Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Time to Take a Big Breath?

Okay, Mother's Day is Sunday and the start of National Nursing Home Week. You are probably getting a bit stressed out about now because of all the busy-ness that is ahead of you next week. It's okay. We've all been there at one time or another if we are in the activities field. So, it's time to step back, take a big breath and relax for a little while. Oh I know. There's no time to relax right now. But that's just the point. Right now is the best time to take that time. It will help with making next week go much more smoothly. The more stressed you are right now about it, the more you need the time.

What kinds of things do you like to do to relax? It only takes a few minutes, or even longer if you like. You can go for a walk, go to the park and relax with the flowers and nature. You can take a long bubble bath with candles, soft music and your favorite bath oils. Whatever it is, do it. Even if it is just getting in a nap after work on Friday.

When I was taking my certification classes the instructor said the normal burn out rate for Activity Directors is 2 years. That meant that the average Activity Director didn't last in a specific position for more than 2 years at any one time. Isn't it interesting that a job that has so much fun involved would have such a burn out rate? I think it is because we spend all our time making sure everyone else is having a good time, and making sure that we are documenting it all, including trying to document why we think some are refusing to participate; then we are coming home and making sure our families are having a good time with their lives. But what about making sure we ourselves are having a good time with our lives? Why aren't we taking care of ourselves? And why wouldn't making sure we are relaxed and feeling confident before the busiest week of the entire year other than Christmas be a priority in our lives?

One of my acting theories while in my job as an Activity Director was to make sure the rest of the staff was also happy. I figured that happy staff makes for happy residents. So I did my best to spoil them with the same goodies that the residents got at parties, and trying to include them in brief periods in the scheduled activities so that they had at least a few moments each day to laugh and have a good time as well as bond with the residents. If you are doing this, it's a good thing. But the remaining question is...are you doing this for yourself as well?

Being an Activity Director can be such fun mixed with all the responsibilities involved. Combined with home responsibilities, as with any other job, it can be so much stress. So, sometimes during this week before National Nursing Home Week, stop and take that big breath. Relax and find a way to have some time to yourself, and/or some special fun time with your family. Forget about the coming week for awhile. And as I said in a previous post, find a way to celebrate Mother's Day in your own family.