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5 Ways to Create Balance in Nursing School

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Do you find it hard to keep up with the challenges of nursing school?

Stay ahead of burnout and (attempt to) maintain your sanity among the stress of nursing school in a pandemic.

5 Ways to Create Balance in Nursing School

If you are finding it challenging to keep up with all the demands and responsibilities of your life amidst the madness of nursing school, you are not alone.

Nursing students are known for their lack of extra time outside of school. If it is your first year in nursing school, you may be struggling with the notorious nursing student stress that everybody talks about. On top of the normal stress of nursing school, you are attempting to earn a degree during the pandemic. 

All of you reading this article are likely motivated to succeed, firstly because you took the time to seek out advice, and secondly, because your hard work will earn you a license for a profession you are passionate about. However, sometimes that focus on success can cause you to neglect the other responsibilities in your life. That motivation and drive can easily wane down when you are not taking the time to sit back, care for yourself, and refill your metaphorical cup.

While our degree tends to take priority, it would benefit nursing students to create a balance between schoolwork and other social, work, and emotional responsibilities. Here are five effective tips to maintain some calm and balance in your life, despite the perpetual stress of nursing school:

TIP 1 Have a workout routine.

There are undeniable benefits to regular exercise, including decreased stress levels, improved focus, and higher energy levels. As future nurses, you are expected to be healthy role models, which includes having an active lifestyle. To get started, set a low expectation for yourself, such as five minutes of walking and stretching. If that is too much, do just one minute of your favorite exercise. You could even dance around in your room to your favorite song to get your heart pumping. Whatever you can do to get your body moving on a regular basis will be worth the benefits to your mental and physical health.

TIP 2 Utilize a planner. 

A planner to keep all of your tasks and assignments in order is essential for nursing students. Many students find it helpful to use an online calendar to input all of your assignments and due dates at the beginning of the semester. That way, you can visualize when everything is due. Then, one day a week or every night, sit down at the end of the day and plan out your tasks for the next week or day. Particularly for exams, planning exactly what you will study and on which day helps to reduce stress and procrastination.

TIP 3 Create time to do what you enjoy.

When you’re not studying, utilize the time you do have to do something that satisfies you and fills your emotional cup. Watching TV, scrolling through Tiktok or Instagram, or watching movies can be great at times to unwind. However, sometimes these activities can leave you feeling lazier and unwilling to return to your work. Instead make time to do a mind-stimulating yet relaxing activity you like to do (such as reading, listening to music, dancing around, going to a favorite coffee shop). If you struggle to stop thinking about school even when you’re not studying, schedule time in your planner specifically for enjoyable activities. This will equip your brain to switch into relaxation mode and hopefully stop worrying about school.

TIP 4 Take study breaks.

Sometimes amongst long study sessions, you can feel suddenly burnt out and overwhelmed, despite knowing you need to keep studying. When this happens, give yourself permission to take a brief break to reset your mind. A little bit of self-compassion can go a long way in giving you the strength to keep going. Shift your perspective by doing something active for five minutes, such as playing with a pet, calling a friend, or taking a quick walk. Set the intention that for those five minutes, you will shift your perspective in order to be willing to study. When you do resume studying again, you will feel refreshed and ready to go. (Pro tip: keep a running list of the activities that successfully boost your mood so that when exhaustion happens again, you know exactly what to do). If that doesn’t work, don’t be too hard on yourself. It is OK to take a break for the rest of the night in order to restore your energy for the next day.

TIP 5 The most important: create your own plan. 

You can read hundreds of articles filled with good advice, but it will only work if you actually put those tips into action. A quick way to get yourself started on the right track is to come up with some strategies yourself. Stop what you are doing and for the next 10 minutes, think about (or better yet, write down) your own list of strategies that help you maintain your cool in nursing school. If you’re having trouble, you could start by going down each point in this list and reflecting: “Do I already do this?”. If you do, “does it work for me?”, and if you don’t, “could this be something I could benefit from?”. Hopefully, this will get the cogs turning so you can immediately start implementing balance into your life as a nursing student.

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Julie

Specializes in Sm Bus Management, Operations, Planning, HR. Has 38 years experience.

On 10/28/2020 at 7:59 AM, freckledfinny said:

The most important: create your own plan. 

You can read hundreds of articles filled with good advice, but it will only work if you actually put those tips into action. A quick way to get yourself started on the right track is to come up with some strategies yourself. Stop what you are doing and for the next 10 minutes, think about (or better yet, write down) your own list of strategies that help you maintain your cool in nursing school. If you’re having trouble, you could start by going down each point in this list and reflecting: “Do I already do this?”. If you do, “does it work for me?”, and if you don’t, “could this be something I could benefit from?”. Hopefully, this will get the cogs turning so you can immediately start implementing balance into your life as a nursing student.

Love this advice, it must be said, because it is so important....  

What works for some might not work for you.  It is up to you, to assess what is and is not working, then focus on what works FOR YOU.  It can be difficult to look at this realistically and not just optimistically.

Thanks @freckledfinny for sharing great advice!

Thank you for your response Julie! Honestly as I was writing this I realized, the only reason any of these things work for me is just that.. they just happen to work for me. Everyone needs to come up with their own way to do things, the hardest part is just getting started!