Living and working during the silly season!

Cassandra Jovic
It’s that time of year; the festive season is upon us. Nurses, midwives and students are often busy at work and home, and life may be a little chaotic.

It can be helpful to find strategies that aid you during this busy time, so you reach January happy and healthy. We understand that many nurses, midwives and students don’t celebrate Christmas or New Year, but that they may also find this time of year difficult. We hope that this article can help people of all faiths and backgrounds.

We asked some of the team at Nurse & Midwife Support how they cope; here is what they told us.

Nurse & Midwife Support Christmas

Working during the busy period

Helen, one of the midwives in our team, often works over Christmas and New Year. She encourages people to try and enjoy this special time.

“If you are working during the festive season try to have fun and embrace the enjoyable aspects of the silly season. There are often nice activities that you can get involved with. Playing some festive music can be a nice way to get into the spirit and I always like to wear something fun, which tends to bring a smile to people’s faces.

Remember your patients don’t want to be there either, but you can help make their experience better by being kind and tolerant. Being flexible for them and their families might make a big difference to their stay.

There will be some people who don’t cope very well at this time of year and they may be colleagues or patients. You shouldn’t force them take part in anything they are uncomfortable with.

For my midwife counterparts I hope you get to greet a cute Christmas baby or the first baby of 2018!”

Plan ahead and think about others

Elle thinks being prepared can really help and that taking some time to help others can be a wonderful experience.

“If you are going out to a party, plan ahead where possible. If you don’t know whether there is a meal being served, try to eat even a small snack before you go. Something like cheese and biscuits isn’t too messy and gives you some protein which will sustain you.

If you are consuming alcohol, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks so you don’t get too dehydrated, particularly if you are drinking in the sun. Also try to schedule some alcohol free days to give your body a break

I also like to take an opportunity to give something to people who need it more than I do, especially as it can be a hard time for many families. If you are able, it can be very rewarding donating food or presents to a local charity or shelter.

We shouldn’t forget that this can be tough period for some people, especially if they have lost a loved one recently. In my family we try to celebrate the people who are now gone as part of our day. We integrate a memory of the person into our celebrations, like using my Aunt’s china for Christmas lunch, which reminds us of past Christmas’.” 

Getting prepared early

Tayla likes to get organised early and keep as far away from the shops as possible during the busy season.

“I make jam for gifts as early in the year as I can. I am famous for this in my family and they enjoy receiving something I have made.

I then do the rest of my Christmas shopping online, mostly buying vouchers for experiences instead of physical objects. People enjoy having something to look forward to in the New Year, and you can’t choose the wrong size, shape or taste.

Most of these vouchers are sent to you as an email, which you can print off instantly. This means you avoid goods being damaged when they are sent through the post. In just a few hours my Christmas shopping is done and I can get on with December which is notoriously busy in health care.

I also try to get my meals delivered in December so I’m not as tempted to indulge when I see the shops’ Christmas food displays. As part of a Christmas gift to myself, I book in a few personal training sessions to keep on top of my fitness. It’s harder to not go when you have already booked in!” 

Spending a lot of time with Family

Sonya often goes away for Christmas and stays with family. She encourages people to think about strategies that might help them at this busy time of year.

“Spending prolonged periods with my family is wonderful, but sometimes can feel a bit overwhelming. It can be important that we break up these periods so I occasionally pop out for a walk or offer to go down the street to buy an item we have run out of.

I use this time to get a quick stroll in along the river, drive to the beach to look at the ocean or take my time looking at the shops.

Gathering together with your family can be a joyous occasion but there may be times when it can feel overwhelming, so remember to take some time out for yourself.” 

Look after yourself

All of our team agree that it’s important to not to overdo it, give yourself some time to relax and unwind, whether it’s reading a book, doing some yoga, taking a bath or meditating; these activities can be hugely beneficial.

Remember things don’t need to be perfect; you can leave some things until January. It can be worthwhile prioritising your time so that things are manageable and you don’t get too worn out. 

What do you do?

What do you do to get through the silly season? We would love to hear about the strategies that work for you, or strategies that you are planning to try!

If you need a hand, remember we operate 24/7 and you can chat to one of our counsellors anytime 1800 667 877.