By Olivia Cummings, RN
As a nurse for the past 20 years, I’ve gone through many transitions from a fast-paced life in busy trauma center ORs on the East Coast and in cold northern states to serving as an open heart surgery nurse, a hospital private scrub nurse and an office nurse in OB/GYN and family medicine.
The orders, emails, documentation, bells, alarms and cell phone calls barrage you all day, keeping you in constant motion. At the end of your work day, you often are emotionally drained. Away from work, you go through many life changes — getting married, raising children and caring for aging parents.
When you are away from your job, my advice is to turn all of it off and listen to the world around you. Give those who mean the most to you your undivided attention without the diversion of workplace bells and demands. Make sure to take time for yourself by finding a hobby and doing something physically beneficial every day.
Whether it is a craft or athletic adventure, a hobby can give you something worthwhile to pursue and enjoy besides your job. I took piano lessons as a child and also learned to play the violin. Recently, my husband purchased a fantastic violin for me and I have challenged myself to improve my playing. The connection with the strings and the sounds I produce take me to a place all my own.
I also love walking with my dogs down a river walkway near my home. It’s peaceful. My mind focuses on the sound of the water and the rustling tree leaves. Perhaps you can take a day trip or a weekend vacation and lose yourself in your surroundings. Whether you walk, run, swim, play with your dog or take the stairs instead of the elevator — these are great ways to experience mental and physical release.
Find something that you can do every day and you will strengthen your heart and mind, ready to return to work to face the next challenge.
Olivia Cummings, RN, works at Southwest Medical Clinic, Roanoke, Va.
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