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The Ultimate Work-Life Balance Checklist For Busy Nurses

The Ultimate Work-Life Balance Checklist For Busy NursesIf you’re a busy nurse you will appreciate this ultimate work-life balance checklist! Read on to learn tricks for time management.

Nurses are the central part of any healthcare operation. They are in high demand, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating that more jobs for them will be created in this decade than any other sector.

Despite this trend, many nurses leave the profession because of unmanaged stress and poor work-life balance. But you don’t have to be part of this exodus if you enjoy your nursing career. By keeping a few simple things in mind, you can ensure that you feel cared for with the same warmth that you extend to others.

As you might know, I am a bestselling wellness author with about 2 million books sold globally.

Plus I founded a groundbreaking video course called The Anxiety Cure.

I love sharing insights and strategies to help people to be happier and calmer – especially during challenging times.

So I put together this article with the ultimate work-life balance checklist for busy nurses!

The Ultimate Work-Life Balance Checklist For Busy Nurses

Here are some tips to help you establish a good work-life balance:

1. Decide what you want

When done correctly, nursing is a spiritual pursuit. Think about it – where else do you get a chance to help people recover from health-related issues so closely? While doctors may diagnose conditions and prescribe treatments, nurses are the ones who check up on patients each day, support them through difficult times and coach them back to health. For a lot of us, it goes well beyond a simple vocation.

Nursing is undoubtedly not for the faint-hearted, and those who feel called to it are more likely to make it through. However, even though you may feel a strong pull to this field, you still need to contextualize it in the greater arch of your life. Having a clear bigger picture of what you want your life to look like is crucial. This clarity will come in handy while deciding which specific path you choose, as not all nursing jobs are created equal.

For instance, if you don’t feel you are making your best contributions on the hospital floor, you may look to a managerial position. Working in this capacity may allow you to adopt a more holistic perspective, applying your people and planning skills to ensure quality care for patients. Generally, an online RN to BSN program will be the first step on this path. Online degrees can be completed at a fraction of the cost of a regular one while allowing you to keep your job and learn at your own pace.

Or perhaps you are interested in working with communities that lack resources, such as migrant workers, inner-city neighborhoods, or refugees and asylum seekers. You may even wish for a lifestyle where you travel extensively and work in remote areas or in rural settings. Whatever you decide, be sure your heart is behind it.

2. Prioritize self-care

busy nurses self careThe COVID-19 pandemic has made an already challenging field even more difficult. According to a survey conducted by Nursing Times, nearly 1 in 2 nurses felt their mental well-being was ‘very poor’ in 2021. This burnout is understandable, given that nurses have been on the front line with little to no support even before COVID-19 showed up.

In the quest to heal others, ensure you don’t write off your own well-being. Ignoring your mental, physical, and spiritual health can drain your vitality and diminish your sense of purpose that your patients so desperately rely on. Ultimately, it is unfair that someone who gives so much of themselves to the world has so little left to feel at peace about.

Start with setting aside time for self-care and communicating them assertively to colleagues and loved ones. Pencil in time for meditation, journaling, a bike ride or jog through the woods, or simply loitering about a park to clear your mind and regain perspective.

Exercising, in particular, can be very helpful. The Mayo Clinic points out self-care can keep you from resorting to unhealthy habits like smoking. Self-care can create positive changes in your brain chemistry and shift your internal monologue to a more positive and supportive one. Regular exercise will also keep you disease-free and regulate your sleep cycle so you can recuperate and be your best self every day. 

Community is also vital. Pick up a new hobby, get together with friends, or join a group fitness class to shake away stress. If things get overwhelming, seek out therapy or join a support group. You don’t have to suffer in silence. Just make sure you advocate for your well-being before doing so for anyone else’s.

3. Accept your limitations

procrastination being tired so you can'tNo matter what you do with your life or how much success you get, there will always be things you wish you could do better. While this desire can push you to excel and lean in. Just be sure it is not living rent-free in your psyche all the time.

You’re a human being before anything else, and it is your humanity that makes all the light you spread in the world possible. Don’t let your empathy run amuck to the point you feel like you have to drag yourself through life. Take the first step and break the pattern of self-abnegation by admitting you feel stressed out.

While you cannot change circumstances beyond your control, you can keep tabs on your convictions and the attitudes that drive them. Admit your shortcomings when they occur, allowing yourself grace and kindness. Be sure you communicate with supervisors and administration staff to address any systemic causes of concern. Above all, get together with other nurses, witness them, and allow yourself to be seen and heard as well.

4. Learn to say NO

busy nurses say noThe very nature of the nursing profession makes it hard to set clear boundaries that protect the interests of the patients and value those of nursing and administrative staff. Ensure you can delineate your workplace and home needs and guard them closely.

Have an honest and open conversation with your friends and loved ones to set expectations. Maybe you feel overwhelmed having to return to a messy house and need your partner to pitch in with chores. Or perhaps you need your friends to understand your hectic schedule and not get on your case all the time. Whatever it is, say it out loud and let them know you mean it out of love. Only then will you be able to find a workaround that works for all of you.

When boundary-setting with patients, you need to be even more vigilant. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, all patient-nurse interactions occur on a ‘continuum of professional behavior’ that exists to manage the vulnerable space shared by the two. Not giving enough time may lead to abandonment and neglect, but spending too much time can open avenues to oversharing, confusing roles, and more. So ensure you communicate with all your patients and their families equally and walk away when you have to.

Conclusion on Work-Life Balance

Nurses are the backbone of the healthcare industry, but can often do so at the expense of their personal well-being. So, look inwards and cope healthily with the daily stresses of your life as you seek to heal others. Accept your limits, advocate for your needs and establish firm boundaries to keep anxiety and rampant stress derail your joy and happiness. Only when you shine at your brightest will you be able to extend that light to others.

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