Health and Nursing: Your Guide to Finding the Balance

Nursing is an incredibly demanding career that can feel like a roller coaster of non-stop care, especially since the pandemic. Nurses are essential and nowadays everyone knows it. What most don’t know, however, is that nurses’ health takes a massive toll to provide that expert quality care in these moments of crisis. 

As a nurse, finding that balance isn’t just key to leading a better quality of life where you don’t feel like you are on the edge of a burnout every day, and perhaps several times a day. Rather, finding that balance is where you can find the drive to push forward. 

There is more to nursing than working as an RN. There is more you can do with your career beyond earn your MSN. 

Nurses are being continuously pushed to learn more and to qualify for more but trying to take on a full demanding day and then pursue an education (even part-time) can be too much. 

From taking time off work to pursue your degree, to offloading many of the everyday stresses from your shoulders, this guide will help you find the balance to succeed as a nurse. 

Have a Clear Outline of Your Goals 

One of the biggest mistakes you can make, particularly if you are ambitions and are aiming to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is to not acknowledge the smaller steps you have made. You may have an ultimate goal of becoming an adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, especially if you were appalled at the quality of care that your own grandparents or parents have received, but that doesn’t mean the little moments leading up to your goal don’t matter. 

By creating a clear outline of your goals and what you will need to reach and pass each milestone then you will be able to consistently make steps forward. You may even feel better about visualizing your smaller goals in a spreadsheet or paper. All top AGACNP DNP programs require their RNs to be working at least a year, and then also request three letters of recommendation before you can apply. 

Reward yourself for making it the first year, even if you aren’t ready yet to continue your education. Treat yourself when you manage to get the references you need. Acknowledging the little steps can make you feel more fulfilled, because you are honoring the journey and not just the destination. 

Understand Your Baseline 

Understanding your baseline can help you determine whether healthy living can help on its own, or if you need to offset just healthy living with specialist care and guidance. Try to keep up good habits for two weeks and take note of how you feel. If you still suffer from severe lethargy and generally feel lifeless, then there are no tips or tricks that will help you out of that situation, and specialist help will be essential – as will keeping responsibilities off your plate. 

Build up your baseline first so that you can understand what your body needs. If you feel strong enough and resilient enough to take on your next career’s steps, then you are ready to go. 

Improving Your Routine 

Your routine is where the magic happens, and until it becomes natural, you’ll want to prioritize these routine changes – meaning you need to hold off on any big changes. 

Start with your diet. Rather than cutting foods out, switch them. Find new, healthy snacks that help you feel more naturally energized and more alert. Similarly try to replace foods that are high in fat, salt, or sugar. These foods are hard on the body and provide short-term benefits and long-term issues. The replacements don’t even need to be entirely new foods. Consider whether full-fat yoghurt or 0% fat is more appropriate for you – full fat will keep you full for longer and reduce your sugar intake, but you may want to reduce your fat intake and not mind the extra sugar. Have a piece of fruit rather than the fruit juice. Such changes will instantly improve your energy levels and also your ability to manage your time and stress

Sleep is another routine you need to prioritize. If you find shift work impossible to manage a good amount of rest, then you need to relocate. If you can use the same night-time and morning routine to get a better sleep regardless of the time, then you can continue working without an issue and just need to make a few minor adjustments. 

For some, going to sleep at the same time every day and waking up at the same time will get their internal clock on schedule, meaning you’ll sleep better, deeper, and feel so much more refreshed. There are even apps that will help you understand exactly how much sleep you personally need and when is best to wake yourself up. These apps can also be a godsend when you work shifts. 

Don’t be afraid to cut corners. If you have the budget, you may find it instantly better to use a meal service plan. You may find that getting your laundry done by professionals better than doing it yourself. There are so many services that come right to your door, so explore and pick out which ones will help you save the most time and stress that are within your budget for the best results. 

Being Honest with Your Plate 

Some can easily juggle work and study. They can work towards becoming an adult-gerontology acute care nurse with a dedicated, integrated degree while working as an RN to provide frontline care. This is not everyone, and if this is not you then you do not need to stress. You may find it better to dedicate yourself fully to your academics. 

By being honest with yourself on how much you can take on you can reduce the risk of burning out. How much you take on will change as well. Personal tragedies and responsibilities may mean you need to take a step back on your career trajectory, and to instead find a new workaround that balances your health, your wellbeing, and your goals. 

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!