What a year it's been. Healthcare, even during "normal" times, can be demanding and draining. Add the pandemic, and now exhaustion and frustration have become a part of daily life for many healthcare workers. While those feelings are understandable, most people want to avoid constant, negative emotions. To help combat burnout and enjoy greater work-life satisfaction, try gratitude.

While it's a simple act, studies show that being grateful makes a measurable difference in a person's health and well-being. One study focused on healthcare workers who logged three "good" things over 15 days. They experienced a better work-life balance for up to six months. They also showed marked improvements in happiness and less depression and burnout for up to a year.

Tips for embracing an attitude of gratitude

Practicing gratitude doesn't have to be a monumental task. Here are four ways you can cultivate a grateful mindset at work.

  1. Make a note of it. Writing down the things you're grateful for takes just a few minutes. Keep a gratitude journal specific to your job, and you'll have a place to articulate the staff, patients and experiences you're thankful for. Start with documenting three things and challenge yourself to pick and name what you're grateful for — large and small.
  2. Don't sweat the small stuff. During these chaotic times, a few administrative balls may get dropped. If you can, show grace along with gratitude when it happens. Assure your physicians and staff that you know they're working hard and can be trusted to do their best.
  3. Show your appreciation -- literally. Put up a bulletin board or whiteboard and encourage staff to write notes to one another that recognize special acts of kindness. Create "shout-out cards" that can be printed or emailed so team members can send a more personal thank you to those who go above and beyond. Be sure to include physicians! Then watch a positive spirit of mutual gratitude grow.
  4. Create a grateful practice. Kick off meetings or huddles by first saying thank you to employees for their caring and helpful attitudes toward patients and each other. When you take the lead on being more intentional about sharing gratitude genuinely and regularly, you're more likely to build a highly engaged team.

At CMG Health Marketing, we're grateful for you. Thank you for the countless ways you've passionately served your patients and communities this year. It's been an honor to partner with you.