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How to break the smoking break habit

We all know it: Nursing is a highly stressful job. We deal with people in pain. We deal with chronic illness and death. Negative emotions and stress can really bring us down. Yet we often ignore our personal feelings in order to be professional, and then stuff our feelings with food or smoking or other addictions.

Here are four ways of exposing not your unhealthy self, but your heart. You’ll soon find that you can work through your feelings without the help of a cigarette or a donut:

    • VENT!

Venting our feelings is a huge release and so is a good cry. Surround yourself with people who will listen.

  • BELIEVE IN YOUR OWN WORTH. Tell yourself “I am worth taking care of myself!” Believe it and DO IT! The more you love and take care of yourself, the more love you can bring to your family and your patients. You only have one life and one body—it is your temple. Treat yourself like the precious gift you are!
  • GIGGLE. NO, SCRATCH THAT. LAUGH. Laugh every day; keep a sense of humor. Start your day with a joke.
  • FIND A GOOD PHRASE TO LIVE BY. Surround yourself with positive quotes. Stick your favorite quote to your stethoscope. This way, you can see it many times during your day. One of my favorites is by T. S. Eliot: “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

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Laura McElroy

Laura McElroy, CPT, RN, spent her early adult years as an RN, working in areas including oncology, med-surg and home health. Her love of teaching—and also seeing firsthand the chronic illnesses created by unhealthy living—led her to teach health and fitness (preventative medicine). Laura is a certified personal trainer, teaches boot camps and has clients ranging in age from 25 to 80. A wife and a mother of two sons, she is in the process of becoming Stott Pilates certified.
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One Response to How to break the smoking break habit

  1. Carol

    Wish I didn’t smoke so much. Thinking about those nurses on their smoke break in that Long Beach hospital. They were outside smoking and therefore in the line of fire. Never thought that smoking was dangerous in that way. I don’t even want to walk out the hospital doors during my shift for a while.