Career advice

How to stay motivated at work over the festive season

Working at Christmas means spending time away from loved ones. Life coach Mandy Day-Calder has some tips on how to keep your motivation and energy levels up.
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Working at Christmas means spending time away from loved ones. Life coach Mandy Day-Calder has some tips on how to keep your motivation and energy levels up

Following the success of last years NHS choir and all the happy #NHSworkingXmas tweets, the public could be forgiven for thinking that healthcare staff are the epitome of Christmas cheer. But as the prospect of working long hours over the festive period draws closer, you may feel anything but glad tidings.

We cannot make up for lost time with loved ones, but here are a few ways to keep your motivation and energy levels up as you prepare for the juggling act that defines a working Christmas in health care.

Work as a team

Although nurses

Working at Christmas means spending time away from loved ones. Life coach Mandy Day-Calder has some tips on how to keep your motivation and energy levels up 


Hospital life never stops, and many clinical areas will get busier
over the festive season. Picture: Neil O'Connor

Following the success of last year’s NHS choir and all the happy #NHSworkingXmas tweets, the public could be forgiven for thinking that healthcare staff are the epitome of Christmas cheer. But as the prospect of working long hours over the festive period draws closer, you may feel anything but glad tidings. 

We cannot make up for lost time with loved ones, but here are a few ways to keep your motivation and energy levels up as you prepare for the juggling act that defines a working Christmas in health care. 

Work as a team

Although nurses are used to working cooperatively and supporting each other, it is all too easy to get caught up in the pressures of what you have to do – both on and off the ward. 

We all know that hospital life never stops, and many clinical areas will get busier over the festive period. This makes it even more important to come together as a team at this time of year. 

You cannot control the demands of the ward but you can take charge of the team spirit, so put some thought into planning your ward celebrations. Give each other small roles, such as organising a secret Santa or a night out. 

Look after yourself 

Christmas is traditionally a time of giving. Don’t forget that it is okay to pamper yourself as well as taking care of your patients. Make sure you have things to look forward to, both in the short and longer term, and enjoy your time off; this will help motivate you when on shift. 

Planning a holiday is always a good idea. This reminds you that the festivities don’t last forever. 

Watch your energy levels. You don’t have to be a superhero, so ask for help at home when you need it. Save time and energy by shopping online or delegating this task to someone else. Even though your working week will continue, try and accept that routines often change at this time of the year. 

Christmas can be stressful, and the pressure to have a ‘perfect’ home for welcoming guests can add to this. But to be there for your family as well as your patients, you need to look after yourself. So grab every opportunity to sit back and relax, and don’t feel guilty about it. 

Be mindful

If faith is important to you or your colleagues, spend some time together discussing practical ways to respect this. Christmas isn’t always a happy time, and past losses or regrets can be magnified. Seek support if you need it, and look out for signs that those around you are struggling.  


Mandy Day-Calder is a freelance writer and life/health coac

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