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Don’t Complicate Your Mind: 10 Simple Ways To Mentally Declutter

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Have you ever felt that your mind is in constant overdrive? Your thoughts are going at a million miles per second. You then start to feel overwhelmed and confused. A little anxiety may even set in because you simply could not figure out what to do. All you want to do is just to be able to fight the mental clutter so that you can relax and get on with achieving your goals.

A lot of us have experienced this struggle at some point in our lives but we do not talk about it; we do not want to be judged as not having our lives together. Personally, I know what I want and I know the things that need to be done but most times I am bombarded with all these thoughts of my past, present, and future that sometimes I do not know where to start. Even just before writing this blog my mind was filled with clutter and I decided that it was time to take action and free up my mental space- for my peace of mind and general well being.

Hey, so don’t you worry. You are not alone. Below I will share ten (10) simple and practical things that I do and you can do to organize your mind and rid it of clutter. Try to incorporate one or more of these activities into your life to stop feeling so overwhelmed and anxious all the time. So let’s get started:

1. Organize your physical environment

Have you ever wanted to study, complete a project or create your to-do list but could not because your physical environment was too messy? You had books, clothes, shoes, makeup, snacks thrown all about. Did you know that physical clutter can lead to mental clutter? Thankfully, now you do! Imagine having an untidy bedroom or disorganized workspace. You will be constantly plagued with thoughts that you need to tidy that area because your brain is actively seeing the clutter which can be mentally draining. Also, an untidy environment causes you to be less efficient and forces your brain to work extra hard because of excessive stimuli. So put everything in its proper place and as you declutter your physical environment you will be amazed to find that your mind is also decluttered.

2.  Write things down

Writing helps to relax the mind. It creates an avenue where you can organize your thoughts and put things into perspective. You can choose to create something as simple as a “to-do list” or if you want to be more detailed you can create a personalized planner or journal. All those scattered tasks and thoughts can then be easily integrated when you incorporate journal writing in your day to day activities. Not only will you have the benefit of organizing your thoughts but you can vividly see your aspirations, goals and other things that are of importance to you. This is perfect especially for persons who enjoy writing and are task oriented.

3. Prioritize! Prioritize! Prioritize!

In very simple terms, do not waste your time on things that will not add value to your life. Put your energy into things that are of utmost importance to you- your dreams, goals, aspirations, and focus on those. Try to complete those tasks that have a deadline first so that you do not spend valuable time worrying about not finishing them. Those assignments that are not so vital can be left for last. Remember not to pressure yourself into believing that you have to multitask in order to fuel efficiency. Expend your energy into completing one task properly. Know when you are tired and take a break. Then, go ahead and move on to another activity. It is also okay to ask for assistance when you need it. We all have limitations. The sooner you accept that you cannot do it all the easier it will be to release any built-up tension your brain consumed. You must also get in the habit of creating a plan that actually helps meeting your goals. Go ahead and develop that action plan that tailors to your needs. Finally, make a conscious effort to ensure that all the decisions that you make align with your priorities.

4. Forget about the past and live in the present

Many of us struggle with mental clutter because we continue to allow things that happened in the past to control us, thus creating mental clutter. Holding on to the past will not allow you to accomplish anything but misery and frustration. Do not dwell on the “shouldas”, “wouldas”, “couldas”. It can be mentally exhausting trying to figure it all out at once. Choose to live in the present and make the best of every moment. You do not need to have life figured out all the time. Accept what was, embrace the changes and keep moving forward.

5. Be certain about your decisions

Do you often find yourself flip-flopping around with making decisions? Do you frequently put off decision making? Your brain can become clobbered causing you to feel overwhelmed. Take some time to thoroughly appraise the consequences of your decisions and once a decision has been made do not renege. Simply put, stop being indecisive.

6. Embrace positivity

Many of us do wish we could be this “happy go lucky” person on a daily basis. The reality is that we have all bad days; unfortunately, too many of us settle on those moments. Those moments create a catalyst for negativity to take residence in your brain. Thoughts of being unworthy, a failure, or not good enough slowly creeps in and produces the worst kind of mental clutter- not believing in yourself. Be mindful of these unfavourable thoughts; counteract them by coaching your brain to speak about the good things and engage in positive self-talk.

7. Hideaway

Sometimes it is just best to take yourself away from all the noise and distractions and find a nice, quiet place to relax. Create a personal space to unwind; a place that reflects your likes and will bring you peace.  A place where you can escape to that no one else knows about. Our world can be very demanding and often leads to unwarranted stress. So when you feel pressured or caved in go to your personalized sweet escape space to:

  • collect your thoughts
  • recite your positive self-affirmations
  • burn your scented candles
  • journal
  • deep breathe

or simply to do whatever you want!

8. Stay away from toxic people

Toxic people are unhealthy emotionally. They drain your energy with their self-hate and negative energy. They will add no value to the quality of your life. Toxic people can jeopardize your memory and reasoning because their associated behaviour will drive your brain into a severe state of stress and mental clutter. You do not have to put up with them; whether they be family, friends, or coworkers. It is vital that you set boundaries when dealing with these people so that your time, energy, and peace of mind are not compromised.

9. Self Care

Another way to rid yourself of mental clutter is to look after your mind, body, and soul the best way possible. You have to make it a priority to take care of yourself first. Remember, it is impossible to pour from an empty cup. Fuel yourself on a daily basis, especially when you identify an unfavourable stressor. Ensure that you feed your body well by incorporating a variety of foods that will provide you with a balanced diet. Also, try to get adequate rest or sleep to promote brain functioning; after all, there’s no health without good mental health.

10. Talk

Hey, you do not have to go through your mental clutter struggles alone. It does help to talk to someone else about all those built up disorganized thoughts you may be experiencing. If you have that one person you can confide in with some of your most troubling thoughts, arrange a time where you can speak with them and release your mental clutter in the process. Talking to someone about this may not be simple but it does so much in helping to alleviate the stress of mental clutter and reviving your mental sanity.

 

You do not have to allow mental clutter to take charge of your life anymore. Incorporate some of these activities into your routine to finally rid yourself of the strain that mental clutter causes. Declutter your mind so that you can have more energy to do things that will actually lead you to have a better quality of life and to be the very best version of yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

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Shush world – I’m Marching To The Beat Of My Own Drum

A few weeks ago I was browsing through a popular social media website when I came across a well known nurse influencer reflecting on his achievements in the past year. He was expressing his gratitude on finally achieving his Associate Degree in Nursing and in the same breath he was encouraging others to go after their dreams and to never give up. I was genuinely happy for him and I too was motivated by his accomplishments. As I scanned through the comments section I realized that he had the same effect on a lot of persons. Many congratulated him and wished him continued success with his nursing journey. I continued with my scrolling and I came across someone who commented ” I thought you already gotten your BSN, congrats though”. Now to be honest this struck a nerve in me. I had several mixed emotions just going off simultaneously. Here we had a nurse being happy with his journey and had others celebrating with him then here comes “Negative Nancy” trying to down play his success. Why do people think that because you do not follow society’s “undocumented traditional rules” makes you unsuccessful?

Unfortunately this is the reality, especially in today’s society when the magnitude of an individual’s success is often measured by the depth of his or her educational qualifications or other material possessions. Society has caused so many of us to continually put a time frame on our goals or dreams and if we do not achieve them in that given time frame it makes us feel less than enough. Many of us were programmed in such a way to follow a routine and any deviation from that may cause you to be frowned upon. It was go to high school then college then university, land that dream job, meet the love of your life, get married, purchase the dream home with the white picket fence, get the pet dog, have four kids and live happily ever after. If one happened to not fit in anywhere along this continuum best believe that he or she may face some harsh criticisms.

In 2006 I graduated from high school. After high school I wanted to go to a local school of nursing but I was not accepted at the time because I was too young. Yes, I was crushed but I decided that I would get a job and work for a year or two and then reapply to the nursing school. I told my mother about my plans and let’s say that she was adamant that I should go to the local community college and pursue another discipline because that was simply the order of things (even though deep down I was not interested). Anyway, I applied to the college and I told my interviewer how much I loved law just so I could in (lol don’t follow me) ; just to make my mother happy. So you can say that at the time I was living her dream and not mine. Trying to please her and not myself. Trying to make her happy and not me. We have to understand that everyone’s journey is DIFFERENT. You do not have to follow mainstream society standards. Not everyone will obtain a high school diploma at sixteen; after high school not everyone will go straight to college or university to get that degree; not everyone will get married before having kids. Does that make you a failure? Of course not! Choose the path that suits you and make you happy. Following society’s so called rules will cause you to end up living everyone’s dreams except yours.

Instead of being bullies and down play another person success we should make conscious efforts to celebrate each other even if it does not fit your criteria or society’s standards. Let us not use our personal definitions of what success is to validate the other individual’s worth.

“Trust your own instincts, go inside, follow your heart right from the start. Go ahead and stand up for what you believe in. As I’ve learned, that’s the path to happiness”. Lesley Ann Warren.

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I LOVE NURSING, BUT I HATE MY JOB

Another Monday morning and your alarm goes off. You lie in bed for another fifteen minutes contemplating why you need your present job. You reluctantly get up and out of bed, slowly dragging yourself to prepare for the day that’s ahead. You feel miserable, frustrated, depressed- not even that warm cup of your favorite coffee is helping to alleviate the whirlwind of emotions you are experiencing. With every core of your being you are there wishing and hoping and praying that you do not have to go to that job you hate so much. Sounds familiar right?

Can you remember when you first applied for that ideal job? You were probably filled with excitement, a renewed energy like never before and have goals about your new nursing role that you could not wait to achieve. You wake up every day with feelings of contentment and complete job satisfaction because you simply loved your job. Then BOOM! That all changed. You start to feel physically, mentally, and emotionally disconnected from your job; that energy that you once had you now feel drained; you have become less vibrant, more miserable. You don’t want to be working anymore. Whether you are working at the bedside or in some other nurse related specialty there might have been a period when you and many others just simply hated their jobs. So what do you do when you hate your job? In this post I want you to realize that if you feel this type of way about your job then you have to start taking ACTION to change your situation. Stop complaining! Stop making excuses!

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU HATE YOUR JOB

Make an effort to let go of your negative feelings. Yes, going to work during your schedule shifts when you hate your job can be extremely challenging. You have the best intentions to give quality care to your patients but you are simply overwhelmed and cannot bother to carry out your tasks. The poor staffing, bully coworkers, ungrateful patients and family members- you just about have had enough of all of these. Either you decide to be happy and bright or dull and negative. The CHOICE is yours. Sometimes it is the perception that we have of our situation that breeds negativity. Choose to tackle your work days by making a conscious effort to be positive and open-minded. Before you go off to work, look at yourself in the mirror and recite your favorite mantra. That will help to give you the extra push that you need to start your work day. You may even make a list of the things you love about your job (your coworkers, the schedule, flexibility) and focus on those things to help brighten your day. Stop wallowing in negativity and self-pity. Let it go!

Be an agent of change. You obviously hate something about your job. So do you stay and mope or do you get up off your butt and try and change your situation? There are several steps you can take to achieve this. For example- if you hate your job because of staffing issues be strategic and arrange to have a one on one meeting with your nursing managers so that you can raise your concerns through a professional medium. Go with a plan of action where you already have measures of possible solutions to be discussed. Refrain from complaining and have an open mind. Another step you can take is to become an active member of your nursing union or association that is actively lobbying for improved working conditions for their members. You may experience a feeling of empowerment when you realize that you are not alone and that you have professional support.

Learn a new skill. The reason you may hate your job is because you feel stuck; after all, you’ve been in that same nursing role for umpteenth years and my goodness there just hasn’t been any opportunities for growth. Let me tell you this, you got to go out and grab it! It is yours for the taking. Do not sit and wait for opportunities to present itself. It ain’t gonna fall from the sky. Let the internet be your best friend and do your own research. You may also get first hand information from other nurses who have studied the same specialty. You might want to go into a completely different area that is not related to nursing. It does not matter. It is the worst feeling to be doing the same thing over and over and over again. Day in and day out. My gosh! How freaking boring and draining! Make the effort to learn something new.

Find a new job. Do not feel that you are obligated to stay in a work environment that is not suitable for you. Only you alone can truly understand how disgruntled you truly are by staying in a job you hate. There are so many nurses that spend many years in a job that they do not enjoy. It benefits no one when you do this. Research has shown that when you are happy in your job, your job performance is better and patient care outcome is also better. As mentioned above, the internet is available for your advantage. Research available job openings and find your best fit. Conduct a thorough research so that you do not end up going into another job that comes with similar problems that you are avoiding.

Find your passion. Listen, this may be one of the hardest things you ever have to do in your life. It is not easy. You may have gone to Google a million and one times and typed “ways to find my passion”. You are laughing out loud because you know it’s true. You are definitely not alone. You may start by writing down a list of things that you love or enjoy doing. Try matching those things you have identified with your personality, your beliefs, values, attitudes, work ethics, lifestyle among others. Dedicate a few moments to examining yourself. Do this by asking yourself a series of questions:

  • What do I enjoy doing?
  • What area of nursing do I love?
  • What do I see myself doing for the rest of my life?
  • Can I turn my passion into profit?
  • What does my “perfect day” entails?
  • Will I be willing to relocate if the need arises?

After answering those questions then make the effort to do something about it. Have a plan and work towards to it. Do what make your heart sings. Remember your happiness comes first, always.

If you are a nurse who hates your job just understand that you are not alone and it can happen to any of us. It is good that you can admit to this and then make an effort to seek change. Start at this very moment to do something. No more negativity, no more feeling frustrated, no more complaining. Make a plan of action and carry it out. Only you alone can change your situation. The power is yours!

As I go I leave you with this quote from Dr. Val Gokenbach- “finding your passion will lead you to finding work that motivates and satisfies you.” 

 

The Candy Stripe Nurse 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DO WE VALUE NURSES?

If you should carry out a survey asking nurses or even persons of the general public this question I believe that you would be gravely disappointed with the results because many persons are of the view that nurses are not valued at the degree they should. How can nurses be considered as the “heart of healthcare”, yet be treated as useless items waiting to be disposed of in a garbage dump?!  Sad isn’t it?

Value – what does it mean?

When you think of the word “value” what comes to mind? You may regard value as (someone or something) to be extremely important; of great worth; priceless ; irreplaceable. Some, if not all of these came to mind right? Such beautiful and powerful words to give a clearer meaning as to what some of us consider the word “value” to mean. I can imagine the joy and feelings of worth it must bring to be considered as someone of value! On the contrary, feelings of “I’m not good enough”; useless; unimportant; replaceable may befall someone who is deemed as valueless.   Unfortunately, for the latter an array of nurses are made to harbor these negative feelings making them loathe and regret ever becoming a nurse. Some are even left to ask “is it worth it?”  Sadly, it may not be.

All that glitters is not gold…

How can nurses feel appreciated when majority of the time they are praised in private and harshly criticized in public? How can one expect nurses to feel valued when cries for safe patient-nurse ratio fall on deaf ears? How is it possible for a nurse to feel worthy when the same person that caused her (him) to hold her (his) urine for eight hours said that she (he) is not meant to be a nurse because the nurse was suppose to be at the bedside in 10 seconds right after being called? When the only possible time you see the CEO of the hospital you work occurs when a patient’s relative files a complaint but never when a patient wants you to be publicly recognized for helping to save his or her life. Yes, I know watching those medical shows may have clouded your judgement into believing that the profession is as easy as Sunday mornings, but it could not be more further from the truth. These are the unscripted, day to day issues that continue to cause nurses to question their professional worth.  This is the reality.

Even though a lot of us as nurses love our careers and different jobs, there are quite a few nurses who no longer have that fire ranging inside them to help people the way they use to before they were plagued by emotions of being undervalued. Of course you may say well that is not suppose to change the way care is given, but come on, nurses are  humans too and will most definitely be affected if that is his or her reality.  Whether you like to admit it or not persons like to be celebrated for the work that they do, especially if they put their blood, sweat, and tears into it. Nurses are no different where that is concerned. Even though it may not occur often, when it does ooohhhh child it feels like you walking on cloud nine 🙂 . A simple “thank you” and a smile goes a long way.

Half the truth hasn’t been told…

I am a nurse. I did not chose the profession for what many believe to be job security or the possible career advancements gains. I did however choose to become a nurse because I genuinely have a passion to help those who are physically or mentally unable to help themselves. From as young as six years old I knew I wanted to work in health care. At that stage I thought we lived in a perfect world. I knew nothing of what nurses really faced. Even as a student nurse I was still partially shadowed as to the day to day trials nurses faced. When I became a staff nurse I experienced the harsh reality of the profession and I still chose to serve disregarding those moments when I felt I was not valued in my job.

Every second, every single minute, 24 hours per day, 365 days for the year patients along with their families experience some of the most life changing events of their lives. Whether it is to offer comfort or bask in a joyous occasion a nurse is always there. Nurses make tremendous personal sacrifices, often times leaving their sick child or spouse to care for a stranger’s child, husband or wife; spending birthdays and holidays year after year at your job when all you longed for was to have just one intimate celebration with family and friends. In spite of all the disservice that nurses may receive, this, among a million other things is what nurses do and sadly the public don’t see and appreciate these moments. I know a lot of persons may say “well you chose nursing so why complain” but how many of us can tolerate standing for eight hours doing wound care (sometimes taking out embedded maggots from these wounds) for 30-50 patients without so much as sipping some water to soothe our parched throats; or having urine splashed in your face; or being blamed for the lack of resources available to provide quality health care? This is a lot of nurses reality.  Nurses choose to do what so many are afraid to do and refuse to do. Is it so hard for them to be rewarded in a way they truly deserve? Most nurses are not in the profession for the financial gain( well depends on what you consider gain because I do have friends that when they see my monthly salary are literally left shocked that we do so much yet rewarded with so little;  they wonder how on earth I survive!) some of us simply want to feel a sense of being valued for the selfless work we do. Though my career may not afford me a billion dollars in my bank account I do hope to one day be able to buy a car and a house without having to take out a loan and have extra funds on hand for any unforeseen events. Some of us have to be working up to eighty hours a week to achieve such feat at the expense of  sacrificing our physical and mental well being. We are not ungrateful spoil brats or money hungry but look around you, it’s a jungle out there and we do need to survive.

Is change possible?

Nursing is one of the most under appreciated yet crucial fields. It requires a lot of compassion; empathy; advanced customer service skills and underlying vitality that most fields don’t require. It is sad and disheartening that nurses are pretty much being brushed aside. Nursing is about being human and nurses should thus be considered as such. Validating the work nurses do contributes to enhancing the relationship between us and the persons in our care and their families. We all have one thing in common and that is being human. We can value each other for who we are and what we do. The roles and responsibilities of the nurse can never be quantified. So whether you be the CEO or the patient we simply want to know that you are there for us and that we are VALUED!

 

Think on this quote – “one’s life has value so long as one attribute value to the life of others by means of love, friendship, indignation, and compassion” – Simone de Beauvoir 

 

The Candy Stripe Nurse 🙂

 

 

 

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Nurses- What we are; what we are not

 

 

Nursing is known to be one of the oldest professions in human history dating as far back as 300 A.D. during the reign of the Roman Empire, yet in the 21st century a lot persons still have misguided views about who we are and what we really do. If you ever thought that nurses were just about wearing those pristine white uniforms with the cute little hats on their heads, or wiping butts all day you are in for a big surprise.  I will erase some of the hideous misconceptions you might have about this noble profession and open your eyes to some of the many talents that these awesome group of people possess.

So let’s get started!

1. We are not “night nurses”!

“Night nurse” in this case does not mean a nurse who works on the night shift but unfortunately it is used as a sexual innuendo.  It’s 2018 and some people continue to view nurses as sex symbols. Hello! Could you not? Nurses are hard-working professionals who did not spend years of studying, making infinite sacrifices, completing countless assignments and exams to be called a “night nurse”. It is offensive and very annoying.  So, if you happen to come across a nurse please refrain from asking “will you be my night nurse?” No, most definitely not!

  2. We are not the doctor’s helper or maid

Unfortunately, people do think so. There is a popular view that nurses are always about “yes, doctor” and “no, doctor” and are unable to independently carry out care without a doctor saying this or that needs to be done for a particular patient. Again, this is NOT so!

Did you know that it takes the minimum four years for a nurse to EARN his or her degree in nursing? It does not end there either. He or she will then have to spend several months even years preparing for one of the most important events in their life- passing their license examination. Nurses are licensed to act independently when caring for a patient irrespective of the doctor’s orders. Nurses are skilled individuals who have legal and ethical responsibilities when executing their specialized duties. They are autonomous in diagnosing and offering life saving care to patients every second, every minute, every hour, every day. Hey, we do carry out an order a doctor may have made just as long as it is safe for the patient. Nurses are not subservient to doctors; we are a vital member of the medical team whose aim is to provide patients with the best care possible.

 3. OMG! Yes, there are male nurses!

Oh, you thought only women were suppose to be nurses? Haha! Nope!  One of the reasons nursing is characterized as the noblest of professions is fact that it is not only limited to the female gender. The narrative that males cannot offer care as naturally as females is a factor that contributes to this misconception. The belief that being a caregiver or nurturer is a woman’s job is as outdated as using a mercury thermometer to obtain a patient’s temperature (ain’t nobody got time for that!). Even though a higher percentage of the profession comprises of females, the men are just as caring, knowledgeable, and extremely skilled as their female counterparts.

Forget about the stigma of males not being nurses and break the stereotype now!

 4.  Nurses only work in hospitals

When persons think of a nurse they often see a person in white uniforms or  scrubs providing direct care to persons in a hospital setting. Can you imagine a world where nurses were only found working in a hospital? How would we cope? My goodness, it would be so chaotic, exhausting, confusing and time-consuming! Thank God that nursing extends way beyond the bedside. There have been so many advancements and specialties in nursing that it is more than having someone care for you in a hospital. The opportunities that this profession encompasses is infinite!

Nurses are so versatile that you will find them being entrepreneurs, researchers, educators, CEOs, writers, software developers and we could go on and on and on. There are school nurses, home-health nurses, forensic science nurses, public health nurses, flight nurses, army nurses, nurse aestheticians among others. There are nurses with advanced nursing degrees which include but not limited to: nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetist, clinical nurse specialist, legal nurse consultant, nurse midwives, doctor of nursing practice etc.

Who says that once who become a nurse your days will be spent working 8-16 hour shifts at the bedside in a hospital? Not at all.

5. “Your job is not hard, you’re just a nurse.”

Oh, really! Just a nurse? To say I am flabbergasted every time someone makes a comment such as this would be an understatement. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes an admission to a hospital or a direct interaction with a nurse to understand and appreciate that the nurse is more than “just a nurse”.

Being a nurse comes with having many different titles that makes it impossible at times to adequately describe who a nurse really is. The many hats that nurses wear makes them vital to the very existence of healthcare. So to even consider them as “just nurses” is simply rude! Nurses are regarded as the heart of healthcare; without them the healthcare system cannot function at an optimal level.

Nurses are not just nurses but they are your:

  • advocate – being there to ensure that you receive the best possible care when you or a loved one is unable to express a particular need
  • counselor – there to hold your hands when the burden becomes too heavy for you alone to bear
  • teacher – the one to help you better understand what those fifteen medications you have been prescribed are for
  • confidant – that one person you know you can trust in your most vulnerable moments
  • cheerleader – the one to keep motivating you when all you want is to just give up because it seems so much easier to do.

You have to admit it after all that nurses are not “just nurses”.

As Rawsi Williams so beautifully said “to do what nobody else will do, in a way that nobody else can, in spite of all we go through; is to be a nurse.”

 

The Candystripe Nurse 🙂