Nursing is a very noble profession, but also very taxing. As the medical world advances forward, nurses are required to constantly update themselves with these changes. The current shortage of healthcare personnel, increased professionalism, new technology and an aging population is not making it easier for nurses today. In order to remain efficient and not burn out, nurses need to find a healthy balance between their work and personal life.
Although it may sound easy, balancing between your work and personal life requires effort and tenacity. You need to work on your priorities, your goals, your insecurities and your needs. As life moves forward, maintaining the balance becomes a continuous process. An imbalance between the two can lead to a whole lot of negatives – stress, unhappiness, frustration, anger and a decrease in productivity and professionalism.
How to balance work and personal life will differ from person to person. However, there are a few things that are common for most. Working on these will help you achieve a better balance and allow you to enjoy both your work and your personal life to its fullest.
Understand your own balance
Balancing work and personal life is an individual thing – you need to work out your comfort zones for each, keeping in mind your priorities and goals. Understand your limitations and work out things that you need to do and things that you need not do. You understand your strengths and weakness best, listen to others but do what you believe is doable. Mark time for work, family and most important – for yourself.
Cut down on the adrenaline rush
It keeps you going without feeling the strain, but it also keeps you in a constant state of readiness. Adrenalin bursts are good but prolonged bouts of adrenalin will make you stressed and tired. Running too long on an adrenalin rush will eventually leave you sapped of energy – both physical and mental. Very soon you will find that you are pushing yourself constantly, unable to relax and facing sleep problems. Give yourself time to relax after a bout of hectic activity, either at work or at home. Step back, allow your muscles to cool, let your thoughts calm down – before you start another activity.
Learn to delegate
Taking on more than you can handle will eventually lead to low performance – both at work and at home. Learn to delegate work, if you find yourself unable to do justice to what you wish to do. There is no harm or shame in saying “No” or in delegating work to someone else. It does not detract from your efficiency or responsibilities; on the contrary, you might find that you are doings things more efficiently and productively.
Make time for your hobbies
If you don’t have a hobby, develop one immediately. Your work and home responsibilities can create stress – a hobby is a great way to bring the stress levels down. It does not matter what the hobby is – listening to music, collecting stamps, photography, decorating the house, writing poems – anything that takes your mind and attention away from everything else. Make it a habit to devote some time of the day to your hobby, and during that period cut yourself off from everything else.
Define your boundaries
More often than not, people take on more than they can handle. It could be an extra shift at work, or organizing a party at home. Similarly, a lot of people do not know how and when to switch off – from home while at work and vice versa. It is up to you to define these boundaries and enforce them. Sure there will always be that emergency situation, but in general you need to concentrate on the work at hand and switch off everything else. You don’t really need to answer every call while taking your meal, do you? Or keep calling your babysitter every hour to check on what the baby is doing at that moment. You don’t need to get pushed into going out after work with the others, if you don’t want to. Establish and enforce your own boundaries and very soon others will start respecting them.
Working as a locum nurse with The Flame Lily allows you the flexibility of choosing your own hours, and working at your own pace.