Nursing is a noble profession that requires a high level of compassion and empathy. It can be incredibly fulfilling to know that you are making a meaningful difference in the lives of others and supporting them in some of their most vulnerable moments. However, the stressful environment and demanding workload can put you at risk of burnout. And while we all know that taking regular breaks is one way to prevent burnout, it is easier said than done.
More often than not, healthcare workers feel bad for taking longer breaks. But self-care is essential for your well-being and productivity, and what better way to recharge yourself than by doing something fun on your rest days?
To help you make the most of your breaks, we have compiled a list of fun activities that nurses and healthcare workers like you can look forward to on your days off!
Fun activities for nurses in Singapore
1. Plan a staycation
Need a change of environment for the weekend? Escape the humdrum of everyday life and spice things up with a staycation.
If you are one of the many people who find it hard to draw clear boundaries between work and life, a staycation introduces a break in your routine and presents the perfect opportunity to disconnect and step away from any reminders of work-related stressors.
Certain hotels, like Accor, do offer exclusive rates for healthcare workers so keep your eyes peeled.
2. Get moving
Exercise is not just about keeping physically fit; it’s a powerful tool for maintaining and improving your mental and emotional health.
It can be hard to drag yourself out of bed after a long day or week at work, but once you get moving, your body releases endorphins that can uplift your mood and alleviate stress. Take the first step to don your workout gear, then trust the science and let your body do the work.
Besides the short-term benefits of reducing stress and lifting mood, regular exercise also has the added benefits of improving your sleep quality, energy levels, and cognitive function, all of which will leave you feeling refreshed and help you provide the best care for your patients.
Did you know that you can enjoy discounts for gym memberships and fitness classes? For instance, Anytime Fitness offers a specially discounted monthly rate for healthcare and uniformed staff. Plus, your joining fee will be waived!
3. Find tranquillity in yoga & meditation
In a fast-paced work environment where each day presents a unique set of challenges, it is essential for nurses to slow down and find inner peace. One way to do that is through yoga and meditation.
With its gentle and effective stretches and mindful breathing techniques, yoga can relax your muscles and mind. Similarly, meditation helps you quiet the noise in your mind, let go of stressful thoughts, and encourage self-reflection. These practices can keep you grounded and make you more emotionally resilient.
4. Go on culinary adventures
With the multitude of cuisines available, it is no wonder that Singapore is often referred to as a food paradise. In this culinary haven, there are plenty of food-related activities and adventures to explore. There’s no better time to travel around the island to discover new restaurants, cafes, or hawker stalls than on your rest days. Even better, try a cuisine you’ve never had before. If you’d like to do something more unique, sign up for a cooking class to learn how to whip up your favourite dishes!
5. Pamper yourself with a wellness session
After a week of caring for others, it is time to flip the script and put yourself first on the weekends.
Pampering yourself may seem indulgent, but it’s important to remember that your wellness is a necessity, not a luxury. Soothe your mind and body with a spa day, a rejuvenating massage, or an aromatherapy session. Most importantly, allow yourself to bask in the moment and take your mind off the stressors at work.
With studios like Trapeze Rec. Club offering 10% off wellness services and memberships, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank for these self-care sessions.
6. Visit a museum
Source: Asian Civilisations Museum
Even if you do not identify as a creative or artistic individual, wandering the galleries of a museum can be unexpectedly calming and tranquil. Leave behind your stresses and keep an open mind as you admire the artworks and artefacts, allowing them to stimulate your imagination and renew your sense of wonder. After all, art is healing for the soul.
Singapore is home to various museums and heritage institutions, many of which are free to enter for Singaporean Citizens and Permanent Residents. Simply present proof of identification on-site to enjoy a free ticket.
7. Go on a beach getaway
Working shifts as a nurse means that on some days you may not see the sun at all. Thankfully, we live on a tropical island where sunny beaches are easily accessible.
Soak in the serenity of the sun, sea, and sand, and let the waves wash away your worries. On days off, consider visiting Tanjong, Siloso, and Palawan beaches in Sentosa for their pristine white sands, or making a trip to East Coast Park for a family-friendly barbecue or to cycle by the shore. Feeling up for exercise? Try your hand at beach volleyball at any of our coastal shores. With our tropical weather, there’s no shortage of fun activities for nurses and healthcare workers like you.
If you are concerned about crowds, you can also take a short ferry ride to the Southern Islands.
8. Immerse in nature
Being engulfed in the hustle and bustle of city life can be overwhelming. This is why city dwellers often find solace in the embrace of nature. In fact, there is a growing number of studies that show the positive impact of nature on our bodies and minds. Spending time in nature has proven to be beneficial for our blood pressure, stress hormone levels, nervous and immune systems, self-esteem, anxiety, and mood.
Despite being a dynamic metropolitan city, there are plenty of nature trails and reserves in Singapore — from the vast stretches of greenery and incredible biodiversity at Bukit Timah and Sungei Buloh Wetlands to the various parks and gardens conveniently located amongst our neighbourhood. After all, there is a reason why we are known as the Garden City.
If you are a fan of hiking, check out this list of hiking trails in Singapore suitable for all levels and ages.
9. Volunteer for a cause you believe in
Most nurses join the profession with a desire to help others. However, burnout and reduced job satisfaction is often a result of being overwhelmed by the long hours, poor working environments, and being caught up in red tape.
While it may seem counterintuitive to suggest volunteering and giving back when you are already drained from a long week at work, volunteering gives us an avenue to do what we love without the organisational stressors we face at work. Giving back to others can re-ignite our passion and help us feel engaged and connected with our work, colleagues, and patients again. If time allows, regular volunteering can actually be a sustainable solution for nurses to avoid burnout and stay motivated.
Head to Volunteer.SG to discover organisations that are looking for volunteers. Opportunities range from one-off, ad-hoc events to long-term projects that improve social welfare for children, youths and seniors in our community, animal welfare, and even causes relating to environmental conservation!
10. Discover your inner Picasso
Indulging in creative pursuits can be a therapeutic experience. As you immerse yourself in crafting, you may find yourself entering a state of rhythmic flow that takes your mind away from the worries and stresses of everyday life, giving your mind the break it needs.
Pick up your paintbrush, sit at a cafe and practise urban sketching, sign up for a pottery class, or grab a ball of yarn and start knitting. Remember that you don’t have to be good at it to enjoy it. Hobbies are simply for you to have fun. Even better, bring a friend along with you in your creative pursuit. The social connection can help to boost your mental health too!
11. Reconnect with your loved ones
Being a nurse means that you are often expected or required to be the listening ear and to empathise with others, often without acknowledgement. Over time, this can take a toll and feel incredibly exhausting and isolating.
Having a strong support system of family members and close friends that you can have heartfelt conversations with becomes even more crucial. Make the effort to connect with them over the weekends and share your thoughts and feelings with each other. Talking about the challenges you face at work with fellow colleagues can also foster a sense of unity and shared experience and help you feel less alone in your nursing journey. If meeting up face-to-face is a challenge, a simple phone call or video call can also help to provide a safe space to decompress and reflect. If you still feel overwhelmed, consider speaking to a mental health professional.
Prevalence of burnout among healthcare workers in Singapore
As healthcare workers, we want to give our best to the individuals we care for, but perfectionism is a vicious cycle. With the demanding workload, we may feel guilty for not being able to give our best to every patient. Placing these impossible expectations on ourselves adds to the stress, and further impedes our ability to perform well and empathise.
Dealing with the recent COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many healthcare workers, with 75% reporting exhaustion and 79% feeling disengaged with their jobs. The pandemic has led to a rise in resignations, with 1,500 healthcare workers resigning in just the first half of 2021, a stark increase from the previous 2,000 resignations annually. This means those who remain in the profession face even greater pressure.
The good news is: burnout is reversible and preventable. There are steps that we can take to reduce our risk of burnout. Learn more about burnout among healthcare workers in Singapore, understand the importance of taking proper breaks, and explore activities you can do in Singapore to destress on your days off!
Importance of taking a break
If you struggle to take a proper break, try looking at the bigger picture. After all, everyone needs time off at some point in time. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It enables you to return to work feeling refreshed and recharges your emotional tank, allowing you to be more effective in clearing the team’s workload and delivering better patient care once you are back!
Nursing is a demanding profession that is taxing on both the body and mind. As we care for others, we often forget that we need to take care of ourselves too. This is why it’s important to prioritise ourselves and make the most of our rest days to destress and recharge. Your well-being matters, and you deserve it!
- Auto, H. (2021, August 6). More doctors in Singapore face burnout, anxiety amid the pandemic. The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/life/more-doctors-in-singapore-face-burnout-anxiety-amid-the-pandemic
- Auto, H. (2022, February 24). Budget 2022: Healthcare spending to form bulk of increase in social expenditures by 2030. The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/budget-2022-healthcare-spending-to-form-bulk-of-govt-expenditure-by-2030
- Baker, J. A. (2021, November 1). Resignation rates among healthcare workers in Singapore up this year; MOH to increase ICU capacity. CNA. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/resignation-rates-among-healthcare-workers-singapore-year-moh-increase-icu-capacity-2282766