12 Tips for Nurses: The Paradox of Getting More Done is To Do Less

The holiday season is nicknamed the Season of Overdoing. Nurses are so good at doing this all year long that during this holiday season, they run the risk of missing out on the joy and celebration. This article has 12 tips to help you revolutionize the way you do holidays! Nurses Announcements Archive Article

12 Tips for Nurses: The Paradox of Getting More Done is To Do Less

Nurses love to fix things, solve problems, take care of people and make everything nice. As a nurse you learn to make do and to find ways around things that do not work. Nurses go out of their way for other people. So in this holiday season, it is easy to see how, as a nurse, you are inclined to do even more for everyone else.

In fact, a new word has been coined, Excessmas, that speaks to this season of overdoing. (Harvey Yoder, Mennonite Pastor). As a nurse, the increase in demands is felt at home, at work and personally in the effort to please.

Is there a way to balance doing with being or do you withdraw and just hibernate for 2 weeks?

One advantage I saw in working the holiday season was I had an excuse that left me off the hook for many of the holiday preparations. It was not the answer because I ended up shortchanging my ability to actually enjoy the season and the blessings of family, love and celebration.

We all know about the 12 days of Christmas, here is a twist on that for nurses:

1. Suggest someone sends you pears, oranges and fruit.

It will be much healthier to consume and you will not have to cook so much.

2. Open up to receive from others and do not be in such a rush to fill the void for everyone.

Bite your tongue, sit on your hands, whatever, to simply sit back and let someone else do - you need to practice "being."

3. Every day tell someone 'No' at least 3 times.

You want to give yourself at least twice what you give out. This is practice for the rest of the year.

4. Call an old friend and talk.

Share the Christmas spirit with someone you have not spoken to in a while. This is an easy way to make someone feel good and it simply takes a little time. Do not do anything else during the conversation.

5. Go for the gold.

What do you really really want? Stop settling and make a decision to go for the gold ring in your life. Write out your dream. You are going to refer to this often.

6. Look for the abundance in your life.

Focus on all that is good and ignore whatever is not. Stop telling yourself, "I should not have to deal with this." Whatever is going on is simply a lesson for another day. Be grateful for it and let it go. What you focus on grows.

7. Watch Swan Lake or set up another ritual during this time.

This time of year is great for reflection which helps you fine tune what works in your life and helps you discard what doesn't.

8. Hire someone to clean your house.

It is not that expensive and is worth it to come home and have your place clean and fresh. Practice deep breathing and enjoy this feeling.

9. Dance.

Turn up the music and go for it. No one will watch, everyone is so addicted to their phone, they will not notice, so do not hold back!

10. Set up a to-do list for the man in your life and sit back and enjoy his effort.

Do not do it for him just because you can do it better, sit back and simply say, Thank you, darling!

11. Sing Carols and any other song.

Sing loud and proud. It is great to release stress, open your lungs and have some fun. Laugh at the silliness.

12. Delegate anything else that you can.

Remember, you are practicing for the New Year. And since you are not making any resolutions instead you are going to Revolutionize your life, this is all to prep for the new year and new you.

Notice, what is on and not on the list. Wrapping, shopping and other preparation needs to be delegated or find alternatives for these activities. This time of year is a great time to teach your children to prepare food. Skip big dinners and eat more snacks. Keep it healthy and use fruit and veggie trays or raw nuts and dried fruit. Instead of cookies, make your own tortilla chips, use veggies like zucchini, kale, carrots. Make fresh salsa and guacamole. I hear they are making coconut milk egg nog. Keep meals light and you will have so much more energy and fun.

Drink sparkling water and add in a frozen raspberry or strawberry for festive color. Decorate your table with natural colors of fresh food.

If you do decorate, delegate this job to someone or at least have the taker downer lined up so you only do part of it. Remember you are looking for someone to train because next year, you are going to revolutionize the way you do things.

We live in the days when 60 is the new 40 and doing less is doing more. Remember you are in training for the New Year Revolution.

Part 2 is New Year Revolution: How to stop making resolutions and finally make those changes you want

Mentor to Healthcare Leaders; from US Specialty: 36 year(s) of experience in Leadership Development

2 Articles   73 Posts

Share this post

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

Fantastic advice. I've scaled things down this year and am feeling guilty about the people left to fend for themselves. Especially when they sent gifts when I didn't send any. I have been a good friend to these people in other ways during the year, so I'm trying to just let myself receive gratefully without guilt... Having a tough time, but I did need a quieter holiday this year. Love your article.

I worked with a few nurses recently who really need to read this article. That said, I doubt they could agree to 'do less' than they do. They would need some hard core proof :D

I worked with a nurse (my preceptor at last job) who was hands down the 'best' oncology nurse on the floor, besides having been there for almost 20 years. She seemed literally plagued by all her ideas for interventions, patient teaching, things to chart, things to look up. She needed to be two nurses for her own health. I think if I'd suggested reprioritizing her tasks, she would have looked at me like I barked. But she stayed late nearly every shift, hated it, and was quite stressed and upset a lot. Patients and families loved her and I'm sure still do.

I did the same job as she did in about two thirds the time she took, but my brain did not generate the sheer amount of NURSING that this woman's did. She could slow way down and still be the best on the floor. And that's just on the job. At least I see her skiing and sail boating on Facebook at least once a month, maybe that's how she survives!

I've watched new nurses struggle with this. How to know what's most important in the moment when you are asked to do ten things at the same time? The strain on their faces is hard to bear. But the only thing that seems to 'heal' this is time, and a lot of positive feedback, offering alternative ways to look at a situation, and some more time and experience.

Specializes in Leadership Development.

gooselady, BSN you bring up the essential struggle as a nurse and human being. When is enough enough? I like your answer, keep evaluating, stay positive and appreciate what you have done!

Specializes in Leadership Development.

Let the guilt go... you have permission. You said it yourself - you have been there all year long. I am glad and so are so many people who will also feel it is ok from reading your post - that you are taking care of yourself. New beginning and hope. This is the season.

For the last two years I have shortened my Christmas gift-buying and have my spouse buying for his family, while I buy for mine. It takes away so much stress from me basically because his family asks for extremely specific things. My family is a little more laid back and appreciates hand-made gifts which I enjoy doing. Every year I cut down the Christmas card list(yes, I know this is outdated!!) and I do not go over-board with baking. It has made a huge difference in the after-affects of the Christmas season. I don't feel like I am totally exhausted, I actually sleep better and I feel more positive knowing that I accomplished all that I set out to do. I also do not get overly involved in other people's projects. I would be the type who would volunteer to help or to take over a project and then regret it because it seemed to be what tipped the scales for me. Learning to not get overly wrapped up in all the hustle and bustle has certainly helped me to be able to enjoy the season much more!! Delegate, Delegate, delegate!!! I loved this article!!

Great tips and advices. Thank you for sharing.