How Creative Projects Will Save Your Mind and Soul

Whether it’s a side hustle, your true passion or a full-blown business, you need a creative outlet to get your mind off the job. 

What are the more common reasons nurses walk away from their work? First of all, the job is full of intense emotional and physical stress. It’s impossible to quantify what the night shifts, overlooked abuse and constant multitasking do to our bodies. Remember when Anderson Cooper experimented with a schizophrenic simulator to understand what it’s like to have the diagnosis. I would love to have the average person do a nurse simulator, to see how many directions we get pulled into at every moment. It might look something like this, you run to a patient's room because you hear help, and at the same time a cardiac monitor is blasting an arrhythmia alarm, your confused elderly patient has climbed over the rail for the 14th time, an incredibly anxious family member is assuming the role of your shadow and your last patient is frothing at the mouth with a grand mal. Welcome to working in the Emergency Department! 

I can say from personal experience that burnout is real and it takes over from the inside out. I see it creeping into the eyes of my co-workers on a daily basis. It’s the quick tongue, the empty tank and the loss of hope that is so common amongst our kind. 

What are other reasons nurses leave their jobs? For some, it can be that the job isn’t what they expected it to be. It could be the disillusionment from popular tv shows, Florence Nightingale wearing a starched hat or maybe it’s our own inability to relay what’s really happening in the hospital. Nursing is no damn joke people! Just because nurse Eli Lloyd once dated Miranda Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t mean that sexy call room romances are awaiting your every shift. Quite the contrary my friends. There is nothing sexy about a colonoscopy performed by your workplace crush or the compression stockings we have to wear to prevent varicose veins. 

Night shifts...enough said. For new grads who have as much weight on the seniority podium as a duck feather, night shifts become the new norm. Night shifts mean fighting against what your body wants to do for twelve hours. Every minute your inner voice is yelling at you go to bed while you unconsciously eat 42 Timbits. We’ve all heard the rumors about working night shifts long term. Obesity, heart disease, insomnia, cancer, etc…

Enough of the doom and gloom. How do we counteract the heavier aspects of nursing… being creative! Most of what I’m talking about is personal experience in how creative endeavors can help jump-start a good mood, but I truly believe it works. 

On a personal level, I’ve always valued my creative side. Whether its fashion, writing or music I’ve found ways to get the left side of my brain fired up. Why is this a good thing?

Happiness is a byproduct of creativity since it feels good to be immersed in something we are inspired by. There is a sense of pride that naturally accompanies learning, innovative ideas, and hands-on projects. Looking at our own creations generates joy and kick starts new ideas. 

Creative projects are meditative. It’s important to disconnect from nursing by getting into the flow with a hobby or side business. Being absorbed in a project encourages mindfulness, stimulates inspiration and can relieve stress. Any activity that brings you into the present is a therapeutic way to let go of all the worrisome energy we carry with us. Constant stimulation takes away from our ability to focus on one thing so we need our creative endeavors for guidance into more tranquil moments. 

Creative endeavors foster feelings of hope. When feeling hopeful, people become inspired and ambitious. If someone is killing their knitting game, with simple projects, the idea of making Christmas ornaments and hipster hats become more realistic. With hope, we believe in ourselves and the work we surround ourselves with.

Inspiration encourages different points of view. If you are pursuing a side business with fashion or food you start to see the world in a totally different way. Eating at an interesting restaurant means noticing tiny details about the presentation and quality of food. Learning a new craft creates opportunities for appreciation.

What are examples of creative hobbies or projects?
The options are endless but include: 
Making a Podcast
Interpretive Dancing
Interior Decorating
Voice acting
Geo-caching (for some this is life)
Cake decorating
So get out there my fellow health care professionals!

-Rachel Mrdeza-

Emergency Room Registered Nurse

Creator of The Aluna Brand


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