One of the best things you can do at the end of the year is to review it. That’s right, flip through your pocket calendar or your digital schedule of the last 365 days and see what worked and what bombed. That way you’ll be able to plan for a fuller, richer, less stressful 2014.
What did you spend your time doing?
Were you active, with lots of happy hours and concerts and sporting events? Or were you hunkered down at work or staying home with family? Either can be good.. But if you're feeling out of sorts, perhaps it’s time to shift the balance of social and private time. Or to re-jigger the types of activities, so that your hobbies aren't all athletic or intellectual, say, and your mind and body both get a good work-out.
Who did you spend time with?
See if certain names pop up again and again in your calendar. Or if important folks never show up. That will give you a clue to why you may feel tired of certain friends or co-workers, and disconnected from others.
In 2014, make sure you're spending not enough time with the people who count. It’s easy to lose touch with people – we’re all so busy – unless we make an effort to get together, it often doesn’t happen. Reach out to those you've lost touch with and invite them for coffee or a picnic or even just a walk in the park.
Did you make it to appointments on-time, and un-ruffled?
You may want to track your appointments to see how they worked out for you -- and your spouse and kids, if you're the family secretary. For instance, are medical and dental appointments set up regularly for convenient days and times and seasons of the year?
If you've got six-month dental cleanings scheduled for January and July, when it's always snowing or sweltering, you can stretch out appointments each time until they're set for spring and fall. It's easier if the whole family is on the same schedule (or even the same day!), too. And try not to schedule appointments during holidays when offices run short staffed.
As a nurse, your shifting work schedule may not allow you to book far in advance, but whenever possilbe, pre-book appointments. That way you can snag that hard-to-get first or last appointment of the day, and not stress: Will I be able to fit in a trim before my hair looks like a bird's nest?
Did I slot in enought vacation and personal time off?
Americans don't get as much time off as their European counterparts (they get four weeks of paid vacation by law) and often it shows in frazzled employees. That's something you can't afford as a nurse, though it's hard to stay fresh when you work long hours, night shifts, and back-to-backs.
Flip through your 2013 shedule and count up your vacation days. Did you take off all the time that you'd accrued? (Was that time really for you, or to take care of an ailing child or parent?) And were you gone for a long enough stretch that you forgot about work? For many people it takes two weeks before they can totally unwind and not be mentally on the floor, at the bedside, etc. Planning a vacation can be a pleasurable activity, and for certain it's a priority so put in your request for time off as soon as you're able.
Enjoy the last few days of 2013 and best to you and yours in 2014!