Finding Your Balance

This year’s National Nurses Week theme, Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit, reminds us of the importance of taking care of ourselves. All too often, nurses put other’s needs first, as that’s a natural extension of our traditional caregiver role. So, it’s good to be reminded of the importance of self-care and encouraged to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Maintaining Your Balance

Maintaining that balance involves planning, so we should be mindful when our efforts are going off track. It can also be helpful to get, and listen to, reminders from our friends, family or even our fitness trackers to take a breath, ‘chill out,’ and relax. Employers are beginning to recognize the importance of adding wellness offerings to their benefits package.

One example is that HIMSS offers its employees wellness reimbursement for expenses incurred up to $200 per year for participating in wellness and fitness programs. These include fitness memberships, smoking cessation and weight loss programs. Exercise and dance classes are also included, such as Pilates, yoga, Zumba, aerobic, step, line dancing, spinning, kickboxing and cardio. Sound like fun?

What’s even better is that you get paid to enjoy it. Take time during Nurses Week to ask your employer if they have considered such options to help ensure the health of their employees.

Balancing Your Activity List

So what do you do to keep your mind, body, and spirit in balance?  Does your list include physical activities such as walking, yoga, fitness classes, cycling, spinning, or running? Or, do you prefer sports like tennis, golf, swimming or volleyball? Or, maybe you simply enjoy focused downtime like listening to music, or audio books, doing crafts, reading on your Kindle, or watching your favorite shows on TV.

It might help you to achieve greater results by combining a few of these activities, such as listening to audiobooks or music while walking or exercising on the treadmill. There are numerous benefits of walking including reducing the risk of breast cancer and boosting immune function.

Investing in a Healthy You

Whatever your choice, make sure you invest in a healthy YOU. While it’s easy to let myriad tasks take over, balancing mind, body, and spirit will improve how you feel and enhance the quality of your work. Several recent studies demonstrate this very thing.

When a New Zealand study team asked 658 students to keep a daily diary of their state of mind and any creative pursuits they engage in, they noticed a connection between those two things. The day after engaging in a creative activity, the students reported a major increase in happiness. And a growing body of research shows that taking time off for rest, relaxation and extended vacations can actually boost productivity, job performance and health.

Knowing Your Strengths

Another contributing factor for maintaining balance comes from knowing if you are an extrovert or an introvert. Extroverts draw energy externally, or from being with others. They are prone to boredom when isolated by themselves. In contrast, introverts draw their energy from quiet reflection, and lose energy when interacting with large groups.

Knowing your strengths is important for understanding how to maintain balance. Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert is irrelevant. What matters is that you know which you are, and can act accordingly.

I hope that you’ll join me in taking time for self-reflection during Nurses Week so that we make wise choices to maintain, or better yet, improve the balance of our mind, body, and spirit!

Celebrate National Nurses Week with HIMSS and attend the two complimentary webinars.

Blog posts in the HIMSS National Nurses Week series:

The Artists of Healthcare
The Role of Nursing and Nursing Informatics in Population Health
Setting a Solid Foundation for Any Nursing Informatics Role

National Nurses Week