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Remember those who are grieving. Many nurses work around children, infants and pregnant women during the holidays. While that can involve "beautiful, amazing and wonderful moments," it can also be a trigger for parents who have recently experienced a miscarriage, according to Anna Cherry, a certified nurse-midwife at Atlanta's Emory School of Medicine. "So many women who work in maternity struggle with losing their own pregnancy," she said. "It's important to know that losing that pregnancy is just like losing a child to them, and they've usually already created a whole persona. That first Christmas can really hit hard if they're thinking about that child who isn't here and should be." You can help, added Cherry, "by letting them know that you see them, that they're not invisible and they are loved. Even a simple statement, card or hug is appreciated."
While nurses with substance use disorder can take steps on their own to stay sober during the holiday, co-workers can make subtle efforts to help. According to Smart Recovery, "when you're trying to stay sober, having support from others improves your chances of success. Consider asking family and friends for their support. A simple 'I'm taking a break from drinking during the holidays and would appreciate your support' will do."
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Keep reaching out into the New Year. It's a myth that Christmas brings an increased incidence of suicide. But your co-workers may be just a bit more susceptible on New Year's Day when two separate studies have found an uptick of suicides. "Many of us are familiar with the feeling after holidays: 'Was that it? I expected more fun, more relaxation, and tomorrow I have to go back to everyday life!'" clinical psychologist Martin Plöderl, a co-author of the Austrian study at Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg told Scientific American. "For depressed people, the broken promise of Christmas and the blank year lying ahead may increase hopelessness and thus suicide risk. And some people may postpone their planned suicide so that their families and friends can enjoy Christmas."