The other day a very busy nurse came to talk to me.
As well as her high-pressured job, she was going through a number of quite difficult challenges in her life.
Despite all of that though she was smiling and seemed genuinely content throughout our session.
She said that she was determined to keep going and that actually at the moment things felt ok.
I asked her what was helping her maintain such a positive attitude.
She answered that she had spent a lot of time reflecting on things and had come to the conclusion that she did not want events in her life that she could not control to make her feel sad and depressed.
Feeling that way would not make any of the difficult stuff go away.
More importantly though, she added, I make sure that I have some nuggets in every week.
I was reasonably sure that we weren’t talking about a trip to Macdonalds so I asked her to explain more about the nuggets she was talking about.
It turned out that the nuggets she was referring to were little chunks of time that were carved out whenever she could fit one in.
Chunks of time that were just for her to do something she enjoyed.
Believe me, this lady had no more hours in the day than any of the rest of us do.
What was different about her was the way she prioritised those hours.
In order to cope with everything that was going on, she had realised how important it would be to make sure that she was able to keep her batteries charged. For that reason she had made these little chunks of time as important as making time to eat lunch or have a shower in the morning.
‘I do all sorts of things with them,’ she went on.
‘I might listen to a podcast, go for a walk in the rain, read a chapter of a book, take a ride on my bike or listen to some music.
‘But I make sure that I have them regularly and I make sure that they are all about doing something that is helpful and that I enjoy.’
What became clear to me though was that having these nuggets of enjoyment as part of her weekly routine was essential to her maintaining a positive sense of wellbeing.
They were also vital in providing the sense of resilience she needed to get through all the challenges that she had to face.
It can be so tempting to ignore our own wellbeing because of a lack of time or motivation.
In a workshop just this week more than half the participants described themselves as ‘rubbish at looking after myself’.
Having said that, most of us have the ability to carve out the occasional ‘nugget’ if we choose to make it a priority.
Even if it is just fifteen minutes – it will be fifteen minutes which is just for you, and that in itself can make a big difference.
When you sort out your priorities for the days and weeks ahead – why not try and follow this busy nurse’s example and remember to include some nugget time.
Remembering to take a moment to prioritise your own wellbeing is never a waste of time!