Balancing NP School While Working As An RN

Many people struggle with achieving that elusive work-life balance. Whether you’re in school or working or both, it can be difficult to balance all the different things we have going on. Even if you’re one of the lucky ones who can focus mainly on school, you will still have errands, friends, family, exercise and other things to balance. Other people have to work part-time and take care of a house and maybe even kids. Long commutes to and from work and school can add a lot of pressure.

It can take a lot of time to figure out the tips and tricks that work for you. While some people manage to learn this stuff in high school, others only start to struggle at college or even after, when they start working full-time. Learning from others’ experiences can give us ideas on how to get it all in order.

In this video, I share my experience in finding that work-life-school balance. I wanted to use this post as an opportunity to go more in-depth into several of these tips and offer a few more.

Focus on the important stuff. Make a list of things that are important to you. Then, make another list of the things you spend the most time on. Be honest when making these lists, and then later on when we compare them. Many of us find that we can spend more time on things that we don’t really find important – say, binge-watching a TV show – rather than spending more time with our family. Look at the things you find important that you haven’t been able to find time for, and use them as an incentive for being more efficient with the things you have to do, like school tasks. We often find that we can do in an hour what usually takes us three when we are really motivated and focused.

Make your calendar your best friend. I use my phone calendar, a wall calendar, and a planner, just to make sure I am always on task. My schedule isn’t so flexible as I have to be at school at certain times as well as work shifts. So when I want to plan anything extra, there are only certain slots I can use. Having a calendar nearby makes it easier to plan things. Get used to using it and it will save you.

Schedule your leisure time. I personally like knowing I can watch NFL games on Sundays to relax. You can plan a weekly catch-up date with your best friend or even times to take a walk by yourself. Knowing you have time to have fun will help you be less stressed, rather than trying to scramble for ideas on what to do when you find yourself having free time. Making plans to relax in advance may seem counter-intuitive, but there’s nothing fun in calling friend after friend to see who is free at the last minute.

Be efficient. I work double shifts. This way, two days of work end up being the same as three days and I feel that I’m being more efficient with my time. I don’t have to go back and forth and I don’t have so much “dead” time. You can bunch up errands as well. If you know you need to buy something at a store and your friend lives nearby, try to schedule those things together to not have to make separate trips. Don’t underestimate the time you spend on commuting when you are considering your day. You can also use your commute time to multi-task. If you take the train, you might be able to read some papers for school. If you have to drive, you might be able to use that time to listen to a podcast or audiobook.

Make sure to do things to reduce stress in your life. I started playing guitar and I find it stress-reducing. Maybe music isn’t your thing, but some other form of creative expression might be – it could be journaling, writing fiction, drawing, scrapbooking, gardening, woodworking… The options are endless. Getting enough sleep, movement/exercise, and proper nutrition is crucial. While it’s tempting to live on instant meals when we’re busy and stressed, our body needs healthy food to regulate our body’s stress hormones. Take the time to cut up some fresh vegetables. Your body will thank you.

It may take some time to find the best way for you, but just keep steady in building your routine and the habits that help you get everything in order. Remember, it’s not just about how much you do or how organized your house is – you have to make sure to take care of your body and mind. When you do that, other things will fall into place.

How Can Adversity Lead To Success?

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Is there anything behind that sentence, or is it just something that we like to say? Our society loves stories of people who overcame difficult childhoods or big challenges and managed to find success. Are they rare occasions trouted out to make us feel good, or can we really use challenges, adversity, and failures to our benefit?

In my own life, I’ve felt that some of my earlier struggles have led to success later on. In my video, I mention how difficulty in school as a child led me to be able to be more successful in school when I grew older. I was born in Ghana and moved to Norway at an early age. After only several years there, we moved to the USA. Obviously, the language was an issue for me early on in school. I also had problems with my eyesight, and I was almost held back in school. In the video, I talk about how these struggles led me to become a better student in middle school. I continued on to college – and then grad school – even though some of my high school teachers made it known they didn’t believe in me. Wanting to prove to myself that I could be successful in school was a much stronger motivator than if I had just gone off to college because I felt I was expected to.

Motivation is everything, and I became interested in understanding just how I used my challenges to motive myself and push myself to succeed more. I hope that in this way, other people can use their own challenges to their advantage.

So, what are the ways that adversity can lead to success?

One way that adversity can help you is by making you more willing to try new things. In my case, I felt that I had already seen what “failure” looked like – so anything new I would try could be an improvement to my current situation, no matter how hard it seemed. When you’re struggling, you become open to ideas and solutions you wouldn’t have considered before.

When we come across challenges, we develop different and better ways to deal with similar challenges in the future. Having a big fight early on with someone you’re dating can be daunting and make you doubt the whole relationship. It can also be an incredible tool for understanding each other on a deeper level. Knowing what each person’s triggers are, how they are used to solving conflicts, and how they need to be supported will help you in the future when inevitable stresses come up.

Adversity also causes us to re-evaluate everything in our lives. For example, when we lose our jobs, not only have things been shaken up – we also have more time and more reason to ask ourselves a lot of questions. Was I happy with that job? Is this the field I want to continue in? Where can I experience more growth? Is there anything that I would like to change? This shaking up can lead you to find more success than if the challenge hadn’t popped up to begin with. Staying in the same job might have been easier, but perhaps the new job holds a lot more potential. While you look for a new job, you might be inspired to finally set up the business you’ve been dreaming of or starting to write a book.

A major way adversity makes us stronger is by reaffirming our confidence in our ability to handle anything. When we feel that we can’t do something, we can look back to a challenging time we thought we wouldn’t be able to handle – and remind ourselves that we did. This is why armies start off by forcing new recruits to go through a long, grueling march with lots of weight on their backs. Every new recruit feels they won’t be able to finish – and when they finally do, they understand that they probably could have done even more. Setbacks in life are unavoidable. Getting the major ones “out of the way” early on can make the next ones seem smaller and more tolerable by comparison.

Adversity can also kill bad habits. You’ve probably heard of addicts talking about their “rock bottom” that made them understand they need to give up the alcohol or other drugs, but it doesn’t have to be so extreme. Getting dumped can force you to get over your passive-aggressive way of communicating. Losing money can lead to cutting back on unnecessary shopping or even a cigarette habit. These are things that were never healthy but still could have slipped by unnoticed.

In many cases, you will look back on past challenges an be grateful to have had them. The lessons learned are so invaluable that we wouldn’t change the pain for anything. It can be difficult to remember when we’re in the midst of the crisis and we doubt if we can go on. I hope I was able to remind you.

How To Improve Your Work-Life Balance As A Nursing Professional?

As with many other care professionals – such as social workers, doctors, psychologists, and counselors – nurses have a high risk of burnout and “compassion fatigue”. Compassion fatigue and burnout are not about the amount of work you do – how many hours you are actually at your job – but the type of work. These professions, that require emotional presence, compassion, and empathy – can be as draining as they are rewarding. With nursing, the hours are long, the work can physically demanding, and you come across difficult situations and people who you cannot always help. It’s a beautiful job, but it’s not an easy one.Read More

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