From Misery to Fun at Work!

By FL, Registered Nurse and Midwife, Australia

I was never all that keen on work. For many years I saw it as a necessary evil and hoped the years until retirement would pass quickly and I could get into a laid back lifestyle that would suit me better. I had been nursing for years, really liked the patients and giving care, but felt burdened by the misery and problems I saw every day amongst patients and staff. How could I help them? I had no real clue. I was just as burned out by the ‘system’ as those that perpetuated it. From my university based training, I learned that I had to do everything right and have all the answers as often as possible, placing me under enormous pressure to be perfect. There was no discussion ever about the way in which I worked or the quality I offered to people when I walked through the door.

A few years ago I started attending the Universal Medicine (UM) clinic and met people who worked there who were incredibly dedicated and interested in their work and this was always the case at any session. I never once felt like they were watching the clock or bored out of their minds by clients. Never once did they appear to have “Monday I have Friday on my mind” syndrome.  Instead I felt a steadiness; I could tell they actually understood me and they held a love very solid. Hmmm, how was this possible? Were they superhuman or very good fakes?

I attended UM retreats and workshops to discover exactly how this was possible.

I learned about self-love, choices and responsibility and how that impacts on my interactions with all others, whether I like it or not. I learned about my own state of being and how it is crucial to be aware of where I am at on any given day. I discovered that who I am when I walk through a door into a patient’s room actually affects the vulnerable person in there. So if I go to work stewing over what a colleague has done, then that goes with me into all of my interactions with others. “Oh dear – much to examine here!” I thought. But the best news of all, was that I didn’t have to beat myself up over the past, I could learn and gradually alter the way I was living so those issues did not recreate themselves every day.

I learned to enjoy building the love in me enough so I can actually bring it with me to work and my family. This was an amazing process, where I learned to say “No” for the first time ever and to honour how I felt. I learned that I don’t have to have all the answers for me to be of use; I simply have to be very present and loving when I am with people and let them be. That is enough. I have also noticed that I seem to be able to do my job more efficiently, effectively and safely when I am not wasting energy on trying all the time. I am freer to be more aware of what is going on with my patients, as my brain space is not congested with distractions. This has actually enhanced my performance of my clinical responsibilities, as I am far more alert and focused now. If I have a day at work that doesn’t feel so good, I trace it back to how MY day started…..and it usually makes perfect sense.  No-one to blame, just more choices to consider.

I know with my own life now that what I am learning with Universal Medicine is very true as I see it constantly pan out in the world around me. I can see and appreciate how much people respond to me being very present with them. I notice how letting go of judgement of others frees them and reduces the tension between people. Hmmm…those UM practitioners are not superhuman or fakes, I have learned they are people just like me.

To this day, nursing students are not taught to care for themselves first and foremost before equally caring for others. It’s a sad omission from the university-based training and could probably explain the ongoing loss of the nursing workforce. For me, everything has changed. It truly is a joy to go to work now, every day gives me an opportunity to bring more presence and connection to the people I care for and work with.  I no longer want to think about retiring when going to work has become such fun!



831 thoughts on “From Misery to Fun at Work!

  1. “There was no discussion ever about the way in which I worked or the quality I offered to people when I walked through the door.” When we do not care for ourselves we are actually very selfish, we don’t consider how we are meeting the other person and our work is more about us as in ‘when can I go back home?’ or ‘when is it weekend?’. Getting to know ourselves and taking care of ourselves does really make a difference and I found the most mundane things can be very fun and joyful because I do it with me now.

  2. It’s a great study on self caring choices Felicity, and how these influence our day to day working life. We accept so many things as the “norm”, yet by changing how we are with ourselves we can have a really great day including during work hours.

  3. FL I love how you’ve turned your work around from misery to fun, after all work is a huge part of our life and its so important that we enjoy it and in turn offer so much to it.

  4. ‘I notice how letting go of judgement of others frees them and reduces the tension between people’ I noticed myself yesterday fall into this one and it was my non acceptance of what I saw as selfish and harmful behaviour in someone who is very close to me. It triggered a hurt, the hurt of separation and everything we do to keep ourselves from being soulful. I reacted with anger when now I realise this was a gift and a cue for me to deepen my connection .

  5. Beautiful FL, we are raised with the ideal that we are here to say ‘yes’ to life, but in my experience so often that yes is given to something that’s not right. We associate ‘no’ with rejection, reaction and disharmony, but actually as you show it’s essential we learn to say ‘no’ to specific energy that’s not true in others and ourselves as this is the path to saying yes to Love.

  6. It is a sorry story that we even have to be taught how to care for ourselves. Why would we not care for ourselves? We must have at some early point been taught to not care for ourselves hence the need to then teach us to care for ourselves!

    1. Same convoluted story with trying. I used to try very hard and then realised how harmful that was and spent years trying not to try – it was all very trying until I stopped trying!

    2. Yes, I agree Nicola. It does sound a bit crazy that we have to re-learn how to care for ourselves because this should be so natural to us, yet we have forgotten or more accurately agreed to disregard ourselves instead of loving who we are.

  7. “I didn’t have to beat myself up over the past, I could learn and gradually alter the way I was living so those issues did not recreate themselves every day.” I love what you have described here FL, realising that we can choose to change the quality in which we work and not cap or punish ourselves from our past choices when we lacked conscious awareness of our actions and initiate true change to the way we are living and when we interact with others.

  8. I used to take on all the problems of others at work in the past, it was very wearing and exhausting and not loving for me at all. But as we learn to look after ourselves more, and allow everyone to be themselves too, the pressures disappear. I am choosing to continue work despite being past retirement age because I love it so much.

  9. Waking up looking forward to the day ahead is such an amazing feeling. Being in a body, in activity, with others around – it is joy.

  10. When you wake up feeling less than joyful, you know you have either taken something to bed with you, and/or not appreciated yourself and your life enough. These times are a great point of reflection.

  11. ‘There was no discussion ever about the way in which I worked or the quality I offered to people when I walked through the door.’ And in truth this should be the first thing that is worth considering and discussing, as our quality is what we bring and should always be discerned before anything else.

  12. How my day starts depends on how I was with myself the previous day so if I lose myself and say for example go to bed later than what I would normally do then this will definitely affect me the next day. I may get up later and then find myself trying to catch up which puts me out of sync the rest of the day! The responsibility I have towards myself and others is in every moment. I cannot get away with checking out even if it is for a brief moment… there will be consequences sooner or later!

  13. Recently I read how there are more nurses working in the NHS system in the UK who have obesity than their patients with the same. The amount of nurses who are obese was about 60% of the workforce. I too feel that self care could easily be added to the nursing curriculum with interactive workshops to support the sessions. The Gentle Breath Meditation is something that could be hugely beneficial in this sector too.

  14. Thank you FL, this really highlighted to me how we have dismissed self care, and that without it we are pushing our bodies against its natural rhythm, this blog is a great example of how when we reconnect to self care we have more energy, and we simply know what to do next in the work place.

  15. It’s funny how we are often one way at work and another way at home, but there is no off switch to love. It is only us that can turn away and in that turning allow the flooding in of all that is not of such love and thus seeks to detract from it. Thus the key to a joyous life is through the consistency of our love lived. It is both as simple and as difficult as that.

  16. For a long time I never liked soup, but if only I’d known that all of human life is pretty much like that – a stew pot of energies we are never apart from. This means however we are affects everyone else, and the other way around too. So it’s up to us to read everyday the flavour of the broth being served up and decide if we really want to partake. This is the beginning of healthy living – not simply our nutrition or food choices. Thank you FL.

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