Nurses live in three distinct worlds. In the first, they are the primary care providers who put patients’ needs above their own; in the second, they’re trying to learn as much as they can to polish existing skills for delivering the best quality of care to patients. In the third, they are mothers, sisters, and friends, living lives as normal people.
However, when these worlds collide, nurses find it hard to meet the growing demands of their career, family, and health. And this leads to emotional turmoil, fatigue, burnout, physical and mental health issues.
With careers, personal targets, and loved ones competing for attention, this raises an important question; how can nurses attain a balance between a happy, fulfilled home life and ambitious work life?
Striking a perfect balance isn’t as easy as walking out of the door when the shift ends. Because nursing is a demanding career, self-care often goes down the drain, and burnout sneaks in.
So, if you’re struggling to find a balance between your personal and professional life, you’ve come to the right place. This piece offers handy tips to help reduce burnout, stay healthy and move up the ladder of success in your career.
1. Avail Online Opportunities
Recent developments in technology and the COVID-19 pandemic revamped the healthcare landscape. Given this, working nurses must stay updated with the latest trends and best practices to improve their performance and deliver the best quality care.
Unfortunately, multiple shifts, demanding physical prowess, and lack of time make it hard for working nurses to acquire advanced education.
As a nurse, you can enroll in an RN-BSN online program, learn at your convenience, and apply those skills in various work settings without hassles. This degree allows you to move up the career ladder and prepare you for advanced nursing job roles.
2. Set Boundaries
It might be challenging for you to say ‘no’ to tasks, such as covering shifts for others and overseeing staff members, if you’re a people pleaser, but you have to work around this and take care of yourself as well.
If you do more than you can, you’re opening the gates for others to take advantage of you, costing you your job and health as well.
Assess your priorities and try to lessen your to-do list. Cut off tasks you can’t effectively manage and take a day off or two to recuperate if you’re struggling with work and personal life.
3. Ask for Help
If you want to improve your work-life balance, conduct a self-assessment and be honest with your answers. For instance, what are your professional goals? What’s restraining you from achieving them? Are you overburdening yourself?
Figuring out the answers to these questions can help you identify stress triggers and seek help from others. You can start by getting in touch with your nurse manager and communicating your concerns to the management.
Your manager can then propose appropriate solutions for work-related problems and find ways to alleviate your stress.
Likewise, you can ask your spouse to lend a helping hand for child care or pitch in with house chores if the work responsibilities are overwhelming. Or, you may ask your friend to render assistance with grocery shopping.
The very first thing that’s affected by improper work-life balance is your social life. Unlike other professions, nurses are working beyond the conventional 9-5 grind.
This routine makes it difficult to carve out time for meeting up with your loved ones and friends.
To get around this, squeeze in time to socialize with people regardless of how irregular your shifts are. Catch short breaks in between, sit on the bench outside the healthcare facility, and mingle with other professionals to take your mind off things and build connections.
Similarly, you can plan a hiking trip with your friend on the weekends or schedule a quick meeting at a nearby café to catch up. These activities freshen your mood and reduce the feelings of a monotonous life.
5. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Make self-care a priority and opt for smart choices to achieve a healthy mind and body. After all, when you’re healthy, you’ll be able to work effectively and deliver the best healthcare services to your patients.
With long shifts and hectic work schedules, the presence of vending machines and cafeterias may seem tempting, but they aren’t good for you. Make conscious efforts to refrain from junk food and eat a healthy and nutritional diet.
Similarly, try to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep every night to work at your full potential. Embracing a healthy lifestyle can uplift your mood, boost energy, and strengthen your muscles.
Nursing is undeniably demanding, nerve-wracking, and overwhelming at times. But, it’s these challenges that encourage you to keep moving onwards and upwards. When you learn to prioritize yourself, you’ll be happier in your job and personal life.
Sure, there will be times when you feel like giving up. But, in these stressful times, remind yourself of the reasons why you choose to pursue this rewarding field in the first place. You signed up for a lot of hard work; therefore, your efforts will pay off at the end of the day.
Remember, as a nurse, you inspire others in ways you don’t realize. And with perseverance and passion, you can go a long way as you tackle this challenging career.