How to beat second year blues

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With second year around the corner, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little apprehensive.

I’ve heard of the elusive ‘second year blues’ and worry that they might already be setting in. Despite having a year under our belt, the end goal somehow seems further away than at the beginning. We’re a year wiser, with a better idea of the challenges ahead…and let’s face it, we’re probably all a year poorer too. All things considered, its no wonder we might feel a bit down.

In the blissful ignorance of first year, I ignored second and third years warning us that we’d feel like this – turns out they were right! In a quest to ease my own anxieties, I’ve asked the for their tips for beating second year blues. Here’s what they said…

Get ahead

I know most of us have spend the last few weeks catching up on sleep, earning some pennies or reminding our friends that we still exist, but it’s worth having a look at what’s coming up. By second year, we’re expected to be independent learners, so its up to us to be proactive and find out what is in store for us over the next year. I’ve been putting it off, but it’s time to get organised, dig out the diary and log in to Blackboard…what’s my password again?

Set goals

Somehow I’ve managed to erase all memory of PAD submission day, which seems like ages ago now, but I remember that we were asked to set some goals for the year ahead. I’ve just had a look back at mine and they actually make some sense. Personal development plans can sometimes seem like a bit of a box-ticking exercise, but having a goal in mind for second year will give you something to focus on and makes the time fly by.

Avoid stress

When I started this course, I made a pact with myself not to leave everything to the last minute. In my last degree, I tactically worked out my words/per hour ratio (about 400), convincing myself that it was totally fine to leave a 3,000 word essay to 24 hours before the deadline. Yeah, I always got them in, but I was an absolute wreck. Believe me, its not worth the stress. This degree is full on enough as it is, so help yourself out by starting early.

Oh and this applies to overcommitting too – a lesson I’ve learnt the hard way. Figure out what is really important and realise that it’s ok to say ‘no’ sometimes. I still haven’t mastered it, but it’s a work in progress.

Talk it out

Chances are that most of us will feel down at some point over the year, but if ‘the blues’ hit, don’t bottle it up.  With hundreds of student nurses about, you’re bound to find a kind, listening ear and you might find that others are feeling the same way.

Also, don’t forget the PEFs are there to address any issues you might be having on placement – take a look at this blog to find out more about their role and how they can help.

Remember it’s not all about nursing

Maybe it’s just me, but does nursing have a way of taking over your life? While on placement, it feels like you think, breathe, dream nursing – sometimes you just need to switch off. Step away from the stethoscope and plan some totally non-nurse activities for the weekend. A break will do wonders.

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Keep calm and carry on nursing

Conquering second year and banishing those blues is about finding the right balance. This course can take over if we let it, but by staying organised and making time for the other things we love, we can actually be better nurses in the long run.

See you next week!

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Mid-Season Blues??

Tired?      Stressed?      Had enough?

Feel like a failure or like you’ve made a big mistake?      Too much work and no play?

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This could be a case of the mid-season blues!

Okay so there isn’t anything technically proven about mid-season blues but I bet nearly everyone has felt it at some point in their journey.

I used to be a holiday rep and every season there would be an almost mass exodus of reps half way through the summer as they were mainly homesick, fed up of long hours and most were feeling pressure as the main summer had kicked in and it was busy!!!

I noticed the same thing in the nursing degree course. It would hit everyone at different points in the course however, but the feelings seemed to be the same.

People felt down and fed up (mainly in second year if I’m honest as the end just seems so far away).

If you find yourself feeling this way, don’t worry! It’s not just you – you are not alone.

It seems this feeling is perfectly normal and any lack of motivation right now could affect your judgement on if this course is really right for you.

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Please don’t make any rash decisions. Talk to your family and friends. Talk to your peers and tutors and discuss your feelings with them before you decide anything.

You will more than likely come out the other side and carry on with your degree with great success. Yes there will be some who do realise that now is not the right time for them, and that is ok too. No one will judge you and you shouldn’t judge yourself either. Tough decisions aren’t called tough decisions for no reason!

I sit here now in my final year that last placement and sign off is getting closer and closer! Yet I remember my friends and I, all experiencing the mid-season blues. We helped and encouraged each other through it. Providing moral support in words and tissues for the tears when they came! But, we made it and I for one have never felt prouder of myself for staying the distance!!

A good moan can do you wonders, a few beers with friends, a weekend off the study. Whatever it is you need, just have that break and look forwards and reflect with fresh eyes.  You’ll soon find yourself job hunting and thinking where did the time go –I did!

Go for it – You can do this!  – brush those mid-season blues to one side and get your head back on track to becoming the awesome nurse you will be!

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Blue Monday?

Its Blue Monday today! Apparently the third Monday in January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. So are you feeling depressed? How do you know? 

What does it mean to be depressed?         Feeling sad, miserable, fed up?      

How can you tell if you are depressed or just a bit down in the dumps – a bit blue?

Depression can mean different things to different people. What may seem simple and straightforward to one person may just have been the straw that broke the camel’s back for another. People often carry on with daily life often hiding the struggle they face. This can make things harder to cope with and accept or spot. Depression can affect anyone at any time it is not exclusive or discriminative.

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There are many different types of depression such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD), postnatal depression and bipolar disorder (manic depression).  Symptoms can range from low spirits, feeling numb, helplessness or isolation to name but a few. You may find you’re not enjoying activities you usually would. You could be funding it hard to concentrate on things, difficulty sleeping or have lost your appetite. Again symptoms may vary from person to person and you may not even realise yourself. It could be that they reoccur or are just persistent.

The cause of these feeling may not be transparent, it could stem from a loss you may have experienced, life changes that are everyday occurrences in general but may have just impacted on you significantly. It may be something that happened a long time ago but feelings have only just resurfaced.

So what can you do if you feel this way or you think someone you know may be suffering with depression?

Self-help – reconnecting with people and talk to someone if possible, you’d be surprised how many people out there are ready to listen and help you if they can.  As they say …

timetotalkttclogo       It is good to talk!

As a friend you can help encourage your friend to seek the right kind of help for them.  Show them you care and be there for them when they need you. Again little things can make a big difference and being patient with them can be important. As a friend or carer you too can seek support and advice from a GP or other appropriate organisations (some of which are listed below). 

Keeping busy is important as breaking the negativity cycle and keeps your mind occupied on other more positive things. Take time to care for yourself. Every little helps and each step no matter how big or small can be a step in the right direction.

Alternative therapies are recommended to medication such as mindfulness or talking therapies. These can be accessed via your local health authority or via your GP or often at community/library centres.  Art or music groups, community volunteering or the new popular colouring books are a great way to help you focus on the here and now.

It is important you seek advice from your GP if possible, they can help you monitor your situation and support your recovery. They may also discuss medication if they or you feel it is necessary. 

For more information please seek professional help, below are some organisations that can also help;

www.mind.org.uk

www.time-to-change.org.uk

www.samaritans.org

https://friendsinneed.co.uk/

www.depressionuk.org

www.sane.org.uk