Being a nurse is a privilege — it is a profession that offers its members many advantages. However, like every other occupation, it has at least one negative associated with it. In this case, it's the long nursing hours. It's good to know though that with a little forethought, this aspect can become manageable and you can maintain a family life around the schedule of the job you love. Here are a few tips for creating a healthy work/life balance.
1. Make Family Dinners a Priority
Studies have shown that eating dinner together as a family offers benefits that positively contribute to children's well-being. Everyone has to eat dinner at some point, so make it a priority to eat together as a family. Make the most of this time by eliminating distractions like television and cell phones during this hour, so you can relax together and talk. This nightly time with your loved ones can be something you look forward to throughout your busy day.
2. Get Organized with Cooking
Having family dinners requires some pre-planning and organization. When you cook a big meal, anything from a pot of chili to a lasagna, always make an extra batch to freeze. On days off, devote a block of time to prepare several casseroles that you can freeze to eat on your working days. When you get home from your nursing shift, all you'll need to do is pop one in the oven. Another idea is to spend an extra half an hour in the morning putting the ingredients for a meal into a slow cooker. When your family comes home in the evening, the appetizing aroma of a delicious, ready-to-eat meal will welcome them.
3. Delegate Cleaning Duties
Remember you cannot do everything yourself. Divide household chores with your spouse and children, so the burden does not fall too heavily on you. Relax your standards a little and be willing to settle for less than perfection in this area. If both you and your spouse work, you may want to designate a portion of the family budget to hire someone to come in twice a month and clean. This would free up some of your time to spend in family activities.
4. Designate a Family Night
Set aside one night each week for special family time. You could play games or make popcorn and watch a movie together. If you don't have children, you and your significant other could make this a date night.
5. Learn to Say No
When you don't have enough time to relax with your family, you may become a victim of the phenomenon known as nurse burnout. To prevent this, learn to simplify your life and reduce outside commitments. If someone asks you to do something that would interfere with family time, don't hesitate to decline an invitation or an opportunity.
Fitting in family time around long nursing hours is all a matter of priorities, removing distractions and getting organized along with delegating responsibilities and cutting back on commitments. Although finding the right work/home balance can be a challenge, it is certainly not one that is insurmountable. If you keep these tips in mind, you can still have a vibrant family life while enjoying a great career.
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