In the field of nursing, it can be difficult to stay positive. That’s one reason why 40 percent of hospital nurses feel burnt out. That’s one reason why nurse recruiting and retention is slipping. Fortunately, we can take simple steps to improve our morale, and enjoy our day-to-day. To mention one step, we can be grateful for our daily gifts. Being grateful breeds positivity. It’s a conscious effort to enjoy the people, the things, and the activities that surround you. It’s a chance to slow down, improve your move, and improve your life. With continual gratefulness, positivity grows, and it becomes a habit – and a very good habit at that. That’s why we encourage positivity by encouraging others to build a “grateful list.”
What’s a Grateful List?
It’s simply a list of all of the things that you are grateful to have in your life. It’s a list of things you cherish, things you enjoy doing, and people you enjoy being around. Making a grateful list lets you soak in your surroundings. It lends value to the everyday items that surround you.
Nursing and Gratefulness
As nurses, we too often neglect to be grateful. To take a breath and to enjoy our surroundings. This can be difficult in the home, as well as the workplace. This mentality too easily breeds negativity, and that can slip into our personal and professional lives. Negativity, like positivity, can be cyclical, and as nurses, negativity can build and lead to burning out. Gratefulness breaks that cycle, and it gives us a positive platform to build further positivity.
My Grateful List
That’s why I strive to be grateful every day. I’ve taken a moment to create my grateful list. It’s simple, but I know it’s effective. Here’s my grateful list:
So take some time, and ask yourself what you are grateful for. Make a physical list if you’d like, or just make a habit to remind yourself of your blessings at least once per day. Ask yourself, what am I thankful for, and what brings me joy in my life? It can be as simple as a cup of tea in the morning or as powerful as a lifelong friend. It can be a favorite meal at your favorite restaurant. It can be your health. Let’s take a moment to point out a variety of things that you can add to your list:
Things You Can Be Grateful For:
Celebrate your friends. Those people who support you and understand you. The friend you met in middle school. The friend you met last week at the coffee shop. Give thanks for every friend in your life, and take time to cherish the moments that you share with your friends. Feel free to share your gratitude for your friendships with your friends themselves! Send a thank you card out of the blue. Set up a date to grab lunch together. Give your friend some fresh-cut flowers. Or go for a walk and enjoy a beautiful day.
You can always count on your family. Take time to appreciate your family and show your love by reaching out to them. Give Aunt Sue a call, you haven’t talked to her in a few weeks. Or write a letter to your niece Ruth, she’s off studying abroad in Spain. Maybe it’s time that you met up with your brother for a lunch. Or perhaps a chess game with your father. You can show and share your gratitude for your family by spending some time with them!
Your pets greet you as you come in the door from a day’s work. They’re there to cuddle, and to play. Take some time every day to bond with your pets. If you have cats, embrace your gratitude for their warmth by playing with them, feeding them treats, buying a new toy, or simply by petting them and taking a snooze in the afternoon sun. If you have dogs, get outside for a walk, take your pup to the dog park, or toss the frisbee. Or you can pet them and take a snooze in the afternoon sun!
The simple things
There are so many simple, little things that we can be thankful for every day. Here are a few ideas, but the boundaries are limitless.
- A morning cup of joe: Who doesn’t love waking up to the fresh bold taste of coffee, and the caffeine boost that comes with it?
- A favorite outfit: Maybe it’s a little black dress, or maybe it’s a pair of sweatpants and an old t-shirt.
- Your home: Home is where the heart is. Embrace the warmth of your home and the memories and comfort that it provides.
Your favorite activities
Your favorite activities give you a break from the day-to-day rigmarole, and they bring meaning to your life. Be sure to enjoy your favorite activities often, and cherish them!
- A trip to the movies: Get a ticket to the next blockbuster at your nearest silver screen.
- Crafting: If you’re a do-it-yourselfer and love to work with your hands, hop on Pinterest and find a crafting project that you’d love to complete.
- Take a day off: When you need a break, seize it. Make the most of a day off of work or a three day weekend. Take a road trip. Plan an adventure. Spend a day downtown. Whatever you’d enjoy the most!
- Take a hike: Fresh air does a body good. If you love nature and hitting the trail, it’s time to strap on your hiking boots and get outdoors!
- Paint, sculpt, draw, etc.: Are you an artist? Enjoy expressing yourself, and produce beautiful pieces all the while. You can give your creations to others as a gift to further show gratitude for people in your life!
- Cooking a good meal: When is the last time you made yourself a good, home-cooked, made from scratch meal? Take out a favorite recipe, or find a new meal to prepare. Then hit your local grocer and get cooking!
- Game night: Invite friends and family over for a game night.
- Visit the museum: Examine art, learn some science, or absorb some history at a favorite museum. Visiting the museum gives you time to appreciate the beauty that life presents.
- Listen to a concert: Follow your favorite band, and catch them while they’re at a venue here in town!
Again, being grateful breeds positivity. We have so many things for which we can be grateful. Embrace these joys in your life, and encourage a positive mentality in yourself and others. If you’re struggling with your work in the field of nursing, consider creating a grateful list to stay mindful of positivity in your life. You can read success stories from nurses, hospital heads, and other medical professionals here from those who’ve taken advantage of SelfCare for HealthCare nurse retention and engagement programs.