Flip Flopping

No I don’t mean like the shoe… 🙂

Hey all!

So as you may know, I’m a nurse (duh) but I recently switched back to a day shift. Some of you are probably thinking HOORAY! that must be awesome for you, and while I mostly would have to agree with you, there were some initial bumps in the road for me.

The first day of switching back was met with some initial anxiety because I remember how helpless and frazzled I felt those initial 10 weeks I was working day shift as a brand new nurse. However, my first day back I felt it went a lot more smoothly, and I seemed to have a much better grasp of what was going on as a whole with patient care and how the hospital works as a system.

One of the issues I feel that I ran into was after that first day I was completely wiped out. Despite being on a “real people schedule” I was so tired I slept most of the next day and then slept that night! Talk about feeling like a crazy person. After that I seem to have pretty effectively switched back to a day shift cycle. I however have also noticed that I am having more of a constant low grade headache. This I think has more to do with my decreased caffeine intake (1 Fizz stick vs 2, Thank you Arbonne for the awesome caffeine) The caffeine source is great, but my personal choice to have less of an intake I think resulted in a little bit of withdrawal headaches. Oops… my bad.

As with anything that changes in your life, there needs to be a grace period for adjustment, and sometimes that adjustment is just a little more difficult than you anticipated.

Anyone had difficulty with transitioning? I know there are some of you out there that are on a constant rotation. How do you deal? Any tips and tricks for the rest of us?

Please feel free to leave them in the comments 🙂

~Niki

 

PS here is a cup of coffee that I enjoyed in the midmorning 🙂

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Sleeping and Nights

I have finally been able to switch over to night shift! YAY! This is a win for me, as I tend to be more of a night owl than a morning person. But there are a lot of people that have a hard time adjusting to nights. This post is going to be about what works for me to be functional on non work days, and everyone is different so I please keep that in mind when reading this article.

I am already naturally a night person so some of these things are much easier to me. To begin, I have skewed my schedule so that I am up until 0200-0300, and sleep until 1100-1200, typically 0300-1100. This sets me up to stay up to 0730 the next morning when I need to work.

Setting an alarm the next day after your last night shift and getting up to go for a walk or go do something active definitely helps you get over that feeling of being hit by a freight train.

I always wake up parched and with a mild headache, the getting up and moving helps with the headache, and a good glass of water and rehydrating all day helps with the parched feeling. However the parched feeling is not exclusive to nights for me, I am never drinking enough water when I am working, which is a personal issue and potentially the topic of another post ;). I enjoy my hot yoga, going for long walks outside, and some gym time. I get bored easily so I try to keep things varied, so I don’t burn out on one thing.

One thing I have also realized for me is caffeine. Oddly enough contrary to probably what almost every other nurse out there is going to say, I need to stay away from caffeine. It makes my sleep cycles really strange and too much of it actually exacerbates any anxiety I might have. So I have been weaning myself off of my caffeine, although it’s slow going, I definitely enjoy a cup of coffee every now and again (hey, don’t forget to feed the soul and do things that make you happy 🙂 ).

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I am so tired by the time I get home and go to bed I don’t really need black out curtains, but a lot of people benefit from them. I used a throw blanket (which worked just as nicely) for a while, but then I find that for me it is extra difficult to get out of bed after having slept for my 4-6 hours, so I have left them behind for a brighter future (pun intended 😉 ).

I usually pass out and am sleeping for a solid 4 hours before I wake up, but if I have had a particularly trying or emotional night and am having trouble getting to or falling asleep, I have melatonin. I rarely use it, but it is rather reassuring to know that I have it should I ever need it. It is over the counter, but I spoke with my doctor about dosing before beginning to take it, so I would never recommend to take supplements without knowledge about what you’re doing.

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Any other tips and tricks out there about working nights and sleeping during the day? I know I am still testing different things out to see what is going to work best for me, so this is a preliminary list of what works for me :).

 

~Niki

Dealing with Stress

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Stress is a large part of what nursing is. In nursing school I struggled a lot with managing my own stress, because this was a level of stress I had not had to endure before.

Stress can come from many different aspects of the job

  1. The job itself
  2. The long hours
  3. Being in unfamiliar territory
  4. The patients or their families
  5. Co-workers
  6. Life outside of work
  7. Your own expectations of yourself

It could be one, some, all, or aspects of our lives that are not listed here that cause our stress, and it manifests differently in everyone. Personally it manifests as being grouchy, lashing out at people, and when left untended (which did happen in nursing school 😦 ) can turn in to anxiety and depression.

When I am the most stressed, I am the least equipped to deal with my anxiety and it can get the best of me, BUT on a more positive note now that I have expressed the reality of stress, there is still a lot that you can do about it! Personally when I moved, I uprooted my life to move to a new place, with no one I previously knew from a cozy little city where everything had been familiar and comfortable for so long that the transition was a difficult one.  After some time, I was not sleeping enough, I was eating junk, and I was not exercising regularly.

Initially when people were telling me to make sure I took care of myself, I kind of blew them off thinking…psh everyone says to eat right, sleep enough, and exercise, I’ll be fine it’s whatever… Later realizing that those things are KEY to keeping yourself feeling good and managing your stress.

I CAN NOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE THIS MAKES!!

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Some fresh tomatoes from the garden 🙂

Once I began sleeping more than a few broken hours a night, eating more balanced meals, and taking the time to exercise (even if that means just going for a walk around your neighborhood), I felt I was able to manage my stress and start to feel like myself again and like I had control over my life (I mean to the degree we can have control over life, we can’t control every thing 😉 ). The exercises that worked best for me happened to be jogs and walks outside, because the fresh air tends to do me good, and hot yoga because I had so much anxiety, the inward reflection and focus on my breathing helped calm me down, in addition to improving strength and flexibility (something I am sure we would all like!).

What are some things you like to do for stress relief and management? Leave tips or tricks in the comments!

 

~Niki