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  • Writer's pictureMegan Filoramo

What are you willing to do for some relief?

What are you willing to do for relief?

Even for me, after all of this time and all of the work I have done on wellness and prevention burnout, there are still times that I find myself craving relief.

Relief from the intensity of work.

Relief from the intensity of the emotions, or cognitive load, or busyness.

Can you relate? 

I like to think of it as intensity because honestly, it doesn’t always feel stressful. Intense seems like a better descriptor.

Today I had a very complex patient early on in the day. I found myself throughout the visit trying to deeply concentrate while brainstorming, trying to be direct while offering trauma informed care.

I didn’t MIND doing it, I felt like it stretched my ability, stretched my problem solving. I knew how important it was to the patient.

But it did make me run almost 40 minutes behind, which in turn made the whole morning more intense. I was trying to be present with each patient but also was going room to room without stopping in between, my dictations to be completed piling higher and higher.

I know this isn’t outside the norm for anyone working in healthcare.

But what about when the work is only ONE contributor to the intensity in your life. What happens when this is compounded by difficult relationships at work, lack of support, unreasonable expectations, family issues or illness?

What happens when all you need is a break from it all?

What are you willing to do for relief?

If you are like I used to be, you would do just about anything for a little relief. There was a time, years ago, when I was ready to look for another job, despite loving the work I was doing as a pain NP, because I just needed some relief from other stressors at work.

Thankfully I was willing to do whatever it took to get some relief from my suffering in my day-to-day life. I was willing to try something new, a different approach, to thrive even WITHOUT the work, the work stressors, and life situations changing.

And this approach has served me well so that even after days like today, I am not overwhelmed. I know exactly how to get some relief.

Here’s what I willing to try then and what I will keep doing today.

I was willing to be wrong. 

I was willing to be open to changing the way I was thinking.

I was willing to entertain thoughts different from my default thoughts, thoughts like I needed something to change in order to be happy.

I literally just needed to change my thoughts.

Of course, changing thoughts is not always simple. We have invested a lot of time and belief in thinking the things that we do. We defend our thoughts that are making us miserable, as if there is only one truth in every situation. I literally had to practice coming up with thoughts that were different from ones like these.

  • My coworker isn’t working as hard and it’s not fair.

  • The patients can be so entitled.

  • I’m doing more than other people.

  • My coworker is saying things about me that aren’t true and it’s just not right.

These things felt so true. Honestly, they may have been 100% true but thinking this way was making me feel undervalued, irritated, and wronged. 

These are not the ingredients for relief. 

Whether or not those thoughts were true, thinking them was making me miserable.

Are you willing to let go of the way you are thinking and explore new ways? Are you willing to let go of “being right” if being happy is the alternative?

I challenge you to think about this. Being able to change your own mind is a skill that will serve you in literally every aspect of your life. It opens up possibilities that you may have never dreamed of.

The good news is changing your mind (and therefore changing your whole experience) is truly just a skill. You literally just try coming up with other things that could be true. It doesn’t even have to negate the “facts” that are currently front and center in your brain, the facts that leave you searching for relief.

I did it by writing down new thoughts and practicing thinking them during the day.

Yes, I practiced thinking. I practiced looking for new perspectives. I practiced offering myself less painful perspectives when the negative ones were beating me down.

Here are some of the ones that I came up with.

  • I work hard because that’s the person I want to be. What the people around me are doing is not relevant. I take pride in my work. I would work like this even if they weren’t here.

  • I would be upset too if I was in the patient’s position.

  • I can be ok if people say untrue things about me. I know who I am and how I operate. That is enough.

Because I have practiced for so long now, it was easier to deal with the intensity of today. Yes, it’s true that I should have scheduled more time for the complex patient. Yes, it’s true that I ran behind all morning, and I HATE being behind. Yes, it’s true that I only caught up by working through lunch which I almost never do. 

But it the moment, these thoughts were only fleeting. I didn’t spend time hanging out with them. I told myself the other things that were true.

I was able to support and help my complex patient in a way that no one else could. 

I was able to use a trauma informed approach which I always feel is worth it in the value it can give to the patient. 

I was able to do something really meaningful in that visit. 

This didn’t necessarily lessen the intensity, but it lessened the overwhelm. It made me able to have the resources to deal with all the craziness that the afternoon brought (and that was some serious craziness). By being willing to find new thoughts throughout the day, I have come home exhausted but not overwhelmed. I need some downtime (which I am spending with you) but I don’t feel too crazed and desperate for relief.

Loosening the death grip you have on your thoughts can bring you the exact relief you seek.

I hope you’re willing to try it, it has changed my life. 


Learning the process to change our thoughts is the topic of next month’s free event: Community Coaching for Nurses on Thursday, June 6th at 7pm EST. Register here, now, while you are thinking about it. Are you willing to try it if it means bringing some relief to your life? I hope so 🙂

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