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A nurse’s 18 lessons in stress management

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How many nurses feel like they must carry the weight of the world on their shoulders?

We have all been guilty of this, but the key is knowing when to let go. I love the following story for that reason:

A young lady confidently walked around the room with a raised glass of water while explaining stress management to an audience. Everyone knew she was going to ask *that* question:

“Half empty or half full?”

She fooled them all. “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

She continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.

As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden–holding stress longer and better each time practiced.”

So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night…pick them up again tomorrow.

These 18 life lessons are some of my favorite reminders to de-stress:

  1. Accept the fact that some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue!
  2. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
  3. Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
  4. Drive carefully…it’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
  5. If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
  6. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  7. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
  8. Never buy a car you can’t push.
  9. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.
  10. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
  11. Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
  12. The second mouse gets the cheese.
  13. When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
  14. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
  15. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
  16. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
  17. Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.
  18. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY — Save the earth…it’s the only planet with chocolate!

It’s not so important who starts the game, but who finishes it (John Wooden).

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Nurse Rene

Nurse Rene has been an RN since 1978; CCRN since 1989 and attained a BSN in 2010. She has worked in virtually every specialty from Neonatology to Neurosurgery and is a Member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society with a particular interest in helping students and new grads develop to their full potential. She's been married for 33 years and has a keen interest in history and in current issues as nursing continues to develop as a Real Profession. When not spoiling the grandchildren, she enjoys sewing, cooking, kayaking, camping and travel. She likes all music which does not hurt her ears, watching NCIS, Leverage, Top Gear and Criminal Minds and reads books written by Clive Cussler, Miss Manners, Erma Bombeck and Tom Clancy. She enjoys collecting Quotations for use in her writings.
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