It’s that time of the year again...the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping and the decorating.The holidays can be even more stressful for nurses because sick people don’t suddenly get well and shifts have to be staffed.
While businesses and corporations may even close for a few days during the winter holidays, nurses typically don’t get time off. Usually facilities even restrict vacation time around the holidays and only those with long term seniority might get a few days off.
Managers are usually tuned in to the acute level of resentment that can build if anyone gets any special treatment and concessions for time off during the holidays, so they oftentimes make blanket rules about it.
So, how do you manage it all? Use your nursing skills and get organized! Prioritize, make lists, and delegate as much as you can. Don’t stress over the delegation. Give people tasks they can accomplish and either have a backup plan or let it go. In other words, don’t delegate the main course unless you’re absolutely certain the person will come through. But, if the dessert gets forgotten, no one will starve, and people might actually be grateful for the calories they saved!
It is important to remember that perfection should not be your goal. Nurses are overachievers and this is much easier said than done. However, enjoying the time with family and friends and making memories is much more important. The memories are what will last.
Will anyone remember how well your home passed the white glove test? Or that your gravy had absolutely no lumps? Perhaps, but they are much more likely to remember how much fun everyone had singing carols around the out-of-tune piano, or playing board games or making cookies together.
Prioritize the things that you simply must do, and then take a few shortcuts. Buy a dessert instead of making one. Cut your prep time by using items that are already cut or chopped. They will cost a little more, but time is money too.
Do all of your chopping at one time. For instance, if you need onions, carrots and celery in the gravy for around the turkey and for the stuffing, chop them all at one time and separate them. Make a menu and plan your prep from this list. Organize ingredients with the utensils and baking pans so they can be easily put together.
Be realistic about the number of dishes you have to have. Over indulgence can make everyone uncomfortable and even sick. A few standards are all you need. What you don’t have this year can be reserved for the next occasion.
Set a schedule for the days leading up to the holiday. Get a few things accomplished each day. No one says you have to spend ten hours straight cleaning. Tackle one project at a time, and again, delegate tasks to family members. This gives them all ownership in making sure the house stays clean through the holiday as well.
Take care of yourself - eat right, get plenty of fluids and rest! The added stress can take a toll on your system, and no one wants to get sick for the holidays!
Merry Christmas, Nurses!