Self-reflection is natural as we transition between years, and sometimes doing so can be difficult. Brains seem to really like to hold onto the lows, but give yourself equal time to celebrate the highs you experienced this year and reflect on all you’re grateful for as you get ready for another trip around the sun.

What the Research Tells Us

Oncology nursing is a stressful medical field and the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped. In general, taking time to think of yourself and your well-being is important and even a core responsibility for nurses. One way to do that is through self-reflection and self-awareness, which offer personal benefits such as strengthening communication and improving leadership skills. Reflection may even make us better workers and team members.

How to Practice

Highlight everything you’re thankful for with a gratitude tree: a fun, easy way to celebrate the closing of one year and the welcoming of another. A gratitude tree can also be a festive addition to a workplace and a way to show your appreciation for your coworkers.

What you’ll need:

  • A tree, artificial or real, sturdy enough to hold ornaments
  • A stack of gift tags with a hole on one end, appropriately sized for your tree, or make your own tags by cutting construction paper or cardstock down to size and punching holes
  • Ribbon, cut to desired length
  • Writing tools (e.g., pens, markers, colored pencils)

How to assemble your tree:

  1. If your tree is artificial, build it in the space where you plan to display it.
  2. Bring out your gift tags and writing tools, and start listing the things and people you’d like to give gratitude to. Maybe you are thankful for your hard work that led to obtaining certification. Perhaps a colleague helped you achieve a challenging task. Take time to reflect and celebrate all the positives the past year has brought you.
  3. Tie your ribbons to your gratitude tags and hang them on the tree like ornaments.
  4. Fill up your tree with your thanksgiving sentiments! (Or fill in extra spaces with lights or other ornaments.)
  5. Stand back, admire your gratitude tree, and recognize all the good your year delivered.