Nursing is a profession that comes with many intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Registered nurses and seasoned professionals enjoy job security, financial stability, and career advancement opportunities. But make no mistake, this high-powered career can get extremely stressful and overwhelming.
Nurses are continually running around, catering to grave medical emergencies and combatting life and death situations. They work diligently to prevent fatalities, increase rescue rates, and work long and exhausting hours to deliver quality patient care. They work in many professional settings and niches within the healthcare spectrum.
Each career path is demanding, compelling nurses to perform under extreme pressure. It is natural for nurses to experience burnout, which is why a healthy work-life balance is instrumental. Keep reading to explore how you can achieve this healthy balance as a nursing professional.
Identifying & Managing Stress
What is work-life balance, and what does it mean to you as a nurse? This balance is simply a harmonious and rewarding lifestyle that allows you to simultaneously enjoy your personal and professional lives. To achieve this balance, you must identify stressors and anxiety in your workplace.
As a nurse, you must often feel pulled in various directions, forced to multitask and perform beyond your capacity. All healthcare professionals and patients turn to nurses for advice and assistance. It’s normal for a nurse to experience the brunt of this pressure. So, the first step is to identify stressors and find effective ways to deal with them.
There many stressors in a healthcare setting. For instance, understaffing, rigid work routine, incompetent administration, uncooperative coworkers, and sometimes hard-to-deal-with patients. Many aspirants often wonder why become a nurse practitioner when the pressure is so intense. The simple answer is personal satisfaction. Nursing is not just a career path; it is a calling that requires inherent talent and the desire to serve selflessly.
Nurses are often struggling to eat all their nutrients, finding time to catch-up with friends and family, and, most importantly, getting a good night’s sleep. Their routines and body clocks are chaotic, given their busy schedules and exhaustingly extended shifts. The minim amount of rest the adult human body requires is between six to eight hours. Have you ever asked a fellow nurse how many hours of rest they managed to get?
As a nurse, you need to take the initiative and prioritize your mental and physical well-being. Be mindful of your daily nutrient intake, and avoid unhealthy patterns that compromise your health and vitality. Maintain a healthy diet, and get at least six hours of rest to rejuvenate.
Exercise: Stress Busting
Nurses are always on the move, running around and catering to patients. But this exertion is not equivalent to exercise, running, yoga or swimming. Intense physical activity is essential to pump up your heart rate, activate muscles, and elevate your energy levels to prepare for a busy day in the hospital.
Cardio will also help you burn off excess cortisol and bust off stress and release a surge of happy hormones to regulate your mood. Surprisingly, exercise will also help you combat frustration and learn to use your emotions constructively. It is always an excellent idea to take out some time from your day and utilize it solely for your well-being. And what better way than an activity that keeps you physically fit?
Evaluate your Priorities
Getting your priorities straight is essential to maintain focus on your long-term and short-term goals and achieve an ideal work-life balance. Take out time to evaluate and reassess your priorities. Close your eyes, and envision yourself ten years later. What do you see yourself doing?
Do you want to start a family and have children? Do you want to explore the world and go on endless adventures? Do you want to pursue a doctorate and devote your career to research? Or do you want to commit the entirety of your mind, body, and soul to help others?
Answering questions like these will help you create the career and life you truly want. Then, you can discard all the paths and opportunities that don’t support your dreams and vision.
Get Help When you Need It
It gets hard to ask for help as a professional caregiver, but it’s essential to get support when you need it. Are you overwhelmed by your responsibilities at work? Ask your coworkers to help out, or consult the senior management for flexible hours.
Are you struggling to manage your professional and domestic responsibilities? Hire help, or discuss other options with your partner to share responsibilities.
It is essential to actively discuss the problems you’re encountering at work and home. You must muster the confidence to speak openly and decisively with your manager, partner, spouse, and children to achieve balance.
Create a Flexible Schedule
Is your shift schedule taking over your personal life? Do you frequently find yourself missing special occasions, family gatherings, and birthdays? Does your spouse or child complain of your absence and neglecting behavior? If yes, then you need to consider a more practical and flexible schedule that compliments your life.
If you have a partner and children, you also have obligations to your family. It’s wise to consult your manager about shift schedules that support your domestic life harmoniously.
Missing precious moments with your family and loved ones will not help you create a rewarding career. It’s crucial to learn to say no and turn down commitments that usurp your family time.
Overworked and exhausted nurses commonly experience burnout, fatigue, and stress. Jeopardizing your health and well-being will only endanger the health and care of the patient. As a nurse, it is crucial to be mindful of your mental and physical health.
Take out time for yourself and do the things you enjoy. Nursing is a selfless career marked by compassion, but you must also extend that compassion towards yourself. Only then will you be able to achieve the perfect work-life balance.