Gratefulness in Mental Health Month

Written by: Melanie Wong

Gratitude. It’s a word that’s thrown around often enough and is something that those in the healthcare industry specifically will experience on a day-to-day basis, not without good reason. Nurses receive gratitude so often from patients, family members and doctors alike. However, it’s important for nurses to not only know their worth but to appreciate other nurses’ significance and showing gratitude to those around us, whether they be co-workers, family, friends or even those you have small, transactional interactions with.

Gratitude can be shown in a multitude of different ways, from a heartfelt thank you, a written note, a gesture or a favour. It’s becoming increasingly important to incorporate these little actions of gratitude into our daily lives and our workplace. In a society that is suffering from social isolation, with younger generations growing to depend on smart technology rather than physical, human interaction, gratitude in our daily interactions can make a big difference to our mental health and the mental health of those around us. As nurses, it’s important to include gratitude in the workplace. It can be as simple as noting down something you’re grateful for at the start of your shift, organising a team dinner one night, or shouting your manager a coffee to start
their day. In light of mental health month being October, here are 5 things you can do to improve your wellbeing with gratitude on a day to day basis.

1. Date yourself

It can be really easy to lose yourself in the hustle and bustle of work, housework, and socialising. It’s crucial for you to look after yourself as you would a significant other – cater to your own needs and wants, whether that be a bubble bath, making yourself your favourite food or going to your favourite dog park with your furry friend.

2. Pause the complaints

Complaining is almost a reflex at this point; everybody does it. But once you pause and consciously stop complaining, you may find that there isn’t that much to complain about after all.

3. Take stock of social supports

A big part of gratitude is your relationships with other people. While it’s important to make sure that your relationships are adding positivity to your life, it may also be a good idea to check in with friends and family every once in a while. Reaching out to others when you’re in a tough spot can be hard, and it sometimes helps for someone else to reach out first.

4. Bond with your colleagues

While agency work means that you may not be around the same team of nurses for an extended period of time, it’s still important to build rapport with the people you work with so that everything runs smoothly. Most of the time, small actions like chatting in the break room or greeting each other at the start and end of the shift can go a long way to showing someone your gratitude or care.

5. Volunteer So much of a nurse’s life is giving back and serving others but that very facet of the job often contributes to people’s choices in nursing. Volunteering is a way of giving back to the broader community that you may not often interact with,
whether that be walking dogs at the pet shelter or helping cook meals at the soup kitchen. Of course, it’s important to prioritise your own mental and physical health. However, you never know – helping others in small but meaningful ways may just give you a boost you didn’t know you needed. If you need support, remember there’s always someone there to speak to. You can reach out to one of the help lines below –
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467

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