‘Tis the season. While we usher in the most wonderful time of the year, the holiday blues make it difficult for some people to enjoy the festive season. Typically, this time of year is also associated with higher stress, anxiety, and depression due to various factors, including balancing the pressures of the season, such as gifting and hosting, while you’re working.
With the holidays around the corner, now is the time to think about how you can have a better nursing work-life balance. In this blog post, we’ll share our top tips on making the most of this time, even if you’re scheduled to work during the holidays—when friends and family are on vacation.
Find Out Your Schedule
First things first: You must find out if you’re scheduled to work over the holidays so that you can plan accordingly. If you have a preference when it comes to your holiday schedule, inform your manager. If your workplace is flexible and allows you to trade shifts with colleagues, get a headstart before the holidays by offering to pick up extra nursing shifts so you can take some time off when it’s ideal for you.
Plan Accordingly—And Start Celebrations Early
Once you know what your work schedule will look like closer to the holidays, you can plan accordingly. If you plan to travel or host out-of-town guests, this is key.
Some holiday celebrations start early. Most nurses will be working in late December, when many celebrations take place, including Hanukkah, Christmas Day, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve, so plan to kick off your holidays earlier in the month with a dinner party or any other significant event.
Nurses Working during the Holidays: Find Activities that Energize You
If you don’t have as much time off during the holidays as you’d like (it never quite feels like enough), it’s essential to be strategic about how you spend your time. Focus on activities that replenish you. What gives you energy? Whether it’s watercolor painting, meditation, or reading, set some time aside. The holidays often come with pressure to socialize, but there is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself, especially if you’re introverted and feel depleted after spending time with others.
Importance of Work-Life Balance in Nursing
Working in healthcare can be challenging and demanding—and some nurses experience burnout due to workplace stress. If you feel you’re on the edge of burning out, here are Nursa’s top tips on how to de-stress and avoid burnout for nurses.
Stress can impact your mental and physical stress, with research showing that stress negatively impacts overall health. Studies show that stress can cause structural changes to different parts of the brain, with chronic stress leading to atrophy of the brain (a loss of neurons and the connections between them causing decreased brain function). In addition, research shows that stress negatively impacts your memory, cognitive function, immune system, cardiovascular system, and many other functions.
Work-life balance is key to supporting your health and making you feel happier, as you’re likely to have time for hobbies, activities, relationships, and other elements that can support you in building a well-rounded and meaningful life.
Do Nurses Have a Good Work-Life Balance?
Working as a nurse is typically demanding yet rewarding. Your work-life balance will vary greatly depending on the setting you’re working in and your nursing specialty. If you’re working regular 8-hour nursing jobs as a call center nurse or in a private clinic such as a medical spa, you’re likely to have a better work-life balance.
On the other hand, if you’re working in a hospital, while you’ll have a regular schedule, you may be required to be on-call. In addition, if you’re working night shifts, you’ll need to adjust your habits and social life to feel more balanced.
For nurses looking to improve their work-life balance during the holidays and beyond, check out Nursa’s guides on balancing family and a nursing career and balancing work and parenthood as a busy PRN nurse.
Do Nurses Get Holidays Off?
Typically, every nurse has to work some holidays. Having to wear your scrubs and head to work while your family and friends gather isn’t the best feeling, but your work is essential to keeping hospitals and medical centers running 24/7, and we appreciate that at Nursa.
Having holidays off depends significantly on your specialty and work setting. While an emergency room (ER) nurse or an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse typically works the same hours over holidays as they regularly do, a dermatology nurse, for example, especially in a private clinic, may have the flexibility to spend the holidays off work. If you’re lucky enough to be a travel nurse or work PRN shifts, you can create your own schedule and choose not to work during the holidays.
Looking to achieve a better work-life balance so you can stay home over the holidays? Download Nursa’s nurse staffing app today to browse nearby opportunities that fit into your ideal work schedule.