1. Celebrate your traditional holiday on a different day
Having to work on you favorite holiday isn’t ideal. But it doesn’t mean you have to feel blue, either. Rather than feel like you’re missing out on your favorite festivities, start a new tradition or celebrate the way you always have with your family, just on a different day.
2. Make your shift special
Plan a party with your co-workers. Choose a themed menu or post a potluck sign-up sheet in the break room. Organize a Secret Santa gift exchange with a dollar limit, so that everyone gets a little something.
3. Stay positive
It’s easy to get sucked into workplace drama, difficult patients and budget cuts. One day, when morale at my job was pretty low, someone suggested we go around the table citing one thing that we were happy about. If it sounds hokey, that’s because it is. But after the last person went, we all broke into spontaneous applause and grinned from ear to ear. Hokey and happy often go hand in hand.
4. Boost someone’s spirits
Buy a coffee for the person behind you in the cafeteria line. Stop to ask someone who looks lost if they need help. Take the time to learn the name of a supportive staff member you pass by every day. You can turn someone’s day around or at least nudge it in the right direction.
5. A jar of goodness
Set a large jar out in the back room next to a pile of scrap paper and pens. Encourage co-workers to jot down good deeds and happy moments that occur throughout the month of December and pop them in the jar. At the end of the month, take them out, transcribe them to one page, and post them in an area where the staff can see. You never know how many good things happen out there until you see them all in one place.
6. Give a group donation
When finances are tight, it can be tough to scrape together enough to celebrate the holidays with your family, let alone others in need. But if a group of you rally together with just $10 each, you can make a meaningful donation. Find a local shelter or choose a nonprofit such as Heifer International, Kiva or FEMA.
7. Tell a doctor “Nice job”
Putting aside the long and sometimes bumpy history that nurses and physicians share, you and I both know there are many wonderful doctors out there who take excellent care of their patients and respect the nurses they work with as colleagues. The ones you’d handpick if you found yourself in a hospital bed. Let them know that you notice the work they do. It just might make their year.
8. Think about that time-and-a-half
When all else fails, getting paid that time-and-a-half check will feel great. With each hour that passes, you’ve just earned 50% more than you normally do. Money might not buy happiness, but it sure gets you through a hard day.