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All work and no play makes…

All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy (or girl). You know you’ve heard the saying before. It equates to work hard and play hard. Nurses sometimes forget the play part.

We nurses are so caught up in the ‘moment’ that we forget life outside of work sometimes. No I don’t mean neglecting your family. I mean neglecting ourselves. We are the ‘fixer’, the ‘healer’, the ‘saver’. We are the ‘Do’er’. It’s what we do. (Wait a minute is that even a word?)

We are the ‘take the bull by the horns’ kind of person. The type ‘A’ personality. If there is a wall in front of us we will find a way to climb it, go around it, or heck – knock it down. It’s how we approach our job and our responsibilities. Each day brings on a whole different and new set of ‘fires’ we have to learn how to extinguish. Between ourselves, the patients, the patients families, our co-workers, the physicians, and all the ancillary staff (sorry if I’ve missed someone) we divide and conquer.

We put in the extra time. We take a short lunch. We skip lunch. We don’t take a break. We stay the extra couple hours to get things accomplished. We rarely actually sit down. We clock in early to help extinguish a new ‘fire’. We work the long hours and ‘get our hands dirty.’

Yep, we work hard.

But what about playing hard? Play? What’s that. That’s only for children right? OK. So I’m using a metaphor. The idea is to find some balance. Think about how much you put into your job, your work, your responsibilities. Think about that ‘effort.’

Do you put in as much effort to relax? What about the down time? How do you unwind? What do you do to wash away the sounds of the call bells, the ringing of the telephones, and the buzzing of the alarms?

Make as much effort outside the ‘job’ as you do inside the ‘job’. Take some time to relax. Have fun. Maximize what brings you JOY.

The economy is tough these days, so if you can’t take a real honest-to-goodness vacation, try the now infamous ‘stay-cation’. Dedicate a couple days to ‘unplugging’ from the daily grind with those you love, with those who maximize your JOY. Go do whatever it is that brings a smile to your face. Some call it a ‘mental holiday.’

And be sure to go ballistic with it! Use as much effort ‘playing’ as you do ‘working.’ Maintain that balance in your life.

That balance is what keeps you sane, your family happy (for you), and your patients safe.

I hope your time away from work is full of smiles – because I know that’s what I plan on doing.

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