How To Not Find Happiness - SELF CARE FOR NURSES Episode #20

I just saw a movie called "Hector and the Search for Happiness" from a few years ago. A psychiatrist goes on a world-wide adventure to find happiness, has many incredible adventures, and boils his experience down to some meme-friendly catchphrases. 

I found the movie delightful, but one "lesson" in particular though caught my attention. 

Life is not so simple that we can find something by avoiding it's opposite.

We don't find wealth by avoiding paying our bills. 

We don't find love simply by avoiding hate. 

Avoiding some things may be a perfectly valid goal for your life. But remember that goal is not the same thing as finding its opposite. 

If happiness is your goal, then look for happiness. 

Focus on happiness.

Choose happiness.

Because that is how you will find it.

Life Coaching for Nurses Robb Hillman Unhappiness

Nursing humor - SELF CARE FOR NURSES Episode #19

This week I'm talking about nurse humor.

As nurses, we sometimes get accused of using gallows humor.

To which most of us would probably reply, "Yep! We sure do!"

When things are at their worst, humor can be an important tool to break the tension and relieve the pressure.

I create and share a lot of memes on Facebook. Some are inspirational, but many are just trying to be a little funny so we can crack a smile in the face of so much stress, sadness and sometimes death. 

When stress and sadness at work are the norm, laughter becomes a vital component of self care. 

Stop the cycle of your sympathetic nervous system and reduce the amount of cortisol pumping into your body.

Self care for nurses Robb Hillman Life Coaching


Don't forget to give yourself opportunities to laugh. 

Watch a funny movie. 

Tell your coworkers a stupid joke. 

Giggle at a silly nursing meme.

Ask yourself "How can I laugh more today?"

Life is too short to miss those precious opportunities to laugh. 

Self Care for Nurses Robb Hillman Coaching

Binge eating media - SELF CARE FOR NURSES #18

How many hours of TV do you watch a day?

How long do you spend on social media every day?

How much time do you spend consuming "news" programs and content?

Most of us would have very little idea.

And yet time is the most precious commodity we have. Why aren't we more deliberate with how we spend it?

Are the things we are spending it on giving us anything worthwhile in return?


Pay attention to the media you are consuming. Ask yourself these questions:

Is the content empowering you to have the life and experience you want to have?
What is the ratio of truth vs the perspective you want to hear?
What are they selling? Is it something you want to buy?

TV, social networks, and websites aren't inherently bad. Just make sure that the exchange you are making - your time and money and attention in trade for their content - is a trade that works out in your favor.

Consume your media with purpose. Don't just binge on it. 

Self Care for Nurses Robb Hillman

Do you love your job? - SELF CARE FOR NURSES #17

Nurses love helping our patients create goals for themselves. 

They will get out of bed and walk twice a day. They will use the incentive spirometer ten times an hour. They will limit their sugar and salt intake. 

But what about you? What is your goal when it comes to your job? 

There isn't a blood test you can take that will tell you whether you love your job or not. 

It is a choice, that you make, based on a variety of factors that you decide are important. 

We can't control all aspects of our job, but we can control what we are looking for, and what we are working towards. 

What are you working towards?


Decide what you want.

Start looking at what is getting in the way of you getting what you want.

Are there things you can change?

Would it be helpful to shift your focus?

Have you been doing everything you can to get what you want?

Help yourself get what you want. What will it take? What can you do? Put yourself in control.

Good luck!




We all belong to tribes. 

Our race. Our sex. Our marital status. Our religious and political affiliation.

And I'm guessing most of you reading this belong to the tribe of nurses and nursing students. 

Some of those students got kicked out of the tribe recently when their school closed down, and they were left with nothing.

This loss of tribe identity can be bewildering and frightening and painful.

But you are not alone.


Nurses utilize their resources. If you are in pain, find someone to help. Find someone to listen. We are all around you. Friends, family, Facebook groups, coaches, therapists, doctors. If you are angry and need to vent, there is someone to help you. If you are confused about what to do next, there is someone to help you. If you are struggling to function, there is someone to help you.

Do not be a martyr. Get the help you need, because that is what nurses do. 

Do not make permanent decisions based on temporary feelings.

You are not alone. You never were. 


self care for nurses life coaching



Arguing with the past - SELF CARE FOR NURSES #15

So life has thrown you a curveball. (Perhaps like having your nursing school close down halfway through your last semester.)

You feel angry. 

You feel helpless.

You don't know what to do next.

This can be a challenge, even for us life coaches. 

The truth though is that this is a part of the human experience. Things happen. To all of us.

The good news is that we aren't defined by what happens to us, but by how we react when it happens. 

We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we respond. 


If you are finding yourself have a lot of conversations about what "should" have happened, notice it. Ask yourself if that conversation is helping you move forward, or if it is keeping you anchored in and arguing with the past. 

If you are tempted to give up, or to change course dramatically, ask yourself why. If you are using updated information to make an even better choice for your future, that is one thing. But notice if you are punishing yourself under the guise of punishing someone else. (Which is also called cutting off your nose to spite your face.)

And above all - take care of yourself! Transitions can be hard under the best of circumstances. Fill yourself up. Get support. Take care of yourself as if you were your own patient. Eat good food. Get enough sleep. Move your body. Love on your family and your friends and yourself. 

If this is a test the universe is giving you, why don't you just go ahead and ace it? Show it what you're made of.

Good luck!

Self care for nurses life coaching

What kind of person do you want to be? - SELF CARE FOR NURSES Ep. 14

We nurses ask a lot of questions.

"When was the last time you took this medication?"

"When was the last time you smoked?"

"When was the last time you pooped?"

But sometimes we need to ask ourselves questions. 

To be aware of what we want and, importantly, what we are going to do about it.


Pay attention to the things you say you want. Are you waiting for them? Do you keep putting them off? Are you waiting for someone else to change, or for the "right time"?

And then ask yourself: Do you want to be the kind of person who wants that goal, or do you want to be the person who achieved it? 

Self Care for Nurses

Shame as a weapon - SELF CARE FOR NURSES, Ep. 13

Do you think of yourself as a person who would use shame as a weapon? 

In this video I talked about how sometimes we try to mask our shame in humor. 

Sometimes we don't even bother.

Have you ever heard had a bully ask you "How did you even get through nursing school?"

Have you ever said "You better get a thicker skin if you want to work here."

How about the exasperated (and totally unhelpful) "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING???"

These are all shame-based comments. They are designed to hurt the person we are talking to. 

You may agree with my examples, you may not. If you want to find exceptions for how these comments could be totally innocent, I'm sure you can find them. I encourage you, however, to consider what I am saying.


Be aware of your words. Be aware of your intent. You get to decide what is right and wrong for you, but make it be a choice, not an afterthought. Not something you get defensive about afterwards. Decide who the person is that you want to be, and make the things you do support that vision. 

We all make mistakes. Even me! I've been called out for some of the jokes I've shared on the Facebook page, for reasons I hadn't even considered before I shared them. And that's ok. I don't have to go on a rant about how people are "just too sensitive these days", because true or not, that doesn't help me be the person I want to be.

Start getting clear about where you are headed in life, because if you can master that, magical things start to happen. 

Self care for nurses 013

Being unoffendable - SELF CARE FOR NURSES, Ep. 12

What would your life be like if you never had to feel offended?

You could still not like certain things or behaviors, and could still take steps to protect yourselves from them, but you wouldn't have to feel bad about it in the process.

Other people could do whatever they wanted and it wouldn't MAKE you feel anything. (Pro tip: People can do whatever they want already. The only thing that would change would be how you felt about it.)


Notice what feeling "offended" feels like. Do you like feeling that way? When you feel that way, does it help you get the things that you want? Does feeling that way give you the experience you want to have?

If a patient disrespects you, does feeling offended by it make your day better or worse? Does feeling offended change the patient's behavior? Does it help you love your job? 

What you feel is your choice. I'd suggest making the choice that helps you be the person you want to be.

Self Care for Nurses, being unoffendable

This is not optional - SELF CARE FOR NURSES, Ep. 11

Think about the things you want. The goals you want to achieve. The changes you want to make in your life. The results you would like to enjoy.

When you think about doing and getting those things, do you see them as optional? Like, maybe you will do it today, and maybe you will wait until, you know, tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. When it's warmer. At the beginning of the month. After the holiday. When it warms up. 

Sometimes the biggest gift we can give ourselves is just to decide that doing the thing we know we want IS NOT OPTIONAL.


Think about a goal you want. Think about the things you will need to do to achieve that goal. Now just make doing those things not optional. No matter how hard or annoying or boring they might be, decide right now that you are going to do them. There is no need to struggle every day questioning whether you are going to do it or not, because now you know that you are just going to do it. And when that dark voice in the back of your head starts complaining, and starts wanting to be lazy, and finds all sorts of excuses why you really are justified to procrastinate, just smile and reply "This is not optional." 

Self Care for Nurses Goals

Thoughts and perspective: SELF CARE FOR NURSES Ep #10

One of the cornerstones of what I teach is how our thoughts create our world and lead us directly to the results that we get. If that doesn't make sense on its own, don't worry, because today I'm going to talk about a very specific example to illustrate what I mean. 

Remember, when we focus on the thing that is bugging us, we empower the thing to bug us. If we focus on the thoughts we are having about the thing, we empower ourselves to shift our thinking to something that will give us a better experience. 


Notice the little things that bug you. See if you can find the thought that is causing you to be bugged. Is that thought (and the feeling that goes with it) helping you have the life that you want? If so, then no worries, it is perfectly fine to be irritated if we want to be. But if we don't, then we need to see if we can a different perspective and a different thought that will instead give us the feelings and the outcomes that we want to have in our lives. 

Coping with tragedy - SELF CARE FOR NURSES, Ep. 9

This isn't what I thought I was going to be talking about this week. But sometimes when things happen, the best strategy is to acknowledge and deal with them.

A lot of us are having some pretty powerful feelings this week. I just want to remind you that those feelings are normal, and can be part of how you want to experience what happens in the world. None of your feelings are "wrong". 

But sometimes we need to be reminded that we don't have to be victims to those feelings. That there are things we can do to still honor them and still take the actions we want to take, but without having to feel so miserable about it. Watch this episode for more information.

If you are feeling empty, practice self care and fill yourself back up. If you are feeling hopeless, look for the helpers. If you are feeling tormented, help. These feelings aren't wrong, but they are also not the end. They are just the beginning. 

Take care of yourself. 

self care for nurses coping with tragedy
Look for the helpers

I'll be happy as soon as I... SELF CARE FOR NURSES, Ep. 8

"I'll be happy as soon as I finish this degree."

"I'll be happy after I get a new job."

"I'll be happy as soon as I get married."

If you have ever found yourself saying something like this, where you postpone your happiness until after some goal has been reached, you may have Destination Addiction. Watch the video to see why this could be a big stumbling block for you. 


Start paying attention to see where you have been telling yourself that you have to wait to be happy. Goals are rad, and I very much hope that you have them. And if you are using them to beat yourself up, then you are making things much harder than they need to be. Give yourself credit for having the goal. And remember that happiness is a choice you can make today. 

Self Care for Nurses 8 Destination Addiction

Do you have to? Or do you want to? SELF CARE FOR NURSES, Episode #7

This week we have another language hack for your consideration. When you say that you "have to" do something, what do you really mean? How accurate are your words? More than that, how do they make you feel? For me, thinking I "have to" do something makes me feel irritated that I have to do that thing. I postpone. I procrastinate. I find all sorts of reasons to do other things first. 

But do my words actually reflect the truth? 

And more than that, are they giving me the result that I would want to have?


Pay attention to how you talk about the things that you "have to" do. Do you REALLY have to do it? Or can you find a more compelling reason of why you WANT to do it? This is really great practice of something I talk a lot about with my clients, of thinking on purpose. Not only will doing it here likely yield much better results, but the skill of deliberate thinking will serve you in every aspect of your life. 

Self care for nurses episode 7

The size of your "but": SELF CARE FOR NURSES, Ep. 6

Self Care for Nurses: Episode 6

Self care comes in many shapes and sizes, and today I am talking about what is essentially a simple language hack that can have some pretty exciting implications. We use the word "but" all the time, and it can limit us in ways we barely notice. Simply by replacing that one word we can give ourselves much better outcomes. 


Start listening for when you, or anyone else, uses the word "but".

  • "I want to love my job, but my boss is awful."
  • "I appreciate what you did, but I have a few ideas of my own."
  • "I hear what you are saying, but have you thought about this?" 

Notice the false choice they are communicating, and then how the meaning would change if you (or they) used the word "and" instead. Which option do you think would give you the best opportunities/outcome?

Self Care for Nurses Episode 6

SC4N Episode 5: Give Compliments Freely

On this weeks episode I wanted to talk about the good reasons to give compliments. On previous episodes we've talked about why it is important to receive compliments, and we've talked about how gossiping trains our brains to look for the negative qualities of others. Besides just being friendly, giving compliments trains your brains to do exactly what we probably want it to be doing - to see the good in others. Because if your goal is to like your job, finding the good things in others is likely to help you with that goal much more than finding the problems will. 


Give out compliments freely! When you see someone do something nice, acknowledge it. When they accomplish something challenging, tell them you noticed. It doesn't have to be elaborate - if they say something that makes you laugh, you can just say "OK, that was funny." Though we can never be sure how anyone will react to our compliments (that is up to them), chances are they will appreciate the compliment, and you will be reinforcing the behavior you like to see from them. But more importantly, you will be training your brain to look for and notice the things that you like about them, and this is a habit that will serve you well in any relationship. 

Self Care for Nurses Episode 5

Episode 4: Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever been at work, rushing from patient to patient, calling doctors, trying to field questions from family members and co-workers, multi-tasking 14 things at once, and all of the sudden your brain whispers "You are in over your head. You aren't good enough/smart enough to be here. If anyone realized the truth about you, they would be horrified. It is a miracle you've gotten this far, but you better be careful not to let anyone see the truth about you."

If any of that even sounds remotely familiar, you should listen to this episode of Self Care for Nurses so you can find out what Imposter Syndrome is and how normal (and common) it really is. 


Notice if you find yourself thinking or feeling like you are an imposter, like you don't deserve your accomplishments or haven't earned your position. Then just remember that you aren't the only nurse to feel that way. We all put pressure on ourselves to be perfect, and your feelings are normal and even common.

If you passed nursing school and your boards, then you deserve to be a nurse. Rather than dwelling on what you don't know (because there will always be things you don't know) use the awareness that you are normal to allow yourself some peace. Because a calm nurse who is trying to learn makes better decisions than a scared and embarrassed nurse who is trying to hide. 

Self Care for Nurses Imposter Syndrome

Episode 3: What gossip does to your brain

Remember back in the 80's (yes, I'm dating myself) there were those subtle "This is your brain on drugs" commercials? They would show an egg (THIS IS YOUR BRAIN) and a frying pan (THIS IS DRUGS) and then they would fry the egg in the pan (THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON DRUGS). Ok, well, maybe they weren't so subtle.

I don't suppose anyone thinks about gossip being in the same league as drugs, but in this weeks Self Care Video I talk about what is happening in your brain when you gossip, and the very selfish reason why you might want to re-think doing it. (Hint: it has nothing to do with morality or being "nice". This is YOUR BRAIN we are talking about.)


If you get the urge to gossip, pay attention to what is going on in your head. Why did you notice the thing you want to gossip about? What are you training your brain to look for? 

If you do choose to gossip, pay attention to the feeling it generates for you. How long does it last? Is it supporting your long term goals? Or is it a short term gain traded for long term losses?

Self Care for Nurses Episode 3

Episode 2: Choosing your Pet Peeves Wisely

What is your biggest pet peeve? The thing that just drives you crazy more than anything? In this episode I'm going to talk about how helpful it can be to consider our pet peeves in the context of self care. I'll also reveal two of my own biggest pet peeves and what they mean in the context of my life and my goals. 



Pay attention to your pet peeves this week, and notice how they make you feel. Yes, you don't like them, but is there an element of fun involved? Or are they just training your brain to find and point out the things you hate in life, limiting you with anger and frustration and self-righteous annoyance? Do you think you have chosen wisely?

Self Care Pet Peeves

SELF CARE - Episode 1: Reasons to always take a compliment

Welcome to the inaugural episode of my new video series on self care! 

I don't know about you, but I define self care as anything that makes you feel better. (And I mean actually feeling better, not just feeling numb or feeling less or feeling distracted.) In this video series I will share tips and tricks I have learned as a life coach that can help you in your quest to be awesome to yourself. 

Episode 1: The reason why always accepting the compliments that are given to you is so important. (And easy.)

You can watch the video, or if you'd prefer you can read an alternate version below. Either way - start accepting those compliments! 

It seems easy enough. Someone comes up to you and says something nice. You say something nice back. You part, both feeling pretty great about it.

One of the quirks of being a human though, is our fantastic ability to complicate the easy stuff.

So instead of politely accepting the compliment, thanking the giver for being so kind, we try to be so polite that instead we end up arguing with them. 

Lesson #1: Arguing with someone about why you aren’t as good as they think you are is not self care. Nor is it polite. It also isn’t modest, or funny, or respectful. You might think you are just being honest, or pleasantly self-deprecating, but from their perspective, all you are doing is telling them why you don’t respect their opinion, and why they should never bother complimenting you again.

It isn’t pretty.

Luckily, it is exceedingly simple to avoid turning a nice moment into an awkward one. 

Step One: Smile.

Step Two: Say, “Thank you so much.”

Step Three: There is no step three. You are already done. The end.

If you want to be a fancy pants and add a flourish, you can.

“What a nice thing to say. Thank you, I really appreciate hearing that.”

But keep your comments focused on saying thank you, not focused on the merits (or your perceived lack of merit) of the compliment.

They gave you a gift of their compliment, so give them back a gift of your own - let them hear how you appreciate their gesture.

If you don’t believe the compliment, your brain is going to have conniptions about this, and will desperately try to compel you to undermine and sabotage the compliment, and yourself, by trying to get the other person to understand how they were wrong. Your brain will spin it as “honesty”, trying to guilt you into “taking responsibility” for not being worthy of the compliment. It will try to trick you into saying more than than just “thank you”, and usually with a sentence that begins with “But”.

“Thank you so much, but I didn’t really didn’t do that much.”

“Thank you so much, but anyone would have done the same thing.”

“Thank you so much, but we both know you did all the hard work.”

“Thank you so much, but this shirt is ten years old, I just wore it because everything else was dirty.”

Do not fall for this trick! These “but” statements do not serve you, nor do they respect the person who gave you the compliment. 

Yes, our brains can be pretty jerky to us sometimes. But once you realize that fact, it gets easier to work around.

So if you are someone who has difficulty accepting a compliment, make is easy on yourself, and keep it simple. Smile, say thank you, and then just close your mouth, no matter what your brain says.

Now I know some of you are still squirming at the idea of accepting a compliment that the jerk part of your brain is just certain you don’t deserve, so here is a trick for you too.

Instead of thanking them for the compliment, thank them for giving you the compliment!

“What a nice compliment, I really appreciate your kindness.”

“Thank you for saying that, you are always so nice to me.”

This response avoids the argument over whether you agree with the compliment or not, and still is gracious to your complimentor. You aren’t exactly taking responsibility for the compliment, which as I life coach I would really encourage you to do because it is excellent self care. But if you need a baby step to start with, it can ease your discomfort with the compliment, and you are still showing a kindness to the person who took the time to compliment you. Don’t underestimate the importance of that. 

As author Maya Angelou once said:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Give people the opportunity to feel great - and appreciated - when they are with you.

My nefarious ulterior motive with this is simple. Once you start accepting compliments, not only will people enjoy giving them to you, but also, your jerky brain just might come around and start believing them. Win-win, folks, win-win.


Accept every single compliment you are given this week. Pay attention to your jerk brain and how it wants you to argue - but don't give in! Notice how it seems to make the other person feel when you thank them graciously. And then see how you feel afterwards, knowing how considerate you were of the other person. 

You got this. 

Self Care Episode 1