Children’s branch editor, Rachael, realised it was about time she took her own advice
I’m just about over my dose of the blues…. I think!
It wasn’t just the SNT Awards that helped me recover, I realised that what I really needed was some time out for myself.
I’ve written a few times about the amount of hours I work outside of the course and the pressures of maintaining a relationship, but it really had all got on top of me last month and I came to the realisation that the only cure is a bit of rest and relaxation (and wine).
As future nurses we spend all our time learning how to look after other people, dealing with their problems and helping them find the tools to support themselves through whatever has brought them to us, but how often do we take the time to concentrate on ourselves?
I can’t count the number of times I’ve spoken to parents about making sure to look after themselves, get plenty of sleep, eat healthily and take time out away from their children if they can, to ensure that they are strong enough to be the parents they need to be. And yet there I was with my can of energy drink after a few hours of anxiety-filled sleep, with a box of cheap noodles awaiting me for dinner, accepting another shift at work and stressing about when I would write that essay.
Not setting the best example!
Unsurprisingly, I ended up feeling sorry for myself last month. Truth is that in that kind of state I wasn’t helping anyone, let alone me. How can I preach to parents about what I don’t do myself, and how can I expect to be able to learn anything useful?
At some point before I qualify I need to figure out how to manage being overworked and underpaid because things aren’t going to magically improve once I get that pin! I know I’m hardly first in line to complain about nurses’ working conditions, but the fact is, I am in control of my life. I can work all the hours under the sun and let myself get stressed out, or I can sack everything off for a weekend, put up with losing some hours, and pay attention to what matters to me.
Work isn’t everything, I have a life outside this and I’ve been woefully ignoring it, which has clearly got me nowhere.
So this weekend I’ve cancelled my shifts, put the tent in the back of the car and tomorrow I shall be dragging my boyfriend off into the countryside, with no plan other than to find a patch of sky to gaze at and pray it doesn’t rain.
Essays can wait, work can wait, I need to fix me before I can even start to think about fixing anyone else. Wish me luck!
Rachael Starkey is Student Nursing Times’ student editor for children’s branch