Developing a work-life balance is always important, but sometimes this seems more so in the summer months. Warmer weather, longer days, relaxed family schedules have most everyone longing for more time away from work – but how can you manage this when you are a nurse working erratic 12 hour days with little control over the shifts you work and the desire to make everyone around comfortable?
Start by acknowledging the things you can’t change – like external barriers that are out of your control – which may include a mandated work schedule, inadequate staffing that causes overtime or census fluctuations – accept them as givens. And when you are at work – be “all in.” When you have time to yourself – exercise good time management.: look for areas where you should set limits and boundaries on your time—both at home and at work—and stick to them. Set limits with patients while still conveying empathy and instilling their confidence in your care. Set regular times to get together with family and friends and stick to those plans. Find time for regularly scheduled family meetings and meals together. Everyone may have to give a little to make this happen, but it will be worth it. Ask for help and delegate responsibilities and duties when possible. Take advantage of the nicer weather and integrate exercise into your day and enlist a partner to help you stay committed to these activities. Address achieving the ideal work-life balance one small step at a time. Never underestimate the power of small changes. Start by making one small change that takes just a few minutes. After the first week, evaluate the results of this change. You may find they’re good enough to inspire you to make further changes.