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  • Writer's pictureMegan Filoramo

What to do about the thorn in your side

Do you know that you don’t have to wait to hit rock bottom before trying to improve your life? You don’t have to wait until you're are at the end of your rope to reach out for help.

Ironically, I think we don’t even notice we are doing this. Compassion fatigue and work frustrations creep up on us.

We don’t even realize that we are dismissing what we want to change in our lives because we compare ourselves to other people who have it worse.

But what other people have or don’t have has no actual bearing on our lives, it’s just our nature to compare.

Comparing is a distraction.

I would like to suggest that one way to counteract the stealthy approach of burnout is to want more satisfaction out of work even if it isn’t totally awful right now.

Maybe work is ok except for that one thing, that thorn in your side; the really annoying coworker, the high nurse to patient ratio, expectations of management, attitudes of patients, lack of resources, lack of breaks.

Maybe you’re not miserable at work, maybe you’re just aggravated.

This is the time to act.

It’s like treating someone with diabetes. We wouldn’t tell them to wait until their A1C is >10 to look for some ways to eat healthier. So why would we wait to make changes in our work lives?

It’s ok to want more, even if what you have doesn’t totally suck.

There are lots of ways to go about this, but here is an easy one to start with: the gratitude triad.

The gratitude triad is made up of 3 parts (I bet you didn’t see that coming).

Step 1: Gratitude for yourself. Make a list of all the things you are grateful for when thinking about yourself as a nurse. Extra points if you actually write it down. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • I did the hard work to get through nursing school.

  • I truly care about the wellbeing of my patients.

  • I am conscientious.

  • I keep working on learning new things.

  • I provide for my family with my nursing career.

  • I do hard work, even when I’m tired.

  • I help my friends with their medical questions.

Not too difficult.

Step 2: Gratitude for what you have. What are the things at work that are good?

  • I have some great medical assistants.

  • I have a fantastic colleague as the other NP in our practice.

  • My hours are good.

  • I get to know my patients well.

Step 3: Gratitude for what you want. Confused? How do we have gratitude for something we don’t have?

I know, bear with me. This part is crucial.

Think about what you want at work (maybe start with the thorn in your side). Picture what it would be like if you could just fix your experience of that one thing. Picture what it would be like if it was just a non-issue for you.

What effect would that have on your whole experience of work?

What effect would it have on your life outside of work if you didn’t have to worry about it?

From that feeling, move into the gratitude that it is possible.

From this feeling of gratitude, your creativity will get moving and you will be prompted to look for solutions, for different approaches to the thing that is dragging you toward overwhelm and burnout.

Gratitude for the future gets you unstuck. It protects you from rock bottom.

It’s totally fine to want more, even if work is “kind of ok.” It’s better than fine, it’s protective as long as we approach it from gratitude and possibility.

Give it a try. Gratitude always feels good.


Need a jump start? It’s not too late to sign up for the free 5 day challenge: Save Yourself from Overwhelm.

It starts Monday, Feb 6th and goes through Feb 10th. We are going to connect for a few minutes every day and I am going to break this all down into bite size actionable pieces that you can try right away. For the first time I am offering this via email AND on Facebook, I’ll meet you where your at 🙂

It’s not a big time commitment and the return on investment is huge. Is feeling better at work worth a few minutes of your time next week?

I know it is. I can’t wait to see you there. Sign up here, you won’t regret it.

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