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The Imbalanced Relationship of Nursing: No Time & Way Too Much Stress

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As a nurse entrepreneur, I have awesome opportunities to engage with nurses at every level. Just this week I gave four nursing talks! In two of them I opened up with asking the group about their greatest challenges they face as professional nurses.

Well, two really neat things happened. On one hand, the room of nurses was very diverse. From nursing student to newly graduated nurse, from experienced bedside professional to community care coordinators, from nurse educators to nurse administrators, from holistic nurses to nurse entrepreneurs: they all answered the same things.

Stress! and Time!

I’m way to stressed out and I don’t have any time for myself. This result was no different than a survey I conducted last year. I did an internet survey, asking 100 nurses what the number one challenge was to their self-care: 98% of the respondents shared: Time.

Ok, so I think by now you’re starting to agree (or maybe you already did) that there’s a bit of an imbalance here. We’re so stressed out and we feel like we don’t have any time: no time for ourselves, our health, or the things we enjoy.

What can we do about it? How can we tip the scales in our favor, with respect to balancing our work and our health as a busy nurse? Here are 2 ideas to get you started right now:

  • Keep Track of Your Yes’ & No’ Responses. Quite often as nurses we are called upon for many things. They want us to come in for overtime. We’ve got to stay late and cover the unit. An administrator places a deadline on a project, when we already have too much on our plate. I’d like you to think of one place you say Yes’ a lot. Write that activity/person/experience on the top of a sheet of paper. Now draw a line down the middle: one column for Yes’ and one column for No’. Start to track your responses with respect to this particular request. Just having that awareness that things are out of balance will help you start to shift things towards your favor.
  • Focus on What You Do Want. Look back through this article: what did we focus on? The fact that we don’t want to be stressed; that we don’t have enough time. What we resist persists; what we focus on is only drawn closer to us. How can you shift your perspective? By starting to focus more on what you do want. At first, it may seem like you’re telling a white lie. But the more you can enjoy the time that you do have, engage yourself in the activities you do want to do, the more the scales will teeter towards what you desire in life.

I wish it could say there was an easy fix’ to the high stress-no time feelings of nursing. Sometimes the simple answers are not so easy to implement. I encourage you to do two more things: one, don’t beat yourself up. If things don’t go as planned, what can you learn from the experience? How can you change something to work out better for you?

And two: get support. We don’t live our lives in a vacuum and there are tons of resources out there for you. if you find yourself feeling pulled in thousands of directions maybe it’s time to pause, take a step back, and assess where you can welcome some help in your life.

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