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Six Tips for Staying Happy While Working Holidays

by Lindsay Wilcox

Happy nurseAre you scheduled to work Thanksgiving? If so, you’re not alone. A recent poll found that one-quarter of Americans are scheduled to work on Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Day this year, and 45 percent say there’s a chance they’ll be working one of the holidays.

While it can be frustrating to work when your friends and family have the day off, there are a few perks as well. Check out our tips for staying happy while working holidays.

1. Remember that you’re helping others. It may be a slow Thanksgiving with very few patients to care for, or you may find yourself swamped with people in the ER. Either way, it can help to remember that by sacrificing your holiday time, you’re providing care for people who really need your help. And chances are, since it’s a holiday, people may be friendlier than usual.

2. Take advantage of extra holiday pay. Earning overtime by working a holiday may make up for the missed time spent with friends and family. To make the extra cash even more meaningful, use it to celebrate on your day off — either with a nice meal out at a restaurant, a night at the movies with a good friend or a day of pampering alone at the spa.

3. Focus on making new traditions. You may have to work holidays rarely, or you might find yourself working every Christmas to give coworkers with young children a break. Either way, you can create a new tradition to make the work day more fun. Ask other nurses working that day to contribute cans of food for the local food bank and have a competition with the on-call doctors or even different departments within the hospital. You could also host a holiday bake-off and have colleagues contribute their favorite cookies or pies for everyone to taste.

4. Celebrate holidays on the day after your shift. Instead of focusing on what you missed while you were working, pick up where you left off the next day. Have family members save some pie or presents to unwrap and celebrate with the friends and family who are still around. Be sure to have a plan and set times when you’ll get together so you don’t end up disappointed (or sleeping off all the turkey).

5. Take extra time off later. If you’d prefer to rest after your shift or simply can’t get together with family before or after the holiday, make sure to plan a vacation or even a between-holidays party you can look forward to. Chances are, you’ll be able to take time off during a less-hectic time and enjoy it more.

6. Keep in touch with family during your shift. Be sure to take a break at work to call your family or even text them to say hi during the holiday. It will help the day go by faster and can also be a fun way to connect with people you haven’t seen in a while. Use Facetime or Skype to talk to your parents, spouse or children, or have your sister take funny photos of what’s going on and send them to you. You’ll feel more involved and know that others are thinking of you.

Wherever you are this holiday season, we hope you enjoy time off with family and friends when you can! Share your tips for working through the holidays below.

About Lindsay Wilcox

Lindsay Wilcox is a healthcare writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional writing experience. When she's not circling typos, she's enjoying fish tacos and hanging out with her family.

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