The Balancing Point: Splitting Work and Home Lives in a Healthy Manner
As healthcare professionals, we want to have it all. We want to be recognized for our great ideas and quality work. At the same time, we want to be loving, engaged parents or partners. But our work and home selves often conflict, when both seem to struggle for our full attention at every turn. It’s a modern dynamic that can be stressful, especially when combined with school, hobbies, friends, and many other responsibilities that take valuable time.
But the real trouble starts when our priorities aren’t clear. To find a healthy balance between our work and home lives, clear goals are important, and making sure that we’re spending our time in a way that aligns with those goals is even more so. It’s a unique, complex equation of emotion and facts, and a little self-assessment can go a long way in achieving balance.
Identify priorities and set clear goals
What’s important to you?
If you’re a parent, your top priorities probably include your kids, and that’s unlikely to change. Priorities are usually here to stay, like a spouse or family, commitment to a cause, or creating a desirable home environment. All of these things are ongoing goals that affect other decisions. If your priority is providing your kids with the best possible education, other choices, like the neighborhood you live in and perhaps even your career, are built to support that larger goal. Goals are the means to achieve your priorities.
You can only get that warm, happy feeling from checking to-dos off your list if your goals are specific and actionable. To achieve this, many experts recommend the SMART method:
- Attainable by you
- Relevant to your priorities
If your goals align with your larger priorities, it’s easier to feel more balanced, even when you’re not directly working on a priority. For many of our students, this means taking time away from family and spending it on schoolwork. The priority may be financial stability, or perhaps providing resources for your family, and the goal for achieving that requires a temporary sacrifice of time. It’s important to keep your priorities in mind if you want to stay motivated during tough times.
Related resource: These Are Time Management Skills Every New Nurse Needs
Remember that equation of emotion and facts? That happy place of work and home life is unique to each of us. A little self-reflection is helpful to find the life balance that works for you. A few questions to consider:
- Are work and home/family life equally important in general?
- Do you feel happy in both areas of life, or does one require more attention?
- What kinds of sacrifices are you willing to make to achieve a goal?
- What are you not willing to compromise?
- How much unstructured “me time” do you need?
- Do you recharge in social settings or alone?
For example, you want to take a family vacation that requires you to work long extra hours. It’s a bummer, and it’s understandable that you might feel resentful about having to work so much! It might be worth it to you … or it might not. Good self-awareness helps identify optimum, a unique balance for happiness at work and at home.
Related resource: Nurses Who Are Moms Should Consider These Careers
It’s said that change is one of the few absolutes in life. That can be a scary idea, but it’s also a good reminder during tough times that change can be your friend. School won’t last forever. A drawn-out illness, a troublesome move, a child in a difficult phase: These are hard issues, but they’re usually temporary. So your equation might shift as you spend extra time taking care of a responsibility, but change always comes around again.
Change can put us in new situations that are outside our comfort zone. It’s uncomfortable, but change can also be an opportunity to grow. Many people describe finding new skills, new friends, and new ideas when they’re thrown into a challenging situations. You might find balance — or at least a new part of that unique equation — where you least expect it.
If your goal is a change of career, the healthcare industry is full of opportunity. Consider nursing, occupational therapy assisting, or one of our career tracks designed for people who are already working or have families and full lives. It may help create the balance you’re looking for!
If you have any questions about Ameritech, please feel free to contact us. As always, we’d love to hear from you!