Since the pandemic began, nurses and doctors have served as frontline workers with their efforts and dedication. But healthcare professionals aren’t immune to exhaustion, so they shouldn’t let the workload overwhelm them. Many nurses complain that burnout harms their productivity. Thus, it’s necessary to create a work-life balance in your career. Practicing self-care enables you to avoid burnout and enhance your mental well-being since fatigue diminishes a nurse’s efficiency and leads to worse patient outcomes. But how can a nurse maintain a healthy work-life balance? Here we’ve compiled a few solutions to help nurses regulate their workload and recover their mental health.
10 Tips for maintaining work-life balance
Having a work-life balance means creating harmony between these two aspects and not letting them take over each other. Since failure to have a work-life balance exhausts your mind and distracts you from the job. So, nurses experiencing burnout are susceptible to mistakes, thereby endangering a patient’s survival. It also leads to turnover that causes staffing shortages in medical facilities. On the other hand, nurses who successfully maintain a work-life balance are more satisfied at work and less depressed at home.
Different factors contribute to a nurse feeling unproductive. At work, understaffing, scarce resources, archaic equipment, and non-cooperation from colleagues may stress out a nurse. Domestic problems – similarly – affect a nurse’s efficiency. These problems include divorce, bereavement, financial troubles, parents/children to attend to, or others. So, here we’ll discuss some suggestions that might help nurses overcome these stressors and regain control over their lives by maintaining a work-life balance:
- Talk to your supervisor
If you’re wondering how to become a nurse manager, it takes some leadership and problem-solving skills to obtain supervisory positions. These individuals serve as a bridge between the administration and the nursing staff. So, it’s essential to speak with your manager if you’re feeling overwhelmed or distracted at work. It’s their job taking to the workers through changes and encouraging them to take breaks often to reduce burnout. So, don’t hesitate to share your concerns with the manager.
- Find a mentor
But supervisors aren’t enough when it comes to finding someone for inspiration. Nurses should look for mentorship among their colleagues or superiors. In simple terms, discover a person who has – at last – achieved work-life balance. You can ask that person for some words of guidance. Maybe, your mentor has a few tricks up their sleeve to help you relax. Seek the assistance of these professionals to lend you their advice. There’ll be many valuable insights into the suggestions they have for you.
- Resolve conflicts
Conflict resolution contributes to effective work-life balance. So, nurses should focus on resolving disagreements immediately and must not take conflicts home. Arguments mostly emerge just from misunderstandings, and sometimes they can be resolved merely by acknowledging that a problem exists. Delaying conflict resolution will only add more to your discomfort and become a headache the next day. Also, extending a disagreement takes up your precious time and curbs productivity.
- Waste no time
Healthcare professionals are vulnerable to time-wasters in the workplace, such as chit-chats with your colleagues or irrelevant conversations with a patient. These activities hinder your productivity and make you less efficient at your job. Consequently, the work-life crawls into your personal space and starts bleeding over the “me-time” you need. Nurses must avoid all such unproductive activities even at home (such as working out while the TV’s switched on). So, don’t waste your time on idle tasks.
- Transition gently
Workers often have trouble transitioning from work, so they tend to take their worries home. Nurses – especially – struggle to forget about the patients after they’re on their way home as they’re prone to compassion. Thus, experts suggest establishing a transition routine that helps you transform into a homeward-bound person after long work hours. It involves closing your eyes, taking deep breaths, and listening to your favorite tunes. This method comforts you as you head home to call it a day.
- Exercise regularly
Your health – mental well-being and physical fitness – will lead to a better work-life balance if taken care of properly. So, CDC recommends 150 minutes of exercise regularly for increased mobility and better disease prevention. Experts have found that working out stimulates the release of endorphins from the brain. These pleasure-inducing chemicals uplift your mood and enhance your confidence. Exercise improves your workplace productivity and retains your good spirits when you’re home.
- Create a schedule
You can’t maintain a work-life balance without properly organizing your schedule. How many shifts can you take? Think deeply about work hours that correspond to your domestic requirements. Don’t accept workload more than you can’t handle. For instance, some nurses prefer working night shifts to relax at home when their children are in school. It depends on you to create a perfect schedule for yourself. But always be realistic by making the schedule and don’t overburden yourself.
- Take a break
With over 5.5 million active cases of COVID-19 in the United States, the nurses are beleaguered with the workload. But their diligence has negative consequences as well. Nurses must realize that taking a break and relaxing in-between shifts doesn’t curb productivity. Healthcare professionals should not overwork themselves and decrease their efficiency. Proper rest refreshes your mind & body and makes you productive in the long run. So, there’ no need to overburden yourself now.
- Invest in self-care
Nurses aren’t just responsible for the patients they treat but also for personal well-being. So, you should eat well, sleep properly, and avoid unnecessary workload. Consume nutritious meals instead of consuming junk food. Drink plenty of water rather than filling yourself up with soda and sugary beverages. Sleeping for 7-9 hours is vital for an adult. Nurses move around a lot in the workplace, but they should also focus on other healthy activities. So, engage in biking, jogging, or swimming to keep yourself fit.
- Engage healthily
It would be best if you established healthy associations in the workplace. Don’t make the clinic/hospital a stressful workplace by polluting the connection you have with your colleagues. Always maintain a respectful and professional attitude with everyone while you’re at work since adversities follow you home and keep you depressed. Developing lasting connections enable you to ask for help whenever you aren’t feeling up to the mark. Having dependable friends allows you to maintain a work-life balance.
All professionals strive to create a work-life balance to maintain their mental/physical health. Neglecting your well-being contributes to anxiety/depression among essential workers such as nurses. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses have been affected by a heavy workload and excessive responsibilities. A recent survey in the UK revealed that 90% of nurses were feeling more stressed during coronavirus. One-third of them admitted that their mental health had declined lately. So, it’s essential to learn to switch off from work and dedicate some personal time to yourself. Don’t forget to rest and recharge yourself for the next day. Focus on family/friends and ask for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed.