Every nurse has the issue of balancing work and life. Advanced nurses might even have extra education to balance, not to mention the increased responsibility. Managing a social life, personal life, and an advanced nursing career is a challenge. It is doable, though. You shouldn’t succumb to a life that completely revolves around work! Otherwise, you might end up burning out.
If you’re an advanced nurse wanting to achieve a better balance, use these 19 tips.
1: Study Online
Many advanced and soon-to-be advanced nurses study while working. Often, it is the only way they can progress in their career. The problem is, with education and work to juggle, finding time for other activities becomes near impossible.
That’s why so many advanced nursing courses are online. Thanks to the tech of the twenty-first century, you can complete a master’s or doctorate without stepping into a classroom. Doing so gives you far more freedom with your time.
If you want to go into acute care, you can find acute care gerontology nurse practitioner programs that take place entirely online. You will learn everything you need to know about acute and chronic conditions without having to travel to a university.
2: Keep to Do Lists
For a good work-life balance, you need to switch off from work once your shift finishes. That’s a challenge when you’re still thinking about all the tasks you must complete the next day.
Take those tasks out of your head by writing to-do lists. That way, you’ll know you won’t forget about what you need to do without worrying about them once work is over.
3: Make the Most of Your Breaks
Many nurses get into the habit of skipping breaks or doing bits of work during them. Avoid this at all costs. It might not seem like it, but work breaks are crucial for your well-being. They help you detach from work for a little while, which is important when you’re on a long shift! Make the most out of your breaks by reading a book, taking a walk, or calling a friend. You’ll feel more refreshed when back on shift.
4: Set Boundaries
Boundaries are a critical part of any work-life balance. You can’t let people walk all over you by asking you to do more than you should. After spending an entire day completing your tasks, it’s OK to tell your co-worker that you can’t stay for an extra hour! Set boundaries early on, and you’ll find it easier to say no.
5: Keep Up a Social Life
Keeping up a social while working an advanced nursing career is far easier said than done. Try to do it, though. Otherwise, your life outside of the home will only revolve around work. A couple of after-work drinks and a coffee with your friends at the weekend will do you a world of good during a busy work week. Even if you can only squeeze in an hour with your friend, it’s better than nothing!
Don’t have a great social life right now? Consider joining a social club and making friends that way. That way, you can combine a hobby with social time.
6: Find a Hobby Unrelated to Nursing
To ensure your life doesn’t entirely revolve around your advanced nursing career, you need a completely separate hobby. Make it as unrelated to nursing as possible. It could be one that boosts your fitness or one that gets you out of the house on your time off. Join a book club, learn a musical instrument, or start hiking. It’s good to have interests outside of work, and it will help you achieve more balance in your life.
7: Maintain Positive Work Relationships
It’s hard to enjoy work without positive work relationships. You don’t have to be best friends with everyone you work with, but try to be friendly with everyone. It’ll make work feel less stressful. Plus, if you happen to make friends, it will make socializing after work easier! You could grab a coffee after your shift ends or go for a couple of drinks.
8: Know Your Priorities
When you have such an involved career, it’s important to know and understand your priorities. If you have kids, for example, then your kids will come first. Certain work tasks might need prioritization over others, too. By knowing your priorities, decision-making is easier.
9: Keep a Diary
Are you losing track of time? Do you find you get home and only have an hour to relax before you need to go to bed? Keeping a diary will help with time management and organization. You will know what you need to do each day, from chores to shifts to meetings, and that will help you complete them on time, leaving more time for you.
10: Simplify Your Home Life
Simplifying your home life is important as an advanced nurse, as you have to put so much thought into your daily job. Don’t make things more complicated than they have to be. Organize what you will wear, eat, and do at the beginning of each week, and then follow a schedule.
It’s a good idea to make the most of technology, too. Certain apps and devices will make home living far easy and even help you save time.
11: Say No to Overtime
While overtime is not bad, if you can do it, don’t say yes out of habit. If overtime will eat into your personal life to the point of stress, say no, even if the extra money might tempt you. You can always put more hours in another time, but you can never get back the time lost, after all! Of course, this doesn’t always apply – sometimes, work will be busier, and you may have no option. When you can say no, though, you should seriously consider it.
12: Allow Time for Nothing
When trying to balance work and personal life, you might try to cram in multiple social activities. It’s important to make time for absolutely nothing as well, though. It might not seem productive, but having a few hours in your week to do absolutely nothing can really help relieve stress.
You might end up doing something during those hours – reading, taking a walk, chatting to your partner – that’s fine, as long as you make sure you have no expectations during that time.
13: Handle Conflicts Quickly
One of the things that can eat into your personal life is work conflict. As an advanced nurse, you likely handle unpleasant situations from time to time. If a conflict occurs, you must do your part to sort it out as soon as possible. Otherwise, those thoughts will sit with you when you’re no longer at work.
14: Utilize Scheduling Apps
Scheduling apps are a lifesaver when you’re trying to take back control of your time. There are plenty out there, so look at each app’s benefits and choose one that suits your lifestyle.
15: Get Enough Exercise
A good exercise routine will boost your mood, keep you healthy, and provide you with an activity outside of work – perfect for a work-life balance. You can engage in whatever exercise you like, from swimming to aerobics, just make sure it’s something you enjoy doing and can keep up with.
16: Be Passionate About Other Areas of Life
As an advanced nurse, you should be passionate about your specialty. Don’t let that be the only thing you are passionate about, however. Find something else to love, whether it’s an artist, a genre of music, books, musicals – whatever! By igniting a separate passion, you ensure your life doesn’t revolve around nursing.
17: Learn How to Switch Off
Learning how to switch off won’t be easy, but it is necessary. You need to be able to end your shift and separate your thoughts from the workday. You might have experienced something negative, like a very ill patient or a rude co-worker. While it is hard to forget those things when leaving work, try to focus your attention on other things. Think about your family, what you’re planning on doing at the weekend, or even what you plan on cooking for dinner. Let other parts of your life take priority once you leave work.
18: Make Time for Family
You might have an incredible nursing career, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make time for family. Visit your parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins regularly. It will help give you a social life while ensuring you have conversations distant from nursing.
19: Prioritize Sleep and Rest
A good work-life balance means getting plenty of rest. Getting enough sleep and rest is crucial. Without it, you won’t perform well at work or have the energy to keep up a social life. The best way to get enough sleep is to stick to a sleep schedule. If you still have trouble, try downloading a sleeping app or even visiting a doctor. The difference a good night’s sleep has on an otherwise overworked person is incredible!
These nineteen tips will help you find the ideal balance between your advanced nursing career and personal life.