Every job has its challenges. However, everyone will agree that some jobs are just a little more demanding than others. Your work might make you experience second-hand trauma or go through burnout.
The healthcare field is one of the most stressful careers in the world. And most healthcare professionals struggle to manage their stress levels in the hospital. There are various reasons for stress in the workplace. The healthcare system is understaffed, and medical professionals get little to no downtime. Furthermore, there are problems with communication and management.
Since nurses play a significant part in delivering quality patient care, they may get overwhelmed and get ill. Nurses are also at risk for burnout, which is a state of mental and physical exhaustion. According to experts, each nurse suffers from this condition once in their lifetime. And if left untreated, this issue can spiral into depression.
Therefore, it is vital to take out some time to wind down. Furthermore, most problems occur when our professional lives spill into our personal lives. Healthcare professionals must maintain a work-life balance for a harmonious life.
Here are some ways they can also wind down and achieve a work-life balance.
Manage Your Time Correctly:
Time management is a vital skill, regardless of the profession. Nurses, however, find it challenging to manage their time because of understaffing in the industry effectively.
They spend their time either working too much or fail to balance additional tasks around their working hours, such as up-skilling. Several nurses who can’t enroll in full-time graduate programs opt for online dnp fnp programs to balance work and academic progression but find it difficult to strike a balance.
Nurses can avoid these pitfalls by organizing their day and arriving a few minutes before their group starts. That way, they can handle any spillover from the previous shift and manage their daily workload and additional tasks efficiently.
Invest in Self-Care:
Nurses spend most of their time caring for others and forget that they need help as well. It is vital to care for yourself to become a better nurse and lead a happier life.
But, what does self-care mean? Contrary to popular belief, it does not merely imply going on shopping sprees and sipping mojitos. It is taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
For example, a nurse might be struggling with guilt and PTSD from their workplace. It is vital to confront these feelings and learn coping strategies for difficult situations. Shopping may be therapeutic, but nurses need to remain physically and mentally fit to ensure maximum self-care – even if that means joining a gym or visiting a counselor. And this brings us to our next point.
Sweat It Out:
It is a well-known fact that exercise is an effective antidepressant. Not only does exercise increase blood flow to the brain, but it also releases endorphins in the bloodstream. Furthermore, some forms of exercise like boxing can help you constructively spend any pent-up frustration. Experts suggest exercising a minimum of three times per week. And the best time to work out is after you get back from work. But do not overdo it, or you might end up in the ER!
Many people tend to stress-eat when things get bad, and nurses are no exception to the rule. Furthermore, the crazy work schedule and long workdays can make eating healthy seem impossible. However, eating better is not only energizes your body but will also improve your mood and help you avoid that post-lunch slump. The unhealthy food in your system leaves you feeling tired and sluggish. Therefore it is best to avoid it entirely. Look for healthier alternatives like salads or fresh fruits. And always remember to hydrate.
Ask For Help When You Need It:
No one can play it solo for too long. And as the healthcare industry faces increased pressure during the pandemic, nurses must know they can lean on others. Nurses who begin to feel too overwhelmed at work should get in touch with counselors and therapists for help. They may also go through self-help manuals to learn strategies to cope with workplace stress. Fortunately, there are many resources available for those struggling during the pandemic.
Do Something Worthwhile On Your Day Off:
The worst thing you can do is spend your day off sitting in front of the TV, bingeing shows. Doing so will only make you feel worse and get you in a rut. Do not waste your days off from work and engage yourself in an activity that stimulates your senses. Plan some activities such as hiking or visiting the beach, or even brunching with friends and family.
Have a realistic schedule:
It is easy to think of yourself as superhuman when you are saving lives. But doing so is a big mistake.
Like other people, you also need care and support. Therefore, do not expect yourself to work crazy hours and lead a healthy life. Pick a schedule that works best for you, and try to limit extra shifts. It can be extremely challenging when you feel that you have a moral obligation to help patients in need, but you need to give yourself the permission and opportunity to say no to things sometimes.
Get Your Sleep:
Sleep impacts our mental state. Therefore, it is necessary to get enough rest to revitalize our body and mind. Fewer sleep hours can affect motor skills and judgment. Since nurses have to make life-or-death decisions for their patients, they must keep their wits about them. Therefore, it is vital to catch up on your sleep.
Don’t be scared of confrontation:
The thing with conflicts is that they can snowball from small arguments to blowups if left to ferment. And the strain in work and personal relationships can drain your emotions and make you feel depressed. Therefore it is vital to engage in productive conversation to resolve conflicts as they arise. Always resolve problems before you go to bed so that they do not balloon into resentment and hate. And sometimes, all it takes is a little acknowledgment and a small conversation to resolve problems.
Accept the things you cannot change:
We cannot control everything. And while we may not like this reality, we will fare better if we accept it. Many things can go wrong in a hospital, and they may end up costing a person their life. But, the only thing a good nurse can do is trying their best to help their patients.
It is necessary to know who you are and what you want in life. Your goals and dreams may change with time, and within a few years, you might not have the same priorities. Therefore, it is vital to ask yourself about what you want from your life.
When you assess and reevaluate your wants and needs, you can readjust your work and home life. Improving your work-life balance will take time, determination, and motivation. Focus on your holistic health. It means prioritizing your mental, physical and emotional needs to process workplace stressors.