Working in the health sector is no easy feat, especially after recent events. Your work likely increased tenfold during the pandemic if you’re a nurse. However, regardless of the situation, nurses are one of the most sought-after professionals in healthcare. That, of course, comes with a price. You might start neglecting your personal life, or your work might take over your life outside of it. As a nurse, you have to maintain a precarious balance to lead a fulfilling life with meaningful work and personal relationships.
While the life of a nurse is rewarding, the challenges can lead to burnout. Nurses deal with stressful situations daily, have to be on calls, available for night shifts, work long hours, and present in emergencies. Perhaps you’re struggling to find that work-life balance, so you feel content in your daily tasks and lead a well-rounded life. Here are some tips to help you achieve that balance to lead a rewarding life.
Define balance for yourself
You can go through various sources online that can tell you what balance looks like, but your priorities, work hours, and personal interests are likely different than what you might find or what your colleagues follow. The right approach to finding balance is defining it for yourself.
Defining balance can also include keeping your academic goals in mind. Are you going to pursue further studies? Will you need a plan for that too? How will that fit into your already-busy schedule? Perhaps you can consider an online masters degree in nursing instead of the traditional learning environment. You can consider this one of the long-term goals you need to consider when balancing your personal and work life.
Start with highlighting areas in your life that you feel are getting neglected daily. For example, are you skipping breakfast because you came home late and couldn’t wake up on time the next morning? Do you want to have that time to yourself and treat your body right instead of grabbing something on the go? Define that as something you’d like to prioritize.
When you realize where you want to invest your time and effort, it helps clear your head and reach balance overwork and personal life much easier.
Manage your time
Most nurses find it extremely hard to practice effective time management simply because of the nature of their jobs. After you determine the areas of your life that are affected by work and those you want to prioritize, you can start managing time according to those tasks.
Maybe you aren’t getting enough time with your loved ones, have a small gathering where everyone is present and define expectations they have from your and vice versa. See how you can manage your time to do small acts of love for them. How can you delegate time in a way that you maintain meaningful relationships with those you love?
Are you allowing yourself time to exercise, eat a healthy meal, work on any hobby? Remember maintaining a relationship with your body is important.
Sometimes work can be time-intensive. Working with patients can mean you end up spending too much time with one because of an expectation from their family. However, you must understand that you must divide time between several patients. They all need you, and if you don’t, you might eventually cut down on personal time to accommodate everyone. So, setting a limit can be extremely helpful in such cases.
Manage your me-time
Nurses tend to work long hours. Being busy throughout can be detrimental to your mental and physical health. A key tip to less stressful work life is taking in-between restorative breaks. Of course, you have to tend to sick people, but that should not mean you do not prioritize yourself.
Create a schedule for work that you can move around with mandatory downtime in between. For example, if you’re taking care of a patient and there is one waiting for you in the hallway already after you’ve tended to the first one, take a water break and breathe. When you get a longer break, try meditation. There are several meditation apps you can choose from.
If it has been a particularly taxing day, maybe you can take a break, watch some light-hearted videos, or talk to a loved one. Remember, you’re just as important as your patient.
Even though it might be challenging to get time off because of a nursing shortage at your workplace, you get your scheduled days off. Plan a small getaway and take those leaves if you’re nearing a burnout state. Take this time to do stimulating activities, like swimming, meditating, traveling, sports, etc. Rejuvenate the mind and body, so you come back to work feeling lighter and more motivated.
Improve your conflict management
As a nurse, you’re probably dealing with conflict regularly. Sometimes, you might strain your relationships at home because of work hours. Feeling overworked can make a person irritable and drained. Knowing that something like this is likely to happen regardless of regulating your emotions, you should be ready to deal with conflict without brushing it under the rug. Being accepting of disturbances due to the nature of your job is going to help you deal with it better too.
Strains in relationships can bother you throughout your day if not resolved timely. It ends up taking a lot of time in your day, where you feel unhappy and unfocused. Something as little as acknowledging the problem and talking about it to yourself can also make you feel good. However, regardless of how difficult it may be, remember the end goal is for you to feel unburdened and stress-free. Plus, clearing the air can also reduce misunderstandings between people.
Willing to listen to your loved one or a colleague can be another way to resolve conflict in a healthy manner. The key is to do your best, so you feel at ease and are able to maintain a work-life balance more effectively.
Nurses have one of the most demanding jobs within the healthcare sector. If you don’t spend time doing something enjoyable every once in a while, you can come dangerously close to feeling burnt out. Adopting a strategy that puts you first is helpful to reduce stress and focus on your personal life. Taking time to de-stress, prioritizing things that you love, and managing your time effectively are ways you can strive towards a well-rounded life.