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The Key To Work-Life Balance and Its Impact On Nurse Mental Health

Work-life balance can be a challenging endeavour — especially for health professionals and frontline workers going through the pandemic. Professional burnout is a major global health concern among physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers, and the numbers are rising through the pandemic.

However, psychosocial stressors and not taking time to unwind can certainly have its consequences, both on a personal level and for your hospital as a whole. Learn more about the importance of work-life balance and its impact on wellbeing, plus tips for helping your frontline achieve better work-life balance at your organization.

The Key to Maintaining Work-Life Balance

Maintaining a positive work-life balance is one of the keys to preventing burnout and living a wholesome and meaningful life. According to a multipronged evidence-based approach, on key predictor to preventing burnout involves making health care providers aware that burnout is highly prevalent.  This alone can lead to less stigma around mental health issues with can lead to fewer health problems, more mindfulness, and better resilience. When employees have increased awareness, they’re able to maintain healthy work-life balance, and place their energy on positive areas of their life.

How A Lack of Work-Life Balance Impacts Health Care Professionals

On the other hand, when health practitioners don’t manage work-life balance and self-care, their physical and mental health is at risk. When employees feel burned-out or overwhelmed on the job, they’re at high risk of cognitive overload. Additionally, they’re at high risk of experiencing poor sleep quality, which impacts work-related stress, further challenging physical and mental fatigue, and poor health overall.

This is precisely why poor work-life balance has a negative impact on clinical performance, temperament, engagement and productivity. When health practitioners lack balance in their lives from lengthy shifts back-to-back, they’re at risk of having increased rates absenteeism and sick time. For example, according to the research by Gallup, burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day, 23% more likely to visit the emergency room, and even 2.6 times as likely to actively seek a different job.

Promoting Health Practitioners to Maintain Positive Healthy Balance

Don’t worry— several evidence-based strategies are out there to support your team of nurses to achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance, and reduce the risks of burnout. Here’s how:

1. Share Ways to Transition From Work Mode to Personal Mode

Health practitioners can wind-down quickly and effectively by engaging in a mindfulness exercise or quick meditation immediately after their shift. This can happen the minute one leaves the hospital by taking one deep breath or having a mini-meditation in the hospital chapel.  This shift creates that transition. You can also turn-on an audiobook on your way home or listen to The Satori Radio podcast. The idea is to be intentional about your transition out of work and plug-in to the spirit of who you are. The moment you leave the unit is your personal time.

2. Encourage Health Practitioners To Request A Shift In Schedule When They Need It

If your staff members are feeling burned out and overwhelmed, you need to get to the bottom of it. By doing so, you minimize the impact on the hospital,  the patients, and also to prevent avoidable turnover. If you’re a good healthcare leader, that routinely displays empathy, your nurses will feel comfortable approaching you about scheduling. In this case, you’re promoting both, self-management and self-regulation. By simply making schedule changes, you’re encouraging a tried and tested strategy for reducing burnout, when feeling overworked and overwhelmed.

3. Train Managers to Balance or Decrease Workload

Speaking of which, positive work-life balance often starts with managers. In podcast episode 54, the key to an effective retention strategy is to provide a wide-range of opportunities for staff to improve work-life balance. Health administrator, Emily Morris, discusses one key strategy her hospital implemented: the “pathway to excellence”. This  hospital program gave nurses a voice in organizational initiatives such as work–life balance, staffing and scheduling. Managers are key to retaining employees by enabling their staff balance or decrease workload on their own.

4. Advertise the Importance of Naming Your Feelings

Name your feelings to create a culture of mindfulness and promote better work-life balance. To draw upon the practice of Dr Dan Siegel, MD: “name it to tame it”.  Such as practice has supportive functional MRI research to show a shift in brain activity from the amygdala (the emotional center of the brain), to the prefrontal cortex (executor of the brain). By creating a culture of mindfulness, self-awareness and “putting feelings into words”, workplaces can help bring calm and ease to the busy world of chaos. Leaders should also lead by example by maintaining a positive work-life balance themselves. See links below on more articles on mindfulness and meditation.

5. Facilitate Open Dialogue About Mental Health

Much like the research discussed in the prior point on putting feelings into words, managers can also help to improve work-life balance by speaking openly about burnout, mindfulness, mental health and our negative thoughts around COVID-19. By facilitating open dialogue in the workplace,  you create an opportunity for applying some micro-practices. One such micro-practice mentioned in the article by to David Fessell, MD, and Cary Cherniss, PhD, is having a moment of mindfulness when applying hand sanitizer . By having open dialogue, you’re more likely to have a cultural of encouraging action when feeling mentally challenged.

 

Improving Work-Life Balance With The ProMind Experience

Work-life balance and nursing wellbeing go together. By arming your employees with the right mindset strategies and personal development solutions, you can facilitate the development of personal wellbeing and sustainable healthy habits.

Satori’s The ProMind Experience enables hospitals to help frontline nurses achieve work-life balance in 7 weeks or less.

  • The bonus training, Banish Burnout Bootcamp, offers tips and strategies to help with stress management
  • Our Team Approach helps staff to navigate their own personalized health journey through fitness and nutrition
  • Opportunities to build social connections with coworkers through the mindful clinician community
  • Seamlessly gamified platform offers a fun experience that hits the dopamine button
  • A fun and engaging closed community-based group to boost collaboration and enhance wellbeing

And so much more….Sound like a good fit? Request a demo to see for yourself how The ProMind Experience(TM) can help improve work-life balance at your hospital and organization.

Articles on Mindfulness

1. Baking and Cooking as Mindfulness Activities
2. The Benefits of Everyday Mindfulness
3. Your Own Happy Pill Through Mindfulness Coaching
4. How Meditation Helps for Stress-Management
5. Episode 33. 5 Interesting Facts On Meditation 
6. 4 Easy Steps To Build A Meditation Practice
7. Create Your Own Meditation Space – Episode 15 Satori Radio Podcast

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