Being a nurse, it’s often challenging to have a work-life balance. Everyone wants a balanced life because it’s good for their physical and mental health, their relationships with family and colleagues, and their work performance, but how can you actually achieve a work-life balance?

I always tell my nursing students how important time management is. More often than not, we’re too busy trying to keep up with our daily activities and workload, but good time management can help you achieve more in a shorter period of time and with less effort, and help you make better decisions. As a result, you will have more free time and more success, which in turn leads to lower stress and frustration.

Here are some useful steps to help you manage your time effectively and achieve a work-life balance:

  • Identify your priorities and values between home and work. Always work on the most urgent and important goals and tasks first. Readjust the demands of work and home as much as possible.
  • Assess how you currently spend your time. Keep a time log for a week and look for activities which you should set limits and boundaries on your time—both at home and at work.
  • Make yourself a priority by practicing good self-care, and take care of yourself in a holistic way—taking into account both physical and mental health.
  • Improve your nutrition by having a healthy breakfast, taking a break for lunch or healthy snacks, and spending time with family for dinner.
  • Integrate exercise into your day. Enroll in a yoga, Pilates, or mindfulness meditation class or other relaxation activity that can help you reduce stress.
  • Improve your sleep health by making your bedroom as inviting as possible.
  • Learn to say “NO.”  Sometimes you need to let someone know that you are not available to take on a new request or attend another meeting.
  • Take time to reflect on the positive parts of your day and life.
  • Make time for the things you love. Have a good time trying out other areas of well-being.
  • Identify workplace and personal challenges that create stress, and develop an action plan for addressing or coping with them.
  • Acknowledge losses and give yourself permission to grieve.
  • Seek support from your families, friends, and colleagues in areas that seem to be the most challenging. Consider using your organization’s employee benefit program, peer associations, and support groups for assistance.

Have fun and enjoy a balance of your work and personal life!

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Nuananong Seal, PhD, RN

Nuananong Seal, PhD, RN, is a nurse researcher and a consultant for health promotion and health prevention research.
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