Visualize your work-life scale
It’s the last week of our “work/life balance” theme, and as a nurse who has been carrying eight bags of mulch around in the trunk of her car for two days, I fully admit it is not easy to find the time to do the things we need to do (let alone do the things we’d like to do.) There are just some days when we can’t get it all done. However, we should never let a day go by without doing something good for ourselves. We should always ensure that our healthy meals and relaxation time are worked in. On a day or week (yikes!) when free time is scarce, choose to be optimistic and think of what you can do for yourself, instead of what you won’t get to do.
Sometimes we have the time and it slips away from us. Figure out where you’re squandering time. A friend recently admitted that she finds herself mesmerized by her smart phone for way too long! There are apps which track the amount of time you spend on your phone, and which apps you use most. Consider a smart phone blackout period on part of your day off. Let good friends and family know you’ll be available via landline, and put that thing in a drawer or on airplane mode. Set a timer to remind yourself to switch it back. I tried it last weekend and I survived. To understand how phones can be addictive, click here.
If you are spending too much time viewing things on your phone and you can’t bear to turn it off, try using it for listening activities and getting other things done.
With some creativity you can turn a hectic commute or a task of folding laundry into an opportunity to listen to novels or interesting podcasts. Have you considered brushing up on a language you studied years ago or trying something new? Try one of the many free language podcasts. Amazon Audible costs $14.95 per month, which entitles you to one credit, good for a book of any price. Imagine being whisked back into a great story every time you drive to and from work or errands. OverDrive is a program you can use to borrow free audio books from your town library (they can help you to set it up). Also, there are hundreds of free podcasts you can load onto your phone. For example, National Public Radio (NPR) has many podcasts with interesting interviews and new music. They can be downloaded onto your phone so that you don’t need to use data when you are on the move. Even ANA Healthy Nurse has a podcast! Who says the weekly ironing can’t be enjoyable? Nurses are brilliant multi-taskers.
I will leave you with some final thoughts: visualize your work-life scale; make sure you do something for yourself every day. Add something to the “life” side of the scale. Whether it’s sharing hugs, meditating, learning something new, being more mindful in your everyday life, or getting yourself out into the fresh air. Rake your leaves and talk with your family and neighbors. Give yourself some hammock time. If you combine work with an enjoyable task, they cancel each other out and you can stay balanced.
Keep up the good work! You sure are worth it!
Lisa Ertle, B.A., R.N. and the N.J. 2017 Healthy Nurse Nation Team.