As a busy nurse, I sometimes find it challenging to live a balanced lifestyle. I find myself running from task to task and taking care of everyone around me, only to get home and do more of the same. Not only that, but when I do get home, I’m so tired that all of my self-care ideas go right out the window!
Work can have a way of taking over things like pleasure, social life, hobbies and health. How can an active nurse overcome these challenges? What can you do if you feel that all you do is work?
1. Take stock of your current situation. I use a tool that I created, the Living Sublime Wellness Wheel of Balance, to evaluate where I focus my time and energy. The wheel makes you aware of what parts of your life are in, and out, of balance.
To use the Living Sublime Wellness Wheel of Balance, look at each section on the wheel below and place a dot inside the triangle marking how satisfied you are with each area of your life. A dot placed at the center of the circle or close to the middle indicates dissatisfaction, while a dot placed on the periphery indicates ultimate happiness.
When you have placed a dot on each of the lines, connect the dots to see your Wheel of Balance. You will have a clear visual of any imbalances in lifestyle and a starting point for determining where you may wish to spend more time, effort and energy to create balance and joy in your life.
2. Be honest with yourself. The tool shows you where you spend less time and energy. Now you’ve got to be honest with your reactions to its picture. Do you want to spend more time in certain areas? If so, why? What fears or discomforts are you avoiding? If you are able to pay more attention to the areas that are lacking, how and when would you start? What excites you about the potential of working with new areas of wellness? Be clear with your ability and desire to balance your lifestyle.
3. Start where your energy takes you. You may look at your balance wheel and find there are several areas that could use more attention. Realistically, you aren’t going to start working on all of the areas at once—you just don’t have time for that! So where are you being pulled? What are you feeling drawn to first? Notice where your energy is taking you and begin with those areas…it will be easier and more fun to give attention to the things you enjoy.
4. Create a plan and get organized. Starting to pay more attention to new areas of your life isn’t going to happen magically. You’ll need to schedule time in for new things; otherwise, they won’t get done. Create a plan and stick to it…and remember, change won’t occur overnight!
5. Reach out for support. You don’t need to do this alone. Making changes isn’t easy, so rather than struggling, why not ask loved ones, colleagues or even professionals for help? This can make change much easier, bringing your whole life into healthy balance.
6. All things in moderation. You may notice you thrive in one area of your life while another aspect is severely lacking. Well, how much time do you spend on the thing that is going well? Be honest. Maybe things are flourishing in some areas and not in others because you spend all of your effort, time and energy focused on those aspects of your life. When we approach health in a balanced way, we are less likely to become one-sided.
7. Have fun. If balancing your life starts to feel like work, stop worrying about it! You are doing this to be healthy and whole, not to add more “chores” to your plate. Find fun in new experiences. Have a good time trying out other areas of well-being. Do things with gratitude, courage and joy. Have fun!
What do you do to create healthy balance? Do you have a process that has worked time and time again?