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!

 

 

924 thoughts on “From Misery to Fun at Work!

  1. FL your blog has such a wonderful openness to learning and making changes, not with recrimination or self bashing for the past or issues that come up, just more to look at, refine, change, and mostly…. to enjoy!

  2. FL, this is an amazing sharing of how you transformed in your profession, so pertinent considering where the health care profession is going, burnt out and exhausted. I can totally relate to this, as I once was a statistic to this. I have observed many health care professionals, suffering obesity, exhaustion, and cannot wait to get out of the system – a sad state of affairs. What’s the whole purpose of working in a health care system? It is to care and serve people.

    Maybe one day we will come to realise that true self care within the health care system is essential, a service provider of people in need of improving their health and wellbeing.

  3. How we are at work is simply a reflection of the relationship we are in with ourselves. Learn to care and deeply nurture ourselves and work then becomes a by-product of the relationship.

    1. Caroline, spot on, ‘how we are at work is simply a reflection of the relationship we are in with ourselves’. This is key to everything around us. We are so quick to blame others and yet, if we looked within ourselves, and healed the presenting issue, then work becomes a different ball game. Work then becomes fun and joyful, the tiredness is not the same, it then becomes a ‘by-product’.

  4. For me this just highlights the importance of a reflection and having a reflection from someone in how to live differently. Just that alone brings a healing and gives another something they can work with in order to truly evolve.

  5. After having a short break from being in the classroom for a little while I was back teaching in a school that I didn’t know as a supply teacher for the day. The school was intense and there was some behaviour difficulties… but I loved it. A few years ago, I would have probably come home from an environment like that and cried, but I can safely say that because of the inspiration that is Universal Medicine I have made changes to the way I live and therefore how I am at work has also changed.

  6. And what I love about this is that it has nothing to do with things changing at work but all to do with our approach, relationship with and care for ourselves and accessing our true love for work and service. All of these things are in our hands, so there is no waiting for something else to change before we start having fun.

  7. We can feel it if a nurse tends to us when they are taking care of themselves and has fun with work and the difference if they are ‘just doing what is necessary’ with no connection to themselves or the patients.

  8. Misery or fun at work? It sounds like a no brainer. If we only but realised that it is our choice and what we bring to it that makes all the difference. Don’t commit to our work and misery ensues.

  9. “To this day, nursing students are not taught to care for themselves first and foremost before equally caring for others” Yes so true we are perpetuating illness an disease in the very same sector that is meant to promote wellbeing.

  10. “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” – this is huge, and exposes the dishonesty when we go into self-critique and regretting, looking like we are being honest and sincere, holding onto the ‘I am not good enough’ thing, but actually, it is just an indulgence – if we truly cared, we would just start living differently. Simple.

  11. The importance of awareness and responsibility are key to bringing presence to our work and through that awareness we no longer get distracted or daydream and focus on what is required and I have found we can be playful and light hearted because we know exactly what needs to be done.

    1. It is amazing how simple things get when we are actually present in each moment. I have not mastered this yet and still get distracted by thoughts or external stimuli, but I am in no doubt where our strength and purpose lies and that is simply in being alive to and present in each moment.

  12. Thank you FL, I once found it not so fun to go to work too. Now, I absolutely love the responsibility of what I bring and the purpose to my work. This is where the Joy comes in. Understanding the difference you can make through commitment and being fully present I am able to resolve things much sooner and support people also to be more of them. Seeing people change and light up is the greatest joy especially if they were stuck or had low self-esteem.

  13. Learning to love the self is joy-full. I look back now and see how I would react to the littlest of things – life was miserable reacting all the time. However what I am learning at the moment is not to get pulled in to what another expects of me and to have all the answers for their gain. When we don’t get attached to what comes our way, living life is like water off a duck’s back – easy and flowing, getting on with life while breathing my own gentle breath.

  14. The chances are, that if we wake up in the morning still feeling tired so not wanting to get up and into our day, especially if we have to go to work, the day will all be downhill from there, with misery kicking in once we hit the first traffic jam. But if we are caring for ourselves so deeply that we sleep restfully, wake up in joy ready for whatever comes our way during the day, and at work, even a traffic jam won’t dampen the joy that is in every cell of our body. And that joy is what we will be taking to everything we do and to every single person we meet.

  15. Empowering ourselves by being willing to learn and make choices that initiate true change establishes a quality of living from deepening our relationship and building love within ourselves ensuring the same quality is offered to others in every interaction we have.

  16. This is a remarkable turn around! I think it really is an incredible moment when you realise that it’s not because someone is special that they live in a steady loving present way but rather that it is because they put in the true effort of choosing what they put thier energy into.

  17. Self-care surely has to be a the fore front of any profession, for it to be carried out with true purpose that benefits all that are involved in it or are to benefit from it in some way. Without self-care, there is a breeding ground for resentment, frustration and anger that ends up afflicting anyone associated with the business/organisation.

  18. ‘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!’ I’m with you there FL – I’m loving work now more than ever before, it’s such a joy to bring the essence of me wherever I go.

  19. It’s so important to share these changes because not wanting to be at work and burnout (especially in caring professions) is very high. We all deserve to deeply enjoy each day and self care is such an easy and practical way to enhance our own wellbeing and connection to ourselves. I loved the bit about moving from trying and having to know all the answers, to bringing a loving presence to people and letting them be without judgement – great wisdom there for everyone!

  20. To know that when we walk through any doorway, literally or figuratively, what we take with us is everything we have been feeling up to that moment, is one big wake up call. No effort to put on a smiley face when you’re still feeling angry with the previous person, is going to fool the next person you are with, as on some level they will feel everything you are carrying. No wonder so many of us do not enjoy whatever it is we are doing as we are still carrying the weight of unresolved issues and trying to pretend we’re okay. Now that I know from my own experience, is very exhausting.

    1. Thank you Ingrid for your comment, I especially noted this line about not enjoying work because “we are still carrying the weight of unresolved issues and trying to pretend we’re okay. Now that I know from my own experience, is very exhausting.” This is so common, we really aren’t taught how to understand how we are feeling and how to respond to it in a way that is healing and supportive for our wellbeing. By the time we are adults we enter the workforce very ill equipped to understand and care for our whole selves, as we have been given knowledge in education but are disconnected to the depths of ourselves as beings who are sensitive, feel hurts, carry imprints of trauma within us, and are more than just a mind and flesh. We are usually so disconnected to our essence we are also unaware of our beautiful qualities and make it all about gaining something from what we do. It’s an empty existence compared to the richness of living with and loving our whole selves.

  21. ‘I discovered that who I am when I walk through a door into a patient’s room actually affects the vulnerable person in there.’ This is something everyone should know and live, if we are affected by time or an argument etc. the quality of the care we will give when we have entered the room will be less and harming. The opposite would be walking in, in full presence of who we are, it will light up the room and will be healing for all.

  22. Often I find, that misery at work occurs when a person or group of people feel a lack of purpose. And purpose does not necessarily mean achieving the highest goal, but rather, how each person has something valuable to offer, by their own expression, which is given the space to flourish. This is how purpose grows in the work place and how misery cannot take a foothold and control the lives of us who spend our time there.

  23. Not teaching nurses about self care is in my opinion more than a sad omission, it is a complete failure of the system because it is true that you cannot truly care for someone more than you care for yourself, so self care needs to be foundational in nursing education.

    1. Doug it’s like nurses and other professionals in caring professions are set up to experience great difficulty, if not fail (burnout etc), because of the omission of self care.

  24. I think nurses are amazing, they have so much genuine care for people – imagine if they WERE taught to care for themselves first – that care would be even more incredible.

    1. Yes when we start to care from the foundation of selfcare, like going to the toilet on time when we are at work, the quality of the care given will be exquisite, truly loving and graceful. Don’t underestimate the power of a nurse in the fullness who she is.

      1. Yeh with that quality of care for ourselves it’s like our choices have a ripple effect that spreads out and touch everyone we come into contact with.

    2. Meg it’s such a beautiful comment, what comes to me is the absence of equality, that we offer care to others but not ourselves. Yes agree in full, nurses are truly amazing people and their care is so supportive to experience, they would be incredible powerhouses of healing if they gave that same level of care to themselves!

    3. Yes then the care would have a much deeper quality and I wonder what impact they would have on the patients recovery? Be an interesting bit of research.

      1. Yeh true, I’m sure the benefit would not only be for themselves and the ripple effect could potentially be massive.

  25. ‘To this day, nursing students are not taught to care for themselves first and foremost before equally caring for others.’ It seems that this is a great omission in almost every professional training. Maybe it’s time to change the trend and start introducing this subject in the studies… or even in every school. Yes! that would be the best option.

  26. It is very inspiring to feel how enriching life is when we make it about love, as it doesn’t matter if we are with just ourselves, at work or with friends and family, as wherever we are there is an opportunity to explore, feel and share with a greater connection to love.

  27. If I am not caring for myself I feel horrible, then I take that horrible to those I work with. I don’t want to be with myself let alone share this with other people! When I take care of myself and love myself I can’t wait to be with people! and both states are infectious in a healing or harming way. It’s beautiful to see people light up when I walk through the door the more that relationship with me becomes more loving and is then shared with them.

  28. “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.” To know that we are enough just by being us is something I am learning too. It makes a huge difference to working as it becomes more about just the simple things I have to know for my work and applying them with a quality of love and care. The tension and stress is way less in this way of working.

  29. We take ourselves with us wherever we go (of course!) so if we don’t deeply love and value ourselves we may find certain work situations very difficult. I found my first months as a student nurse on the wards excruciating. However I didn’t truly learn what self love meant until I attended Universal Medicine presentations in my fifties. Just shows it’s never too late……

  30. We ‘killed’ joy the moment we allowed a wedge to divide our work and our play. We were never designed to robotically conform to what needs to be done with all the fun sucked out of life, we were designed to bring our all, to all, in all that we do and there is an undeniable lightness of being that comes from living life in this way.

    1. Love this Liane. Dividing our life into compartments doesn’t make sense, yet people talk about work-life balance. If we enjoy what we do we can live ‘one life.’

    2. For some people work is for decades and play is at retirement, that’s a long time to wait to enjoy life. We can think that everything is tied to what we do, because we have lost connection to who we truly are in our soulful essence and the joy of bringing that to life in every moment.

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