The work nurses provide to the world is invaluable. Those who practice healthcare with compassion, kindness and dedication to helping and healing people show a true passion for their field. But the effects of working in such a high-stress job can have detrimental effects to even the most resilient nurses. Long and irregular hours, combined with a high workload full of high responsibility can take a toll on mental health. The emotional and physical demands of the job can lead to burnout. It is essential for every nurse to have a healthy work-life balance to combat these job stressors.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance can be a confusing topic. What is it exactly? Work-life balance is more than just taking advantage of your time off. It’s also more than turning your phone off at night so your boss can’t reach you at 1 am. As a nurse, you have to be reachable and flexible in your hours. Lives depend on it. Taking time off can also be a challenge for nurses as well. Nursing shortages make getting time off approved difficult.
Work-life balance is the harmony between a person’s work life, and personal life. It is the managing of a person’s work time and responsibilities in a way that coexists with their personal hobbies, relationships, and relaxation. The goal of work-life balance is to achieve a state where individuals can pursue their professional aspirations and career growth without sacrificing their overall well-being. Achieving work-life balance is essential for reducing stress, preventing burnout, and maintaining a fulfilling and sustainable lifestyle.
6 tips to keep a healthy work-life balance as a nurse:
- Set Boundaries
Being flexible in your work schedule is a must as a nurse, but it is also important to set clear boundaries of what your daily work schedule is. If your schedule states that you are working four 10 hour shifts that week, take steps to ensure that you stick to that schedule.
- Master Time Management
Use time management skills to prioritize tasks throughout your work day. Create a to-do list when you can to check off what has been done. When possible, delegate what you can to alleviate some stress.
- Practice Self-Care
Self-care is more than a facemask and bubble bath, however those things should not be discounted if they make you feel relaxed! Self-care is the practice of proactive actions to promote mental, emotional and physical wellbeing in oneself. Things like meditation, exercise, and getting enough sleep can be considered self-care. It is a practice that is highly individualized. What works for one person may not work for another, but listening to one’s body and mind, and taking intentional steps to address those needs is vital to preventing burnout in nursing.
- Find a Support Network
Having a support network of friends, family and other nurses to lean on is key to maintaining a work-life balance.
ANA-Illinois understands the importance of work-life balance for nurses, and is dedicated to advocating for and promoting the needs of nurses. By joining ANA-Illinois, nurses find a vast support network of nurses in all walks of healthcare, ready to help in any way they can.
- Pursue Professional Development
Change can bring better balance to a person’s life. By pursuing further education and professional development, nurses can advance their careers and find opportunities that offer better work-life balance.
- Regularly Reevaluate
Making a list of goals and regularly evaluating them can help nurses determine how their career is tracking their goals. Doing this evaluation gives nurses a chance to make adjustments to their life, so their work and life remain in balance and move forward together.
Prioritizing Well-Being: Join ANA-Illinois for a Brighter, Balanced Future in Nursing
Nursing is a stressful job. Working long and irregular hours, having high workloads, and high responsibilities, as well as dealing with staffing shortages in hospitals creates a toll on mental health. But nursing is not just stress. Healthcare professionals provide kindness, dedication and compassionate care to those who need it. It may be a stressful job, but it’s a needed one.
Work-life balance isn’t just taking time off for a vacation when the job gets too stressful. It’s about finding the harmony between everyday work responsibilities and personal life. Time Management, Self-Care, and a Support Network are all things that are vital to creating a healthy work-life balance.
ANA-Illinois is an organization dedicated to advocating for nurses and promoting their needs. Offering a large support network of healthcare professionals who understand the unique challenges you face, ANA-Illinois can provide the support you need to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Take that important step towards achieving a better work-life balance. Join ANA-Illinois today, and let’s create a brighter and more balanced future for nursing professionals in Illinois.