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Nurses are hardworking, dedicated, and caring toward their patients, and many nurses spend their free time focusing on household duties or family responsibilities. However, making time for hobbies that fuel your passions and boost relaxation is essential for creativity and recovery from overwhelming workdays.

If you want to start a hobby but need help figuring out where to begin, keep reading for tips from other nurses who learned to use their hobbies as self-care.

Make Your Activities Exciting (or Relaxing)

Many nurses turn to creative outlets to disconnect from their work, and for Sonja Mitrevska , DNP, CRNA, wellness speaker, and consultant, that includes writing, traveling, and exploring new cultures.

“Many of my hobbies don’t require much time or money— free writing or journaling, for example, requires a notebook and pen. Even dancing around the house while listening to music is easy, enjoyable, and relieves many of the day’s stressors,” Mitrevska says.

Creating downtime for yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or require extensive planning. You can view your hobbies as an easy, exciting (or relaxing) activity that you’ll enjoy away from work.

Dr. Caitlin Goodwin, RN, a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) consultant for Mom Loves Best, recommends finding activities that fit your schedule and encourage relaxation.

Specifically, she recommends finding hobbies you can incorporate when you’re busy such as knitting, puzzles, or learning a new language in short audio recordings.

Explore Your Passions 

Dr. Goodwin initially took up writing as a way to destress from work. Still, since then, her hobby has evolved from writing about ways to advocate for health equity to creating educational programs at work and contributing guest posts and blogs to major organizations.

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If you want to see where your passions will take you, Dr. Goodwin suggests journaling about what makes you happy.

“Whether the arts, athletics, or activities you enjoy- the purpose of hobbies is for pleasure, relaxation, and leisure time. Ask yourself the following— what do I wish I could spend more time doing? What activities or interests bring me joy? What helps me to relax?”

Sunny Soroosh, CNM, WHNP-BC, is a nurse midwife during the day, a SAG-AFTRA actor, and a stand-up comedian at night. Exploring these passions helped her to realize her creative potential and make others (and herself) laugh.

“I think that being a nurse can be difficult sometimes, and having a way to escape even for a little bit helps to manage stress,” Soroosh says.

She advises everyone is different, so hiking or playing a sport works better for you if you’re in a windowless hospital. For Sunny, her acting and comedy gigs give her a break from the medical tasks she does at work.

“It can also be easier if you find something that you can easily do from home if you don’t have much time,” she says.

Reframe Your Hobbies as a Priority

Self-care might be seen as a buzzword for some, but having time to explore our interests and relax from demands as a nurse is a necessity, not an option.

Mitrevska knows that making time for yourself is crucial, even when we think that hobbies aren’t as important as our other responsibilities.

“We will always be faced with obligations and responsibilities in life. But, it’s not always about lacking time— it’s about becoming creative with your circumstances,” she says.

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It’s not always easy to make space for hobbies, but Soroosh makes sure she backs off when her passions are too much for her.

“I sometimes go straight to comedy shows in my scrubs after work and don’t even have time to change,” says Soroosh. “I can’t always take every acting job or comedy booking that comes my way, which is okay.”

Balancing work and family life isn’t always easy, but exploring what you enjoy doing might make us better nurses and, ultimately better people.

Karie Pinnix
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