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Nurses, we know that your schedule doesn’t exactly cater to a lively social life. But let’s be real—if you isolate yourself from friends and family who exist outside the hospital, you’re going to lose your mind. And we’re not about to let that happen.
That’s why we’re comin’ at ya with seven simple strategies you can use to reconnect with some of the people you might not even know you’ve been missing.
1. Social media—use it.
Nowadays, it seems as though everybody and their grandmother is tuned into some aspect of social media. And though we suspect the popularity of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on has a lot to do with all the readily available pictures of dogs and babies, we’re pretty sure that’s not all there is to it.
Think: connectivity so effortless, it’s a no-brainer for busybodies struggling to stay in touch. Seriously—aside from the fact that social media pretty much drops important updates from friends and family into the palm of your hand, from engagement photos to the occasional casual rant, it allows you to enter the conversation via shortcut (if nobody has said, “an emoticon is worth a thousand words” yet, we’re saying it now).
No, you don’t have to “sell your soul” and become this guy:
But at the very least, hop onto one of the more high-traffic networks to make sure you’re receiving e-vites to events you might otherwise miss, track birthdays and discover topics that are trending among friends.
Plus, we’re there. So, there’s that.
2. Merge your “to-do” list with your “to-see” list.
We get it—your free time is limited, and for that reason, much of that time is dedicated to “basic survival” tasks, like buying toilet paper and making sure there’s something edible somewhere in your kitchen.
Because there’s nothing worse than that late-night hunt for an Oreo. Or a can of beans. Anything, really.
So, we suggest killing two birds with one stone. Invite your non-nurse friends to join you as you tackle the essentials. Maybe not so much the whole picking-up-toilet-paper thing, but definitely activities that are best done in pairs. Turn walking the dog into a scenic hike, give SoulCycle a go (preferably with a friend who’s all about grabbing pizza afterward) or shop for new apartment furniture with a friend who lives and breathes Better Homes and Gardens.
See what we did there? Walk the dog: check. Exercise: check. Furnish your home (with style): check.
The possibilities are endless if you’re willing to get creative and capitalize on your social calendar. Even testing out a new recipe with a roomie you rarely see can mean leftovers for the rest of the week.
3. Get ’em all at once.
Instead of trying to set aside five separate blocks of time to see five separate friends, wrangle them all together, descend upon your favorite restaurant and catch up with all those lovely people…at one time.
Besides—the more, the merrier. Right?
4. Stayed dialed in.
Don’t underestimate the power of a phone call, even a quick one. Take advantage of the commute to or from work to give a close friend a ring, making your chats as routine as possible so they’re more likely to be available when you call.
Not only will they appreciate the effort you’re making to stay “in the know,” but there’s also something comforting about hearing a familiar voice at the end of a very, very long day.
5. Take the reins.
Don’t wait for friends to schedule plans. Chances are, they won’t fit into your ultra-chaotic schedule, and even an official BFF will get discouraged after the third or fourth “Yeaaah, I can’t actually make that.” Or worse yet, “I know I said I could make it, but I take that back now.”
Take it upon yourself to suggest plans that you know aren’t going to be a total stretch. If Tuesday is your only day off, then so be it. Unless you have the energy for it (or the eggs are unreal), don’t try and meet a guy or gal pal for brunch at 10 a.m. on a Saturday if your shift ends at 9 a.m. that same morning.
6. Adopt a “binge buddy.”
Sometimes, all you really want to do is give yourself over to Netflix, and that’s 110 percent fair. Nursing is one of the most physically, emotionally and mentally draining careers out there.
Go ahead—embrace the urge to dip out of the real world and into Game of Thrones for a hot minute. Just make sure you invite a friend to join you and share in all those epic scenes that have you all like:
Something tells us it won’t be hard to find somebody who loves that dang show (is there something in the popcorn?) as much as you do.
7. Share a goal.
It’s easier to stay in touch with a friend when you’re working toward a common goal. Whether you’re gearing up for a half marathon or working on mastering a new hobby, sharing those trials and tribulations will help you stay connected and forge even deeper bonds—not to mention accomplish more.