School, Life, Work: Finding Balance in Your Life
You have a mission or a purpose to your life. Maybe you can still remember the excitement you had when you first started nursing school – that feeling like you were going to be able to help people and make a difference. And yet, that sentiment can fade away with the daily pressures of school, work and family responsibilities.
To be most effective, Dr. Stephen Covey, businessman and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, said that we need to “sharpen the saw.” The analogy refers to the fact that a sharp saw will cut better and more efficiently than a dull saw. The saw represents your abilities and your talents.
How sharp is your saw? If you are stressed and irritable, how effective are you with your patients, your peers or your family? If you feel like your interpersonal relationships are often grating and rough in nature rather than smooth and refreshing, than your saw is pretty dull.
Motivational speaker Brian Tracy said, "Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals and values are in balance."
Relaxation and Burnout
Relaxation is important to help you shift gears and access deeper levels of thinking. When you are constantly rushing around at school or work, after work, and at home, you will have a constant “fight or flight” stress response. The response can be energizing, and many nurses take on even more responsibility to continue to get this “high.”
But “fight or flight” is not conducive to deep meditative thinking, which is essential to finding your purpose, setting goals, and living in congruence with your purpose and goals.
Remember, even professional athletes have an off-season. This is time to regroup, recover, relax and prepare for next season. Many experts agree that a daily time of reflection is essential to living a stress-free and highly productive life. Daily reflection helps you to keep in balance.
Balancing the Stress in Your Life
Stress occurs when demands on you outweigh your resources. The unmanaged stress in your life can cause physical problems ranging from headaches and cardiovascular disease to memory problems and even substance abuse. Unmanaged stress leads to poor job performance, errors and injuries.
The greater the demands on your life, the greater the number of resources you need to balance the stress. Resources can be found in the relationships of friends and family, in the fellowship of a church group, or in the physical relaxation from exercising. Try some of the stress-busters below to help you balance the stress of the demands of your life:
- Take a 20-minute walk
- Soak in a warm bath
- Read a chapter in a novel
- Eat a salad
- Call an old friend
- Hug a child
- Practice slow controlled breathing for 30 seconds
- List five things that bring you joy.
Remember: "Balance in your life between work and your personal life is very important. Without balance, you eventually burn out, negatively affecting your performance at work." ~motivational writers Byron & Catherine Pulsifer