Balancing Act: Strategies for Nurses To Improve Their Own Health and Well-being

Balancing Act: Strategies for Nurses To Improve Their Own Health and Well-being

Given the demanding nature of working as a nurse in the United States, nursing professionals often need to find  ways to rest and relax outside of work. Balance and time for self-care are critical for nurses to offer their best self to their patients and avoid feeling burnt out after long days and nights of work. There are many strategies that nurses can employ to find balance outside of work, such as prioritizing their physical well-being, building stronger social connections, and setting boundaries with their work. Keep reading to discover the best ways to find balance during even the most challenging seasons of professional life.


Prioritizing Physical Well-being

Anyone in the nursing profession knows how important it is to maintain high energy levels. A regular exercise routine can help you build the strength and stamina needed for long work days. You must add balanced meals to your daily routine to give you the sustenance required for ten or twelve-hour shifts. 

At the end of a long day or night of work, getting enough sleep is essential to allow you to recharge ahead of your following working day. Try to find a wind-down routine that will enable you to switch off and go to bed without overthinking the challenges you’ve faced at work that day. Therapeutic activities, such as yoga, can also be a great way to add relaxation and rest to your weekly routine.


Nurturing Mental Health

In addition to taking care of physical health, nurses need to find ways to protect their mental health. (May is also Mental Health Month.) Engaging in hobbies and interests outside of work can take your mind off work stress and give you something to look forward to each week. We recommend meditation and mindfulness practices for nurses who struggle to switch their brains off from work mode at home. If you find everything is getting too much for you to handle alone, then remember that professional support is always available. No one should have to deal with so much stress alone, and taking care of your mental health is critical to performing your best at work each day.


Building Strong Social Connections

Every nurse needs people to share their lives and discuss their problems to survive and thrive. Holding everything inside and isolating yourself can only worsen stress, so spending time with friends and family is a great way to focus on something else. 

Participating in community activities can help you to connect with new people and expand your social circle. We also highly encourage nursing professionals to communicate with other nurses for support and camaraderie. While your friends and family can no doubt listen to your troubles, they will likely never really understand what it’s like each day at work. You can share stories and advice with those in your industry and learn tips and tricks to help find balance outside the hospital.


Exploring Creative Outlets

Artistic activities, such as painting, writing, or music, can allow nurses to express themselves and release some steam. Many nurses find crafting and DIY projects the perfect way to unwind after a long day and can help you switch your mind off before bed. Try to find joy in creative endeavors outside of the medical field. Remember, life isn’t just about working, and you’ll soon end up burnt out if you don’t work to add moments of enjoyment to your everyday routine.


Embracing Nature and Outdoor Activities

Working inside the walls of a healthcare facility each and every day can soon take its toll on your mental health and well-being. Spending time in nature and enjoying the outdoors is one of the best ways to refocus your mind. Hiking, camping, or nature walks are the perfect way to spend time off work. Gardening and spending time in green spaces can benefit your mental health and allow you to reconnect with the world outside of the hospital’s four walls. Nature has many therapeutic benefits, so if you spend too much time inside, schedule an outdoor activity on your next day off.


Setting Boundaries and Managing Work-Life Balance

Establishing clear boundaries between your work and personal life is one of the most important steps you can take to maintain your physical and mental health. We encourage you to learn about and implement time management techniques to balance work and your personal life well. Learning to say “no” is essential for any nurse who tends to work extra hours and be a “people-pleaser.” Prioritize self-care and realize this self-care is something you need to add to your schedule regularly to look after yourself and perform the best you can at your job. If you turn up to work exhausted each day, then it’s easier to make mistakes, which can be life-threatening in this industry.


Final Thoughts

Any nursing professional can use these strategies to help find balance and improve overall health. By getting into a healthy routine, nurses will notice a huge improvement in their overall outlook on life and a boost in energy.

Propelus is also here to help. Our mission is to ensure healthcare professionals reach their full potential. That includes providing you with education and training, as well as ensuring you’re compliant, safe and healthy to work. Learn more about