Having proper work-life balance is essential if you want to be happy and healthy. However, as a nurse with an extremely busy schedule, it can take more than just good time management skills to achieve that.

In line with this year’s Nurses Week, with the theme “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit”, here are some great tips you can use to keep up with the demands of your work without compromising your well-being.

1. Know your situation

One of the first things you have to do is to assess your situation. Evaluate where most of your time goes and where you want to focus more. Busyness is something you choose and you can always make a different choice.

Be honest about yourself so you’d know exactly which areas you’re paying less attention to. Remember that you won’t be able to work on all areas of your life at once so know how to prioritize depending on your age, situation or status.

2. Address conflicts

Relationship conflicts can drain your energy. They can take off your focus and concentration at work and these can spell problems for your patient and the hospital. Medication errors, for example, can easily happen when you are distracted.

To solve the issue, don’t hesitate to engage in necessary conversations with your co-worker or your family. Don’t judge into conclusions and be open to what they have to say. Talk about how you feel and what you can do to ease the tension.

Conflicts at work can affect the way you care for your patients. Settle your differences as early as possible.

If it’s your co-worker, be open for feedbacks. Ask for some help if you need to and don’t hesitate to offer a hand when you’re free. Fulfill your duties and responsibilities as much as possible. For your family, make sure to set aside some time for them. Go out and treat them to lunch once in a while.

3. Learn how to say no

Whether it’s the supervisor or your co-worker asking you extend your working hours, be comfortable in saying no, especially if that is what you really mean. Saying yes when you really don’t feel like doing it can only make you regret the decision later on. Worse, it might even affect the way you deliver care to your patients.

“One time, a patient came up to me to complain about one of the nurses. The patient was extremely dissatisfied that the nurse was frowning the entire shift and was looking annoyed each time the patient asked questions. It turned out that it was the same nurse I asked earlier that day to work an extra 4 hours to cover a sick nurse’s shift,” a nurse supervisor shared.

4. Schedule rest

No matter how busy you get or how often you do night shifts, it’s essential that you get enough rest and sleep. Remember, you are a nurse and you need to be fit physically, mentally, and emotionally when dealing with patients.

Although going out with your friends and engaging in a hobby can help you achieve better work-life balance, it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your sleep. If you need to go out, schedule it after you’ve rested.

5. Do something that makes you feel good

Do something you’ve always wanted to try. Discover your passion one step at a time.

Whether it’s soaking in a warm bubble bath or gardening, if it nurtures your soul, just do it. Schedule it in your week and prioritize it during your free days. Take care of not just your body, but your spirit, emotions, and intellect, too. It’s one of the best ways to combat stress and burnout.

6. Pay attention to your body

When you’re a  nurse, it’s quite easy to neglect your own health. You can skip lunch, drinking water or taking your vitamins when you’re too busy making sure your patients are full, hydrated and healthy.

If you feel like a cold is coming or you feel pain on your back or feet, take the necessary interventions. See a doctor when you need to and make sure that you give yourself the tender, loving care you freely give to other people.

7. Exercise

Exercise is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to get rid of depression and stress. You can enroll in a Pilates or Yoga class. If attending a special class isn’t your cup of tea, you can always do a 10-minute walk or run outside your home or on your way to the hospital. If budget permits, you can invest in exercise equipment and do your workout at home.

Exercise can help you recharge and clear your mind, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed. Apart from that, it can also help you shed off some extra weight.