I hate nights-feeling depressed

Posted

I'd like some input from any fellow night shift nurses. I have been working nights for about a month now and my body has adjusted mostly to the whole tired aspect, but I find myself completely bored/lonely at night (on the other nights that I'm off)...to the point of having depressing thoughts. I've had issues with this in the past and I have been feeling better until now (When I've gone to nights).... I just feel like since I switched to nights, my mental health hasn't been as well. Has anyone else experienced something like this? I am not one of those people who can just bounce back between days and nights. If I work nights I have to stay on the schedule. I have nothing to do during the night and it's starting to affect me.

At my hospital we have a wait list for days, I heard it's 12-18 months, but they wont move you until they think you are ready... so I have no clue how long this could be. Any advice?? :-/

nlctmrk107b

nlctmrk107b

7 Posts

Hang In there??:balloons: !!

I have been working nights for about a year and a half and the only way I can do is is try and get sleep during the night when I am off. I know you said it is difficult for you to do this but I know it helps for me. I know I also feel better when I try and spend time out in the sun on my days off. I can empathize with you, working nights is hard and unless you have done it, most people don't realize or care how hard it is:(

mickeypat

mickeypat

51 Posts

I agree! Nights are very hard to work! Believe me... I did it for 10 years! Best advice is to sleep during the day when you can and if you have a night off, sleep instead of trying to stay awake. I found it harder to try and stay awake and have a "normal" day with the rest of the world....

Good luck... it takes time to adjust! It does get better...

buildingmyfaith57

buildingmyfaith57

297 Posts

jessca i know what its like being lonely. that how i was when i was working just about any shift. i hope im not taking your post wrong. but you know what i can't see how that anyone who works the pm shift and has to come back in the morning,especially when the do this five to seven nights a week.

kat911

kat911

Specializes in ICU, ED, Transport, Home Care, Mgmnt. Has 28 years experience. 243 Posts

You might consider getting one of those new lights that simulates natural sun light, I forget what the depression is called related to light. . .brain fart! That may be one of your problems. Look around for things to do at night when you are off. I used to get together with friends at 1-2 in the morning and go to breakfast at IHOP or one of the diners on the interstate. Check out the late movies, 1130 or midnight. Find out what is outthere. Go shopping, after midnight is my perferred shopping time at the grocery store or Walmart. These days at least we have more options, usually. If you are in a small town you may not have much. I used to drive 45 mile for a late movie and then go shopping.

kat911

kat911

Specializes in ICU, ED, Transport, Home Care, Mgmnt. Has 28 years experience. 243 Posts

What ever you do, don't watch scary movies late at night, bad move on my part, whatching Holloween at 3am!

JaneyW

JaneyW

Specializes in Perinatal, Education. Has 9 years experience. 640 Posts

I wasn't a nurse at 23, but I was graduated from college, working a full-time job and living on my own. I got lonely a lot, too. Some of it is the situation and the stress of a new job/shift. A lot of it is just plain old growing up! Keep plodding along and try to be flexible. So much of it is how we frame things in our mind. "I have had problems like this before." "I have to stay up on my nights off and keep the same schedule." What would happen if you changed how you think for a week or so? Experiment with different mindsets. Flip flop a bit for a week and see how it goes. Are you working 8s or 12s? Think ahead a few months and plan a vacation. Set a goal. Learn Spanish, or how to quilt. Rent the first season of Lost and get into it. See where I'm heading? Try to take control instead of letting the shift take control of you.

Gompers, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. 2,691 Posts

You might consider getting one of those new lights that simulates natural sun light, I forget what the depression is called related to light. . .brain fart! That may be one of your problems. Look around for things to do at night when you are off. I used to get together with friends at 1-2 in the morning and go to breakfast at IHOP or one of the diners on the interstate. Check out the late movies, 1130 or midnight. Find out what is outthere. Go shopping, after midnight is my perferred shopping time at the grocery store or Walmart. These days at least we have more options, usually. If you are in a small town you may not have much. I used to drive 45 mile for a late movie and then go shopping.

All great suggestions! You mean seasonal affective disorder (SAD), right? I've considered getting one of those lights, too. I'm usually okay, but my husband gets very depressed without sunlight, and he works days! Like if we're having a really dreary week or two, he's all bummed and then his personality does a 180 the day the sun comes out.

I have a friend who works nights at another hospital. Once in a while on our days off, we'll meet for a late movie (10 or 11pm) and then we'll go sit at an all-night diner or Denny's until 4am chatting. It makes us feel more normal, believe it or not!

Also try getting your nights grouped together so you have days off together as well. That way it's easier to adjust back to a normal schedule for a few days here and there. The problem is when you have only one night off at a time - it's pointless to try and sleep at night on those occassions since you go back to work the next day anyways.

ETA: If you're not working 3 12's a week, you might want to switch to that. It will give the the best chance to have lots of days off in a row.

And here is a list of things I regularly do on my nights off when I just can't seem to sleep:

1. Have a TV marathon and watch everything I've TiVO-ed all week long.

2. Get all my grocery shopping done at an empty 24-hour superstore.

3. Cook or bake and freeze things for the next few weeks.

4. Have a spa night - take a long bubble bath, give myself a facial, manicure, and pedicure.

5. CLEAN the whole house, just no vacumming!

6. Do my bills and paperwork and organize everything.

7. Finish tons of laundry and ironing while watching a movie on the TV.

8. Stay up all night long on the internet - especially on All-nurses.com!!!

:)

shannonibellen

shannonibellen

25 Posts

Seasonal Affective Disorder

crb613, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg/Tele/ER. Has 7 years experience. 1,632 Posts

I worked nights for a long time in a previous job ( not nsg) it was awful! I would be so grouchy & mixed up on my days off....I would try to stay up on my last of my schedule so I could sleep that night. Then take a good nap on my 1st night back. This worked for me...maybe it might for you too. Nights are hard & keep you completely mixed up (or me anyway) I also was sick/tired a lot on this schedule...stopped when I went to days! If nothing else works maybe a trip to the Dr. might be in order! I am getting ready to start nights 7p-7a....dread it like the plague! Good Luck!

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