Stop Putting Your Life on Hold

What have you put on hold in your life?

As nurses, we’re often accustomed to caring for other people’s needs ahead of our own. This habit may continue into our personal lives, and sometimes to the point that it may seem as if we’re placed our life on hold as other priorities continue to override our own. By focusing on putting ourselves first once in awhile, it can help us make positive changes in our personal and professional life.

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What have you put on hold in your life?

Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow, or next month, or next year, or … Maybe never. Nurses are busy. As caregivers, we tend to put other’s needs in front of our own. We strive to do as much as we can, for as many people as possible, in the least amount of time. This can lead to missing breaks, staying for a second shift, or not taking that class we were thinking about. We might feel like we don’t have time to add one more thing, or we’re too tired to spend our personal time the way we’d planned.

After a while, the tendency to put things important to us off until another day may become reflexive, and this behavior can leak into our personal life. When we keep putting our life on hold it could eventually affect our physical and mental health if we deprive ourselves of meeting our needs.

Why Not Me, Why Not Now?

I’ll Be Happy When…

Why do we wait for happiness? Sometimes we associate a new job, finishing a class, losing weight, or a specific day of the week, as what’s standing in the way of happiness. But often once we reach that desired destination, we realize that it wasn’t the barrier. Or we discover that there’s something else we believe we should accomplish first before we can be happy. If we continue with this pattern of putting our happiness on hold, dissatisfaction may become our default emotion.

I’ll Do That When I Have Time to…

So far no one has had any more luck coercing Father Time to slow down than they have had in fooling Mother Nature. As much as we try, we all have the same 24 hours each day. The key is dividing up and prioritizing how we want to spend this time. If we feel as if we have no time to do what we want, or what we enjoy, it can take an emotional toll. Make living life now a priority, instead of waiting to enjoy life.

They’ll Be Upset If I Don’t…

Sometimes it’s difficult to say no when helping others can feel satisfying. It can provide us with a sense of pride and purpose. But if we spend too much time giving to others and neglecting ourselves it can build resentment. We can still be helpful to others, although if we always say, yes, and never say, no, we might never have any space on our calendar for ourselves.

Time to Let It Go

We’re allowed to change. What worked at one stage of our life might not bring us joy in another. There are many things that occur in our lives that can cause us to shift our schedule, or our priorities, or to put goals on hold. They could be related to different stages of our career, our life, or those of our family, that require our attention. Although the years may pass, and things may change, sometimes we’re left with the mindset from a different time of our life.

It might be time to let go of obligations that don’t fit what we want out of our life now. If we do a self-assessment, we might determine that we might be compromising aspects of our self-care. This could result in us pushing our bodies harder than we should to meet what we feel are our obligations day after day. We should be able to shift our perspective to feel joy, instead of guilt, when we reach for what we want instead of putting our needs on hold.

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

It might feel as if we’re being selfish in making ourselves, and our lives, a priority. As nurses, we educate our clients about taking care of themselves with proper sleep and nutrition for better overall health and well-being, but we don’t always listen to our own advice. We know that listening to our body can help more than just us. When we work to meet our needs first, and our goals, we shouldn’t think of it as being selfish. It can help us be more productive, to be able to give more to others, and care for our patients easier.

Self-care should extend to examining the goals we’ve put on hold for our personal and professional life. Even starting with small steps toward bigger goals and dreams can help refresh our mindset and help us remember what’s important.

Gain a Positive Return on Investing in Yourself

Don’t put your personal wellbeing on the back burner by always saying yes to things you don’t want to do, or that don’t serve you purposefully, or that take time away from meeting your goals. You might find a much more positive return on investing in yourself.

What have you put on hold in your life?

Maureen Bonatch MSN, BSN, RN draws from years of experience in nursing administration, leadership and psychiatric nursing to write healthcare content. Her work has appeared in numerous health system websites and healthcare journals. Her experience as a fiction author helps her craft engaging and creative content. Learn more about her freelance writing at and her fiction books at

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17 Posts

I've put on hold my overall happiness and health.

Two years of nursing school and my first year as an RN put me in a deep depression, wherein I had to leave my first job and seek help. It's about a year from then and I can honestly say that I've found my happiness in truly loving myself and ensuring I take care of body, my investments, and those that I love.

I've recently started an at-home yoga practice and preparing my own meals, consisting mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables. (And chocolate. Cannot forget the chocolate!) Although already happy, I'm finding that this new routine of mine on my off days has helped with my energy and increased my happiness and contentment in life. I'm also finding that somehow my memory is getting better, too.

I have nothing but my patients to thank for my happiness and contentment. I know it's so cliche of me to say this... but they've inspired me to ensure I'm in my best form so that I may be able to take care of them with all that I have.

Take care, everyone.

Maureen Bonatch MSN, BSN, MSN, RN

41 Articles; 77 Posts

Specializes in Leadership | Psychiatric Nursing | Education. Has 25 years experience.

Thank you for sharing! This is wonderful how you've invested in yourself. ?

Specializes in LTC. Has 26 years experience.

I understand this, because I graduated from nursing school at age 55, but I was a school bus driver for 15 years before that, because I love kids.11921775_1466915613635253_371780135612200597_o.thumb.jpg.a30301e27a320bf7160791fbe709494f.jpg