Angel at work, monster at!

  1. I always believed that I had a short temper...but lately I'm discovering some things that I really don't like about myself and I'm trying to find ways to change.

    At work I'm crazy busy, running around on my feet for the whole shift, stressed out, overwhelmed, have some needy pts on the bell every few minutes, rude co-workers etc. yet I maintain my professionalism, keep calm, have a nice attitude even when answering my annoying pt's 100th call to get her an item 3 inches away.

    I smile at my coworkers, say please and thank you etc. etc.

    Yet the minute I enter my house my whole demeanor changes. I become exhausted, frustrated, easily angered, snappy etc. I lose my temper with the ones I claim that I love (family) when I know prefectly well how I control that same temper with friends & at work.

    I feel bad

    Any advice?
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    About Florence NightinFAIL

    Joined: Feb '07; Posts: 267; Likes: 558


  3. by   nurse678
    I'm in the same boat *sigh*. I think I need anger management and a xanax cocktail...
  4. by   Katie5
    How very often, we take advantage of the ones we love- we are polite with co-workers because we know we would be labeled a bad name or that the co-worker would give back as much dirt as he or she gets.

    But it's good if you feel bad, it means you're unhappy with the way things are-you can possibly try to cultivate this restraint as an everyday habit. It's only pretense if you do it for a reason.
  5. by   DizzyLizzyNurse
    Maybe some time off or schedule fun things on your days off? My dad always took 10 minutes to relax at home and then we were allowed to bug him lol. Do you exercise? Maybe you can take your frustrations out on a aerobics class or something.
  6. by   That Guy
    What do you do to unwind? I know that once I come home my scrubs are off, I eat something, have a drink if the night REALLLLY sucked and maybe listen to some music, watch a show, play a game. Something, anything to disconnect from the epic crap storm that is work sometimes. I find after doing that, I can take on the world with a smile again.
  7. by   wooh
    Antidepressants worked for me. Basically, getting through the workday (or when it really hit me was when I was working fulltime and going to school over fulltime) used up all my reserves. Nothing left for when I got home and didn't "have" to act like a sane, calm and responsible person.
  8. by   No Stars In My Eyes
    I don't know that I can offer any advice in particular; mostly I am responding to commiserate. It seems that after working 8-12 hours focusing on, anticipating, trying to resolve everyone else's needs/problems, the very last thing I need is to have to pay attention to someone else. That sounds horribly cold, especially since one of the things in a relationship that is so important TO that relationship isbeing there for each other. But spending all that time directed OUTward drains my inner self. I think some of the other posters are correct in saying that you need to have something that is for YOU, that feeds YOU and also at the same time helps you "cool your jets". I'm just not real good at taking care of myself that way; seems like everything else comes first. I've resolved alot of bugaboos in my life but that's a honkin' big one for me!
  9. by   merlee
    Before you enter your home, take a few moments to decompress. Some deep breaths, calming thoughts, allow your pent-up misery to release.

    Also, seriously consider contacting your EAP for some counselling and advice. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Many of us are with you in this.

    Best wishes!
  10. by   chicookie
    I had the same problem. I had to force myself to change. I put on music I knew would make me happy on the ride home from work. If that didn't help, I would sit in the car for a few minutes before I walked in and just talk out whatever I thought was frustrating or made me angry. Or write it all out. By the time I got home I didn't want to settle on it and didn't lash out at anyone.
    I also talked to my family. I let them know look after having people ask me to do stuff all day the last thing I want is for people to ask me questions so if I'm snappy forgive me. They understood and when I walked in without speaking to them they let me be for a while until I stepped out of my room in a better mood. After doing it for months its gotten better but I really have to work on it.
    Leave work at work!
  11. by   tiredbeatupRN
    I used to do the same thing. Being at work takes every ounce of mental, emotional, intellectual, and physical juice out of us nurses. Throw some feelings of frustration, unappreciation, and "will I be written up?", and even abuse into that mixture and you have a recipe for burn out and depression. Seriously, this is something all nurses should recognize and take care of right away.

    What works for me is a nice quiet walk in the woods. No cellphone, just me. Pay no attention to anything at all except the sights and sounds of the woods. Watch and listen to the birds (I find chickadees so darn cheerful all the time even on the coldest winter days! I can't help but adore them!), find a huge tree and appreciate its beauty and size. That tree might be several hundred years old. See if you can spot a whitetail deer before they spot you and run away from you. That's not easy to do.

    And, yes, take time to smell all flowers you see! Literally!

    For me, time to be totally away from any and all demands from others brings so much relief! It's the persistent hustle and bustle of groups of people that put my last nerve on edge. Sometimes the sound of a human voice makes me want to run and hide.

    Find something that gets you away from the demands of others and enjoy!
    Last edit by tiredbeatupRN on Aug 2, '11 : Reason: typos! =o/
  12. by   No Stars In My Eyes
    I have brain-block : whattsa "EAP"?
  13. by   canesdukegirl
    As with the above posters, I felt the same way you did. When I finally recognized the fact that all I needed was to decompress when I got home, I talked to my husband about it and we came to an agreement:

    We usually call each other daily around lunchtime and talk for about 5-10 minutes. In that time, we get get a feel for each others' disposition and how the day has gone so far. We talk about what we would both like to have for dinner, and one or the other agrees to cook. Our expectation is that if one cooks, the other cleans. It has always worked out well. If we establish and agree on what we want for dinner during our brief chat, a plan has been set in motion before we return home thus eliminating the indecisiveness of meal planning when we are both tired, hungry, irritable, and don't want to go back out to the store.

    When I get home, I MUST have an hour to unwind. I usually return emails from friends, get on this forum, have a glass of wine, read up on fishing reports, do some research on something interesting I experienced that day in the OR, etc. My husband does not interrupt me during this time (except to plant a kiss on my forehead), and does not ply me with questions, reminders, housekeeping matters until I can get centered again. When I find that I am relaxed and ready to start 'phase two' of my day, I am MUCH more tolerable. Sometimes when I know that we have a lot to do for the evening, I will shorten my downtime to only 30 minutes. This works well for BOTH of us, and I grant him that same decompression time when I am off and he comes home from work.

    I don't have kids, so it is easy for me to implement this 'mental downtime'. However, I learned this strategy from my parents, who had 4 kids. Mom would often call me before she headed home from work and gave me brief instructions on what to start for dinner. I did the prep work for her and had everything set up, measured out and ready to put on the stove. Her and Dad would take an hour (sometimes more) to go outside, sit by the pool and decompress. The kids knew not to disturb them, and were expected to start on homework while they were unwinding. If an issue came up where we absolutely needed them, we would talk amongst ourselves first and then ask Mom and Dad what they thought of our plan.

    Honey, you NEED some downtime to just vent, be by yourself, take a long shower, listen to some music, or just do NADA. You can't be expected to be an angel 24/7. You aren't a Stepford Nurse/Wife/Mother. Mental downtime is so important, and I think you know that seem to need some tip/tricks in order to establish a routine that works for you.

    From the description of your worklife, you are constantly giving 110% of yourself to your patients and your co-workers, which is the nature of our work. When you come home, the last thing you want is to fulfill another request, take on another task, deal with negativity, or solve another problem. Your 'sympathy battery' is running low. You have simply had enough and you need to re-charge. Would this be a correct assumption?

    What have you done in the past to decompress? What do you love to do on the weekends? What seems to be the most challenging aspect of coming home? Is it thinking about all you need to get done? Do you feel that you are coming home from one job to start another?
  14. by   DizzyLizzyNurse
    EAP I think stands for Employee Assistance Program. It's a program that a lot of workplaces participate in and it offers free counseling and help for workers.