Blues

With the holidays fast approaching, it is hard not to feel a sense of magic in the air. The lights, the music, and the food give a sense of warmth this time of year. Unfortunately, anyone that works at the bedside full time has an obligatory holiday shift each year. While many become acclimated to this reality, there are those that could use a little cheering up. The following are just a few tips for making it through your holiday shift this year.

Plan Ahead

Plan your time with your friends and family well ahead. Designate a day to celebrate. When I first moved overseas, I missed out completely on American Christmas back home. I missed the sights and sounds that I was used to. It was so hard to embrace a new holiday tradition all while missing my own. I learned to plan ahead and each year celebrate on a day while I was home. As the years have passed, I have learned to embrace new traditions and look forward to the holidays I am home.

Enjoy Your Time at Home

Make the most of your time with your family. When you are at home, try not to think about the fact that you have to work that Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s shift. Be present and take these precious moments in. Enjoy the day that you and your family planned together and treat your holiday shift as just another day. The only difference is you can expect that on this day you will get paid more.

Embrace Work Traditions

Most shifts host a pot luck. Use this opportunity to bring your favorite holiday dish to share with your coworkers. Bake your favorite cookies, make a mid shift snack, and/or bring some special holiday coffee to share. Make a Christmas playlist to play in the breakroom or have everyone working vote on a classic holiday film you can loop on the tv in the breakroom. Bring and share whatever it is that is an important part of celebrating the day to you. Together, you can create new traditions.

Host a Secret Santa

If your unit does not already have one, take charge and plan one. It is an easy way to add a bit of cheer to your unit. There are plenty of gifts under $20 that can be exchanged. Set a monetary limit and make a list of fun gift ideas for nurses, respiratory therapist, and techs. Do not exclude any group from joining. This is a great way to bring people together.


Remember that these days of all days are a testament to why you became a nurse-the patients. Give your patients extra care and love. The last place anyone wants to be on a holiday is in the hospital. You have the fortune of being able to clock out and go home to your friends and family to celebrate. Your patient does not have the same luxury. Remember those who have recently lost or feel loss this time of year. Give them extra love. Happy holidays and enjoy the ones that you are free.

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.


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