Let’s face it. The daily life of a NNP is far from easy. In fact, it can be grueling sometimes. You face long shifts, demanding patients and physicians, administrative work, emotional labor…the list goes on.

If you don’t take care of yourself — find the proper work/life balance — you’re at high risk for burnout, plus poor physical and mental health.

So how do you do it? How do you strike the perfect balance between your very important career and the rest of your life?

Here are some strategies that NNPs can use to balance work and life:

1. Make time for friends, family, and passions

The stress and demands of your job can keep you isolated and lonely. That’s why it’s crucial that, when you’re not at work, you connect with loved ones, take time to pamper yourself, and engage in activities and hobbies that you feel passionate about.

When we participate in leisure activities, our lives become more enhanced and spiritually balanced.

2. Maintain a healthy diet

You’d be amazed just how positively a healthy diet can affect your mood, your energy, and outlook. You know the drill: eat less sugar, more protein and fiber.

It’s difficult sometimes to stay on track sometimes, particularly with the demands of your crazy schedule, especially with the cafeteria, snack machines, all tempting you with high-sugar snacks and fast food.

But remember how much better you’ll feel with that spring in your step when you take the time and make the effort to eat healthy foods. You know you can do it: make a commitment to shop for, and prepare healthy meals and snacks to bring to work.

3. Keep energized with education

Want a boost in confidence? Keeping up with the latest trends and best practices in neonatology will improve your performance and increase your self-esteem. Find a mentor, take relevant classes, attend conferences and join industry associations— you’ll stay on top of your game and feel good about it, too.

4. Practice self-reflection and evaluation

It’s important to check in with yourself from time to time and adjust your compass: evaluate where you are and how well you are tracking to your own goals, desires, likes, wants, and needs. When you don’t know who you are and what you want, it’s difficult to achieve balance. When you assess and reevaluate yourself, you’re better able to readjust the demands of work and home as much as possible.

5. Curtail compassion fatigue

You wouldn’t be an NNP if you weren’t a compassionate person. However, compassion fatigue can negatively affect all aspects of your life and the quality of care you provide. Seek help as soon as you think you are starting down the path to compassion fatigue.

6. Stop trying to be perfect

Being all things to all people was utterly exhausting. Besides, perfection is not only impossible, it’s downright boring. Give yourself a break; be the best you can be without beating yourself up or stretching yourself too thin.

7. Get your sleep

Studies show that sleep is critical to keeping alert, focused and efficient. A foggy and sleep deprived NNP is memory-impaired and more prone to making mistakes. What’s more, sleep deprivation will affect your mood. Sleep deprivation can impact your quality of work and relationships, both at work and at home.

8. Re-evaluate your current position

Is the job you have now still a good fit? Sometimes improving job satisfaction and work-life balance can be as simple as re-adjusting your shift schedule. Other times, it’s not that simple — sometimes the position you’re in is no longer the right fit for where you’re at in life. We encourage all NNPs to re-evaluate their careers every 3-5 years, regardless of employment status, taking into consideration everything from salary to work-life balance. If you think you’re overdue for a “check-up” you can learn more here.

As an NNP, you’re more likely to take care of others than yourself. But that can easily backfire. Without a proper diet, enough sleep and fulfilling outside activities, your work/life balance is at serious risk. By following the strategies above, you’ll gain inner harmony and an improved sense of self.

What strategies are you using to keep life and work balanced? Feel free to leave your comments below!