Nursing can be an incredibly fulfilling career, but it can also get overwhelming. If your nursing job is stressing you out, you’re not alone. Many nurses deal with burnout and overwhelm, especially if they’re clocking long shifts at an understaffed facility – or working in a department (like the ICU or emergency room) with patients that need a lot of support. If this sounds like you, it may be time to take a closer look at your work-life balance. Nurses with a good work-life balance are able to successfully juggle their work and personal life.
Here are 5 ways for nurses to achieve a better work-life balance:
1. Practice healthy habits.
Taking care of your mind and body is key for minimizing work stress. When you’re sleeping well, eating smart, and exercising regularly, you’ll be more focused at work. Plus, you’ll be more likely to make the most of your days off, rather than spending all your time on the couch or glued to the TV.
2. Take advantage of your time off.
On your non-work days, give yourself permission to completely unplug from work. After all, time off is useless if you spend it stressing about work. Do your best to turn off your nursing brain and just relax – whatever that looks like for you. That way, you can return to work feeling refreshed and energized.
3. Build a support system.
Whether it’s a coworker, a friend, or a therapist, it’s important to have someone you feel comfortable confiding in when you’re feeling stressed. Having a strong support system will help get you through hard days and give you a safe space to vent when you’re struggling.
4. Learn how to say no.
As a nurse, you can’t deliver the quality care your patients need if you’re drowning in work. You shouldn’t feel obligated to take on more responsibility, hours, or patients than you’re able to. If you’re feeling pressured by your manager to max out your workload, arrange a sit-down with them so you can voice your concerns.
5. Remember the big picture.
Life is about more than just work – but it can be easy to forget that when your job starts to dominate your time. Take stock of the bigger things you want in life – your hopes, dreams, and passions – and how you want your career to fit with this larger picture. It could be time to scale back your workplace responsibilities or switch to a new company.
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