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Along for the Read

January 27, 2011

Image Source - Coach Rizal


I want to be a writer-webpreneur-blogger- wellness coach/counselor homemade-cooking rebel kind of mom.

Add Registered Nurse into the mix and alas, I am burning out.  They call it the “burn-rate” meaning “the time a business has until it expends all saved equity”.  I have expended my “burn-rate”. Yes, even this candle can only burn for so long before the fuel is consumed.

 Extinguished. Gone.

Call it Winter. Call it Fatigue. Call it Seasonal Affective Depression. Call it whatever-you-want. All I know is, I am seriously lacking motivation. I am tired and easily stressed-out. This tedious emotional lability is quite frustrating . This frustration is setting my family’s emotional barometer off the charts. (Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but you get my point.) And the cliché is true, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t no body happy“.

 In my profession ( and to do it well) I give of myself. I give a lot of myself. I dig in deep and most of my patience, kindness, compassion, empathy, listening abilities, and a confounding amount of multi-tasking/ task completion abilities are expended each shift. Add really caring about my patients and I am spent. I am completely spent. I wish I had more of  my patience left  for my children, but I spent hours reorienting and helping a patient in and out of bed the night before*. I wish I had more empathy and compassion left for my husband, but I spent the night before teaching a family what to expect while their mother/father slowly passed away*.

*FYI: These are not references to  any actual recent patient or event.   These are simply typical occurrences in the work-life of a RN. 

I have hit my personal “burn-rate” and I am expending all my saved “emotional equity” at work at the expense of my family’s emotional health.

The cliché true, “We often treat those closest to us the worst”.

I am guilty. I am oh SO guilty.

This brings me back to the beginning….

 “I want to be a writer-webpreneur-blogger- wellness coach/counselor homemade-cooking rebel kind of mom. “

 Suppose I need to take a couple things off my plate (for now) and divest myself emotionally from work a little in order to invest more into my family.

So what gives? I want to do so much. If I learned one thing from caring for dying people. Carpe Diem!

Thanks for coming along for the “Read”.

What do you do to replenish your emotional equity?

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Leslie permalink
    January 27, 2011 4:55 pm

    this winter is the first one where i didn’t manage to freak out. what’s different?
    1. i have realized that my job doesn’t own me. i will do a good job, but i’m not going to take my worries home with me. there’s only so much i can do. i guess i have become emotionally detached from my work, and in some ways it has made me a better employee.
    2. (this is easier said than done). i sleep. a lot. I sleep for 8 or 9 hours a night because my body needs it. now, this isn’t easy for those of you with kids. if there’s any way you can squeeze in more sleep, do it. my guess this is your number one reason you’re so stressed.
    3. exercise-especially yoga. yoga is wonderful. get a tape and do it at home.
    4. i don’t get angry. it’s too much work. i find other ways to let out my frustrations-a jog, sex, a glass of wine, watch some 30 rock and laugh.

    not sure if this is helpful, but that’s what works for me. hang in there.

    • January 28, 2011 8:46 pm

      Perhaps I just need to lower my expectations and realize I can’t do it all. Even though I see other people doing-it-all, they probably aren’t. The only person I disappoint is myself. Perhaps I need a change either in work attitude or venue. Who knows?

  2. January 28, 2011 9:17 pm

    Kristina! So much to commiserate with you! I am finding out that I truly truly need to slow down and not just give lip service to the slow and truly healthy lifestyle. To truly go after my own wellness because there is only so much of ME I can expend. I can’t even imagine being in your shoes, because I’m already spent and I am not a nurse! My prayers go out with you. Nursing is such a demanding job! I’ve also realized that for me, my family comes first and I’m changing my vocational plans a little bit (for now) to accommodate the family life I want to have especially while my child is still so young. I still am trying to figure out where to draw that line between my own dreams and my own family…such a sticky issue to be wrestlng with!!!

    Some stuff that’s helped me in the last few weeks: (1) lots of sleep without feeling guilty about it (2) doing something I absolutely enjoy everyday no matter how small or silly (3) doing one special thing a week just for me, like doing Zumba/Dance (4) cutting out sugar and refined carbs and eating really healthy, lots of good protein, salads, broth and Cod Liver Oil and (5) lots of outdoor/fresh air, rain or shine.


    • February 8, 2011 1:56 am

      I hope I didn’t offend you with anything I shared on my comment to your blog post. I hope I didn’t come across as implying that you don’t put your family first. It’s simply that I wasn’t. I was resentful,that I couldn’t pursue my vocational aspirations so I had to really shift my attitude and perspective. I hope you find your own “balance” for lack of better term.


      • February 8, 2011 12:26 pm

        Vina, oh my goodness no I was not offended. My family comes first too and I feel a strong call to the vocation of motherhood, all the more I am frustrated by my situation. I am a perfectionist, in that, I don’t like to do things or feel good about doing things I can’t do well or to my own self appointed high standards. I missed you posting…I was cyber stalking your blog. Can’t wait for you to post again. Vina, you are a very talented writer and even if you don’t write for someone else, never stop writing for yourself.

  3. January 29, 2011 10:55 am

    Kristina, I can relate to where you’re coming from. Supporting families while they are dealing with tremendous grief can easily drain you emotionally and physically. I support families who are down on their knees with grief every day at work and honestly some days are so much harder than others, some families I relate to more and I leave the hospital with a heavy heart. But… the one blessing we have by doing this type of work is we see first hand that life is short. Far too short for far too many and we never know when we could find our time is up. So, I find that’s all the more reason to leave work at work when I can, because I know far to well that my time with my family is precious and I don’t want take a second for granted. This time of the baby years will be gone before we know it and some day we will look back and yearn for the chaos that once was…As far as dealing with those days that leave you more spent than others, self care is so very important. You can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried a hot yoga class, but seriously I’ve found that they offer amazing benefits, I know I personally leave each class feeling more alive and rejuvenated. I know how hard it is to leave your family and make time for yourself, but if you’re a better mama when you return than it’s so worth it (for you and those around you!) I

  4. Jess permalink
    February 7, 2011 6:26 pm

    Discovered your blog through the Mamalooma blog and I love it!

    I thought I might offer so suggestions here too. Perhaps you could take some time for a meditation class or something like that. Learning to simply breathe through our everyday stresses has changed my life in such a dramatic way. Yoga is a good practical way of combining mediative time with physical activity and it’s been suggested by several people, so it’s worth looking into.

    Find a yoga buddy. That might help with the motivation thing too.

    • February 7, 2011 11:47 pm

      Thanks! I appreciate the comment. I love Mamalooma as well. Do you know Karen?
      I am planning on starting yoga classes shortly. I practice yoga at home but not as frequently as would be beneficial.

  5. CherieB permalink
    March 5, 2011 11:30 am

    Ok Sopa, came across this one and thought I would reply here rather than an email individually. Remember all the times when you were orienting & adjusting to being a nurse we talked about the gray areas? That learning to change your mindset that it can’t go just one way, absolutely perfect, and there are generally 10 ways to get something done & only 1 of those is totally wrong and the others fall within the guideline of practice……… I know how difficult this is for you & all of us with this type of perfectionist mentality. But this time you have spent being a RN has better prepared you for the “chaos” of motherhood, that need to adjust at a moments notice, change your focus from what you meant to do next. It’s a blessing for your children that you learned to do this before they came because it allows you to be the mom you want to be. Hold tight to that positive. The checklist will never be completed entirely on any given day, even w/o kids and work, life is always going to have the next thing to do. Learning to adjust your thinking like you are doing is the best way to cope. I love the picture moments once a week. That holding tight to the positives in the midst of negatives will help create the balance you are striving for. Find that one just for you outlet and commit it to your day (or at least a few days a week) even if it gets cut short make sure you DO it. Without it that burn rate will magnify exponentially.
    And really putting to use that constant we have learned as oncology nurses: Life is short, seize the opportunity, live each day with hope & purpose, prepare for the negative while BELIEVING that it will be positive. These are truly blessings for us perfectionists to learn & apply….. And that is a great gift to give your husband & children, that they don’t have to learn first hand but will learn by example of you. You are teaching your children this even at their young age and they will be all the better for it. Even if some days you may have given a little more of yourself to a patient or another family and be emotionally drawn by it, that giving is a blessing for the future of your own family. As long as you keep remembering to set aside a little time for you & them…..

    • March 6, 2011 10:54 am

      Thanks I needed this reminder today! I am someone who likes things done my way and my way is “of course” the “right way”. I need to let go and realize things aren’t going to go “my way” no matter how hard I try or pull or push. Remembering no matter which “way” to know and to believe it will be OK.

      p.s. What was Renae’s mantra with believe?

      • CherieB permalink
        March 11, 2011 5:58 pm

        I am trying to learn the same thing so it was with a very open heart that I read this and when precepting I often think of you. One of the quickest new grads I have ever met, but oh so BLACK & WHITE, that was the hardest thing for me. Of course your way is “right”, you are very very smart & know how to get it done…..
        Aaaahhh Nae’s mantra was ~believe~ she always wanted to know the options, have as much info as possible, and then fight fight fight. There was no stop for her and she pushed everyone else to the same points. But she accepted people in a way I have found very few people can. She lived her life this way…. LOVE, LIVE, BELIEVE, FIGHT, ACHIEVE, and at the end of the day laugh instead of cry…. She could find the humor in the most dire moments, I swear she was meant to be a RN, and she lived the way she wanted to. No excuses, didn’t seem to know the meaning of CAN’T or NO or SHOULDN’T she just did, full speed & full of love….. I miss seeing that girl’s smile, often expect to see her come around the corner IV pole trailing laughing and giving me grief.

    • March 6, 2011 10:56 am

      Funny you mentioned this conversation from my training. I refer to it in my mind ALL the time and I have actually used it when precepting newgrads. There is one REALLY wrong way!

      It’s funny though at home with my hubby my “really wrong way” is the way he usually does things (house work-wise)! Oh well.

      • March 6, 2011 10:56 am

        It’s as if he never had chores as a kid…oh that’s right he didn’t!

      • CherieB permalink
        March 11, 2011 6:02 pm

        They always seem to be able to only do it the REALLY REALLY WRONG WAY! Had someone tell me that the way she dealt w/ this was to do what she really really couldn’t tolerate to have done any way but her’s and then allow her spouse to do the others and just ignore it!
        Chores= necessary to learn how to function in society if you want my opinion…..


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