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A CNA's Guide to Surviving Holiday Stress

Tips on How to Deal with Holiday Stress When Caring for Yourself and Others

Its called the most wonderful time of the year, but to some certified nursing assistants working the holidays can make it the most stressful time of the year.  The stress of the holidays can occur as a result of too many demands  of you. Taking care of others during the holidays can be overwhelming and make you feel you have too many responsibilities.  Being short staffed, dealing with an abundance of relatives and not being with your own family can cause your body and mind to feel the result of being stressed.

What’s the solution to surviving holiday stress? First find the cause of the stress.  What causes you to stress out during the holiday?  First of all, if your working as a certified nursing assistant don’t call off work unless its  absolutely necessary.  Calling off work just to spend time with your family is unfair to the other workers and to those you care for.  There are very few CNAs that choose to work on the holidays. But remember, there are even fewer individuals that would choose to be a resident/patient on a holiday and not get to see their family at all. 

When working as a certified nursing assistant during the holidays there are some simple tips that can help take some of the stress away.

Be Organized
Planning ahead can make all the difference. It is easy to get bombarded with all of the family members, working short staffed etc. By planning the top priorities what needs to get done and working as a team will alleviate the stress. Same can be true when planning your own holiday.  Make a list of what needs to be done.  Prioritize your list.  Double some of your families favorite dinners, and freeze one of the meals for a later day.  This way if you work a double dinner is already done.

Set realistic goals
Being flexible during the holiday is a realistic goal you can achieve.  So you have to work Christmas this year, have your celebration on Christmas eve. Trying to attend every holiday party, play or celebration is not a realistic goal.  Stretching yourself to thin will only cause most stress to build up.  Its best to pick and chose what is the most important and leave the rest behind. 

Schedule free time
Take time out of your schedule everyday to do something that you enjoy.  Find something that you find pleasurable and relaxing everyday.  This can not only recharge your body but your mind to. 

Know when to stop
Ok you pulled two doubles this week, attended your child play a few holiday parties, entertained quests, shopped for three days straight, you still have to clean your house, go back to work, and cook your holiday meal. Seriously, you may think your wonder woman of wonder man, but your not.  All this will do is run you down and make you sick.  Learn to say NO, and ask for help. 

Stay healthy
Getting plenty of rest and eating healthy during the holiday can reduce the amount of stress on your body.  By preparing healthy meals and snacks to take to work, you wont be tempted by all of the high calorie sugary holiday food that’s going around.  Get plenty of sleep.  Studies have shown that lack of sleep and stress can reek havoc on your immune system.

As a certified nursing assistant you should never assume that you need to make drastic changes to bring more balance to your life. Having a good plan in place can be a necessity.