Nursing is more a lifestyle than a profession. Sometimes, it can become all-consuming and lead you to neglecting other aspects of your life.
One of the aspects that easy to neglect is your personal life. It can be easy to blow off significant others, keep children with babysitters, and fail to see your friends.
However, this would be bad for your morale and can lead you to feeling isolated and alone. You need friends and family in your life to be a well-rounded nurse, although the profession honestly doesn’t do much to help you maintain those bonds.
Despite its challenges, nurses can have a personal life and still be great nurses. Sometimes, you just have to learn to say no to that overtime shift, no matter how much you want to be a team player.
Shift Work and Social Life
One of the problems with maintaining a social life while working as a nurse is the need for shift work. When you are working 11 to 7, you don’t want to spend the rest of your day hanging out with friends.
On the contrary, you will want to sleep as much as possible to be ready to go in the next night. If you work an off shift regularly, you may have trouble seeing anyone, but bouncing between shifts can take a toll on you, as well.
To get around this phenomenon, you have to learn the best times for you to sleep. If the kids are at school, then you have to get your sleeping done while they are away.
It may be hard to sleep through the day, but using blackout curtains and earplugs can go a long way toward helping you be awake when friends and family are around. Sleep aids, though sometimes helpful, are not always recommended due to side effects.
Making Time for Family and Friends
No matter what shift you work, you have to consciously make time for family and friends. If you wanted to, you could be on the floor 24/7, but that’s a sure way to burn yourself out.
On the weekends you are off, schedule family outings and parties that will have people coming into your house. You can organize barbeques or just get in the habit of visiting with people on the weekend.
You’re going to be tired, and that’s going to make you want to stay home. However, if you don’t make the time for your friends and family, the relationships will suffer.
No job is worth alienating everyone you know. If you want to be a balanced nurse, you’re going to have to ruthlessly schedule time for fun activities, no matter how exhausted you may be.
Not Working When You’re Not Working
One problem most nurses have is that they continue to work even when they are not working. This doesn’t mean going in for overtime, but you may as well.
Essentially, your mind never leaves work, and you cannot enjoy your time off with family and friends. Maybe you ruminate on how your last shift went or worry incessantly about your upcoming shift.
This is a sign that you are overstressed, and it can make a detrimental impact on your relationships outside the facility. You may need to talk to a counsellor if you find yourself mentally unable to leave work.
When you are off, it is time for yourself, your family, and your friends. Constantly thinking about nursing and your job will only burn you out, so take steps to make sure you put your focus where it belongs.