Helping Nurses "Live Smarter Not Harder" by Balancing the Mind, Body, Soul and Spirit

Excited Young Female DoctorWe are taught as children that we should not be self-absorbed. As nurses, we generally have an exaggerated sense of just the opposite. Nursing is the profession that encompasses patience, compassion, empathy and caring. We are judged by how these characteristics show up in our actions to our patients and each other. How often have you heard a patient or another nurse say, “Oh! She’s such a good nurse!” It’s usually when a nurse is exhibiting one or more of these qualities. If we as nurses believe these are good qualities to exhibit, why don’t we model them for ourselves?

As nurses, we came to this profession because we felt we have something to give to others. We want to help people live to their fullest potential. For example, we help our patients live to their fullest potential by helping them manage their health. As nurses, we live our highest potential by doing the work we do. But what about us as individuals? I can’t tell you how often I’ve had conversations with colleagues that end with, “I don’t have work life balance or time for myself.” Yet we take extra time we have and give it to other people.

This self-deprivation philosophy has to stop! Why are nurses burnt out? Because we are trying to give what we don’t have! We need to show ourselves patience, compassion, empathy, and kindness. Making yourself a priority is essential to preventing burnout. Here are three basic strategies for getting your whole life balanced.

1. Take inventory of what you are doing with your time. Are you running to and fro with increasing job requirements, deadlines, children’s activities and family obligations? STOP ! Take a moment and just list them on a piece of paper. Reflect on what you do over one week’s time. What do you see?

2. Begin introducing yourself to yourself! Write down the things you like to do (You may have to think back before children or the job). Write those things down, no matter how small they might be.

3. Begin the reconciliation. In order for us to be our best and be complete, we must reconcile our mind, body, soul and spirit. Just like we reconcile medications, we need to match up our total being with life’s demands. Take a look at list #1 acknowledging all of the things you do for others. Then eliminate a task entirely, share the responsibility of it, or delegate it to someone else (possibly the person you are doing it for). Next, begin to transition one thing you enjoy from list #2 into your life on a regular basis. Continue this process until you achieve balance.

Patients look to nurses as their advocates. As nursing leaders, your staff looks to you for guidance and care. Your families look to you as a resource for everything that goes on in their lives. If you REALLY care about them, you absolutely must put yourself first. You will be able to improve patient care by improving your self-care. You will improve the quality of your life if you take the time to advocate and care for yourself. YOU ARE WORTH IT!

For more tips on how to put yourself first contact Naomi for a free consultation and download “Living the Legacy of Leadership Day by Day”.

About Naomi

Naomi is a Registered Nurse, Certified Life Coach and Motivational Speaker. She is owner and CEO of Consults Unlimited Inc., a Professional Life Coaching company. She is known as the Life Coach RN. As a Life Coach she specializes in helping nursing leadership “Live and Work Smarter not Harder!” With over 30 years of nursing experience, she has been in management for over 19 years. For more information about coaching with Naomi, visit

Comments on: "It’s all about you! But it’s not about you!" (4)

  1. Very good advice, Naomi! Nursing seems to attract people who are better at giving to others than to themselves. I have certainly been “guilty” of that myself! But I heard something once that sort of stopped me in my tracks: People who put other people’s needs above their own ALL the time are often doing so because of how it makes them feel.

    So, I took a look at myself and realized that putting myself second (or third or fourth, LOL) was sometimes more self-ish than self-less. I was getting a charge out of feeling indispensable…and that made it all about me rather than the other person.

    Keeping this knowledge in mind has helped me “reconcile” and gain balance in both my personal and professional lives. I ask myself, “Am I really the only person who can do this task?” The answer is rarely yes! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your comments Linda! You hit the nail on the head! I love your insight that you were doing things for reasons that created imbalance instead of balance. We would all like to feel as though we are indispensable and I believe that may be a common theme for many. The hard truth is that we are not indispensable. And as you said it leads to imbalance. I’m so glad you found your way! Thank you so much for sharing.

      • Dear Linda,

        How right you are when you say it is not selfless, it is that you were feeling a false indispensably of yourself. I have done this many times, saying to myself:” if you want it to be done right, do it yourself” or ” I am better off doing it myself than get the hassle of others complaining on tasks assigned to them, or colleagues that you asking them for their help, but they rather keep their hands in their packets. I recently realized that leaving it all for me to do, or doing it for others was putting so much stress on me, that I ended up with Bronchitis, and Esophagitis in the hospital. We are all dispensable, as Naomi keeps saying show ourselves the things we give to others: empathy, care , consideration, and acknowledgement. I have a very smart friend at work 🙂 and she said to me one day:” you think your nurse is appreciating, and recognizing how great you are to her, because you spend 4 hours again educating her, and showing her what to do?, you will be recognize when you tell her:” what do you think you should do?, where do you think you can find the answer?”. Acknowledgment of her ability as an adult and a professional that she can do it, and can find her own answers goes a long way. I was asked lately, so how is it going with her?, I said? who? ohhhh she goes researching the answers. 🙂 I have EMPOWERED HER. ( LOL Even if she does not know I have done so!!).

        Work life Balance is our own responsibility, we ALLOW others to take it from us. Just like we make time for others, work, family. IT IS “ME” TIME, that we must have. As Naomi said: take that break, say NO to the kids it is ME TIME!!. I am allowed.

  2. Thanks Leah, for your comment. Work-life balance is a phrase we throw around these days and many jobs promise us that while they pile on the work! Work-life balance begins when you show yourself that it is important to you. Taking time for yourself, creating space for your own reflection and rejuvenation is the place to begin true work-life balance.

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