Nursing remains one of the most challenging jobs in the healthcare industry.
The need for nurses is expected to rise by 9% through 2030.
And while the stats predict nursing to stay a secure profession in the future, it does not eradicate the fact that it is physically and emotionally draining to be a part of this profession.
Nurses are filled with compassion and seek contentment in helping others. Unfortunately, all of this comes at the cost of their physical and emotional well being.
Long working hours and high risk emergencies are typical in this profession.
Hence, there is a high chance of struggling with striking the right work life balance.
In addition, it might affect their relationships, leading to complaints from family and friends.
So, it is high time that nurses try to achieve a work life balance for their professional and personal development.
We understand that it might be tricky to do this. So we have prepared a list of ways to help you get by.
6 Tips How to Maintain a Healthy Work Life Balance:
1. Make time for yourself.
Work and family are not the only ones who need your time.
There should be times in the week designated only for yourself.
Watch a movie or read a book in the name of self care.
A day alone at the spa will also not hurt you. It is going to give you the strength to face the following days.
You do not have to do anything extravagant for your “me time.”
Do whatever brings you happiness, be it a hobby you have been unable to pursue.
Technological advancements make it easier than ever to have more time for yourself.
Even the nurses who wish to advance their career can enroll in online BSN to DNP programs instead of managing on campus classes, work, and home.
It will help you save time usually wasted in commuting to college.
So, while you make adjustments in your life and try to balance everything, opt for things that make it easier for you to achieve the work life balance.
2. Acceptance is key.
It is human nature to avoid admitting things we find unfavorable.
These can also be the fact that your personal and social life is being affected by your job.
Change begins by identifying and accepting the need for action.
Acknowledge that there are stimuli in your environment that trigger stress.
It is impossible to block all of these.
However, some are in your control.
Acceptance will help you target those and work towards betterment.
3. Understand what people expect from you.
Sometimes we get burnt out by working more than we are supposed to.
This is because we assume that making an extra effort will reap better results.
However, the immediate gain is not worth the long-term harm that this does.
Sit with your loved ones and communicate the expectations they have from you and vice versa.
Doing this will give you a clearer idea of your responsibilities towards them.
Do the same with your employer.
Ensure that you are aware of the obligations your job entails.
Let your higher authority know that going beyond the set expectation would not serve you well.
Communication is key to the success of this tip.
4. Fill your plate proportionally.
It is usually in your hands to commit or not to a work or personal obligation.
Ensure that you only take up tasks and responsibilities that you can handle.
Guggling with too much work simultaneously can ruin your work life balance.
Add things to your schedule proportionately.
Feel free to say no to any invitations or requests if you can not manage them simultaneously.
Doing this does not mean you are not serious about your work or relationships.
It only indicates that you care about them enough to ensure quality in whichever responsibilities you have.
5. Prioritize your health.
You will only be able to fulfill all obligations when you feel well. Unfortunately, it is easy for us to forget to take care of ourselves on the go.
Hence, plan how you wish to manage your physical and mental health.
Nurses usually get small breaks in between shifts. Unfortunately, they also reach home too tired to cook a meal themselves.
This results in either ordering takeout or nibbling on leftovers they do not want.
The best way to solve this issue is meal prepping.
Meal prepping is a relatively new concept where people cook their meals for the entire week altogether.
They choose a single day to go grocery shopping and cook all the meals.
These get stored in airtight containers and go into the fridge.
They have to heat them and eat them according to the planned menu.
Doing this allows nurses to quickly pack a healthy lunch in their work bags and eat during shifts.
Moreover, the next time they come home tired, they will not have to cook a whole meal. It will already be prepared.
Exercising is another way to keep your physical and mental well being in check.
Nurses must make time to do stamina-building workouts.
Joining a 2 hour gym class is not necessary for this.
A quick 15 minute workout in the morning is enough.
Moreover, yoga can be great for regulating your emotions.
Put on a short meaningful podcast and do yoga to ground yourself.
It will freshen your mood and ease your stress.
And finally do not forget to have 8 hours of quality sleep per night. This is super important for your overall health.
6. Do not mix both worlds.
Many professionals, including nurses, make the mistake of mixing work with personal life and vice versa.
One should ensure they create boundaries at work and home.
Others should know when they will be available.
Ensure that you communicate to your colleagues of times you are free to talk about work.
Do not attend unimportant work calls during family meals.
Remember that even eating dinner together can be impactful.
You can talk about work at the table. However, do not let it be the only topic of conversation.
What you should remember?
It is safe to say that striking the right work life balance is one of the trickiest aspects of adulthood.
Nurses have it much worse than other occupations because of the uncertainty of emergencies in this field.
However, begin by taking baby steps towards setting boundaries and prioritizing yourself.
Remember that, as a nurse, you can only offer help if you are in the right mindset.