As a working nurse, you have a demanding job. You may also be taking care of a family or have other commitments. Going back to school to earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree adds another layer to your already complex life.
It is unrealistic to think that balancing all of these different aspects of your life will be easy. Going back to school, especially when you have other obligations, requires time, focus and energy. But there are things you can do to make your life more manageable while earning a career-changing nursing degree. The following tips can help nurses find balance in their lives.
Accept Your Limitations
Realize you are not perfect and that you will inevitably make mistakes from time to time. Accept your mistakes and choose to learn from them instead of dwelling on them. Accepting that there are certain situations you are unable to control can help alleviate some of that stress, says American Nurse Today. Instead, focus on those things you do have control over.
Another way to accept your limitations is to be realistic with your schedule. Creating extensive to-do lists, for example, can set you up for disappointment and frustration, suggests NurseTogether.com. Instead, make reasonable lists that give you a more realistic perspective.
Take Care of Your Mind and Body
You will need to maintain focus and energy levels to accomplish everything you need to do. Optimal health is the foundation from which to build the strength needed to thrive at work and home.
Fill your body with the nutrients you need to maintain overall health and increase stamina. There are different schools of thought on which foods accomplish this. The Mediterranean diet, based on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and a moderate amount of lean meats, is one to consider. According to Scientific American, this diet can also deter memory loss.
Exercise can improve brain performance by increasing one’s energy level and oxygenation, which occurs with increased blood flow, according to Scientific American. Can you incorporate exercise into your routine? For example, you might try taking the stairs instead of elevators, or walking to work instead of driving.
Prayer and meditation are also beneficial for health. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, there is evidence that meditation can reduce symptoms associated with anxiety and depression, as well as aid in reducing blood pressure.
Being able to learn and retain new information hinges on your ability to focus. The amount and quality of sleep you get affects your ability to concentrate, according to a Harvard University study.
Find Joy in Life
You may be busy, but taking time to find enjoyment can help bring perspective to your life. Here are a few suggestions.
Arts and crafts. Activities like knitting and painting require rhythm and repetitiveness, which can promote relaxation, according to Newark Advocate. They can help slow breathing, decrease one’s heart rate and lower stress hormone levels.
Reading. When was the last time you immersed yourself in a good book? A number of benefits are associated with reading. According to Reader’s Digest, reading can help you feel connected to others and instill feelings of happiness.
Are there things you enjoy doing that bring perspective to your life and help you relax? Perhaps a hobby such as painting, cooking or gardening? Or can you volunteer a couple hours a month to a cause or organization you care about? Choose something that brings you joy.
Reach Out to Others
Make contact with others who share your challenges at school. The Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) online program at Mississippi College (MC) is designed for working nurses. Why not reach out to some of your classmates and share your experiences and challenges?
Are there healthful activities you and your coworkers can enjoy together? For example, Georgetown University Hospital nurses have benefited from doing group activities like painting murals, says VOA.
Remember the allies you have in your own personal life. Can you delegate some of your responsibilities to family members? When you are stressed, can you pick up the phone and talk to a good friend?
When considering work-life balance, choose a nursing program that caters to the needs of working nurses. As a student of the RN to BSN online program at MC, you can take courses at your own pace, which can help you maintain balance.
Learn more about the MC online RN to BSN program.