Our desire to excel in our professional career can drive us to neglect ourselves and our well-being. Often, work takes priority over everything else in our life – especially as a nurse.
Work life balance is about feeling content in who you are and the decisions you make. Balance is not something you find, but something only you can you create.
Stress is a normal part of everyday life, but even more so for nurses who operate under intense working conditions and who are constantly dealing with sickness and death.
Nurses can easily become overwhelmed at work, and even at home. Demands on nurses are always increasing. Demanding physicians, demanding patients, demanding families, demanding work hours, it just seems never-ending, and burnout is a real concern. It can result in physical illness, emotional distress, and a loss of passion for nursing. Although nurses may have had years of experience to learn about work-life balance in their careers, they still need to make time during their day to find ways to relax.
Nurses need time away from work so they can regain their strength and focus. Whether it be reading, exercising, arts or crafts, nurses need activities to engage in to release tension and protect their well-being. Vacations are a good way to remove nurses from the healthcare environment and free their minds of workplace worries. When nurses practise self-care, it enables them to stay motivated, achieve job satisfaction and improves patient care.
In an article by Eastern Illinois University, it is outlined that nurses who maintain a work-life balance are physically, mentally and emotionally healthier, and therefore less likely to call in sick or leave the industry. The ultimate goal is retaining nurses and healthcare workers, and the solution is ensuring a healthy, work-life balance.
Yes, finding a work-life balance is easier said than done. It may be a struggle to find due to chaotic shifts, long hours/overtime and ongoing exposure to trauma and death, but even in high-stress scenarios, developing a healthy way of life is possible.
Be intentional with your time, plan, get enough sleep, be clear about your expectations and be patient with yourself. It takes time to get into the groove of work-life balance. You want to ensure you have your best foot forward when walking into a shift and that your mental clarity is there, so you don’t make mistakes which can cost you your license.
Achieving the ideal work life balance is something that we all strive to accomplish, even more so in a profession where you are so used to putting the needs of others before your own.