Remote nursing jobs aren’t a built-in solution for achieving work-life balance, unfortunately.
Some nurses might even struggle with work-life balance more when working a remote nursing job, as striking a balance between enjoying life and excelling in your career is a unique experience for everyone.
For Tara Ryan Kosmas, MSN, RN, NC-BC, CHSE, SOAR, the executive director of Debriefing the Front Lines, work-life balance means having a slower morning, flexibility, and time freedom. “After 17 years of chaotic mornings fueled by hustle culture, work-life balance means having the space to remain healthy and well”, says Kosmas.
Barriers to Work-Life Balance
Barriers to creating a work-life balance are plentiful, and Kosmas lists seven possible roadblocks that nurses might encounter that prevent them from having a healthy balance.
Which one is your biggest enemy?
1. Hustle Culture and Societal Pressure
Your family, friends, or the media you consume may propagate a narrative that working hard and making money is the only key to happiness.
2. Desire for Success
Your idea of success may come from extrinsic factors, like getting a promotion. Ignoring intrinsic success and self-worth may make life feel off balance.
3. Unrealistic Expectations from Leadership
Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable. If you work in a salaried position, you may feel pressure or an expectation to always be available or do tasks outside your job description to impress your leaders or meet the status quo.
Inflation outpacing wages can make it challenging to maintain your lifestyle with the same amount of work hours or the same job position. Not being able to afford your lifestyle may pressure you into working more hours or taking on a side hustle to make ends meet.
Some personality types are more prone to perfectionism. You might feel unsettled if all your work isn’t completed or you haven’t checked everything off your list at the end of the day.
6. People Pleasing
Similar to perfectionism, your value comes from what others think about you. You might be afraid to leave any tasks unfinished or look like you aren’t working as hard as you should. Your fear of criticism may paralyze you from asking for help, causing you to work longer hours.
7. Previous Trauma
Trauma can impact all aspects of your life, including your ability to focus at work or unwind after work. Trauma can also warp your sense of self-worth in your personal life or career.
Overcoming Hurdles to Work-Life Balance
The most significant barriers often are the mind and nervous system, Kosmas says. “Mindful movements, routine, and ritual are not the norms. It takes time, patience, commitment, and often support from outside sources, such as a therapist or coach, to unlearn what many of us have known for years.”
Kosmas analyzes that many of these barriers may be related to trauma responses that are deeply ingrained in us. It may take work to undo the damage to self-confidence or self-worth to overcome obstacles that prevent you from achieving a work-life balance.
Achieving a Work-Life Balance With A Remote Nursing Job
Remote work comes with unique challenges to work-life balance.
For one, a remote nursing job may make work and home life blend. Without a commute to separate these two entities, you may feel like you can never escape the stress of your job duties.
One way to combat this is by having a separate space for work that you avoid outside of work hours.
Another idea is to create a commute or disconnection ritual. This could be as simple as being mentally present when you log out of your phone and computer or something more drastic like changing into exercise clothes and heading out for a walk or the gym.
You may find it helps to create a to-do list for the next day so you don’t spend your mental energy thinking about what is left on your checklist during your precious evening hours.
Where to Seek Support
There are many resources available for nurses struggling with burnout or with maintaining a work-life balance. This is a popular struggle amongst nurses, so you aren’t alone.
Debriefing the Front Lines
Debriefing the Front Lines is a nurse-led nonprofit organization that offers support for nurses. This includes:
- Emotional wellness offerings
- Nervous system regulation tools
- Monthly continuing education workshops
To help you begin a ritual, Debriefing the Front Lines is gifting you a one-year subscription to the Daily Communication Initiative.
Don’t Clock Out
Don’t Clock Out is another nurse-founded non-profit that offers weekly support groups every Thursday at 7 pm EST. Don’t Clock Out also has a podcast that explores the challenges of maintaining mental health while working in healthcare.
Personal Therapy or Coaching
If you have the means to, you may seek a personal therapist or a nurse burnout coach, depending on your medical history and concerns. This type of support can help you create individualized systems to help you achieve work-life balance in your remote nursing job and become self-aware of what might impede your ability to do so.
Creating work-life balance is a journey, not a destination. It takes consistent changes and tweaks to your routine to find what works. Life will always be challenging. Be kind to yourself as you find what routines enrich you.
For more tips on succeeding in a remote nursing job, check out the Nurse Fern blog.