Working while studying is no easy feat to accomplish, especially when you’re in the field of healthcare. If you’re a nurse looking to climb the career ladder, you may want to look into higher education. An advanced degree is a foolproof way to advance your nursing career. But can you manage academic responsibilities while working full-time?
Working while studying is beneficial since it offers experiential learning, enabling you to leverage concepts learned in the classroom in real-world scenarios. This way, you can experience your theoretical knowledge in a real work setting and remain abreast of changing trends and practices. Similarly, you also gain the necessary skills crucial to career development and excellence.
While juggling work and studies has its fair share of advantages, it can also drain you to exhaustion. Taking time out to care for yourself is important so you don’t collapse into exhaustion or burnout.
Here are a few self-care tips you can follow if you’re working while studying.
1: Find Flexibility
Following two fixed schedules can be extremely challenging. It gives no room for small breaks in between, which are essential to keep up with your health.
For this reason, consider enrolling in online programs to manage work and studies effectively. For instance, if you’re a nurse, pursuing online programs, such as BSN online programs, offers the flexibility and convenience to balance work commitments and academic pursuits. Such online programs prove highly effective for nurses since they’re easy to manage and impart the essential skills needed to land higher roles in healthcare.
2: Stick to a schedule
A schedule helps you stay on track during busy days. Keep yourself disciplined enough to follow the schedule even when you don’t want to.
Include every minor detail in your schedule, from study hours to small breaks. Use a calendar or a planner to create a schedule that works best with your working hours. Incorporate enough study time to keep up with your curriculum, but not too much that drains you mentally.
3: Set goals
Following the same schedule every day feels mundane. Since you might feel demotivated on certain days, it is important to set goals. Set definite goals for small accomplishments, such as finishing a chapter, learning a new skill, completing an assignment, etc.
While you are setting goals for yourself, ensure they’re realistic. Nothing is more demotivating than setting an impossible goal and failing to achieve it on your first try. As a practicing nurse, you already have a lot on your plate.
4: Prioritize sleep
With a full-time job at a healthcare facility and an advanced degree, you may find yourself awake late at night. This habit may give you the illusion of accomplishing more tasks in one day, but it severely compromises your health.
Nursing is a challenging profession that exhausts you physically as well as mentally. Getting adequate sleep is important to recharge yourself for another busy day. Train yourself to take power naps whenever you find the time. Most importantly, get a good night’s sleep every night. Schedule your day-to-day tasks strategically so they don’t compromise your sleep patterns.
5: Spare some time for your hobbies
Anything you do in your free time that offers joy is considered a hobby. When working in a challenging field like nursing, you must indulge in activities to destress and unwind. Be it something adventurous like hiking and biking or something as simple as reading a good book or painting.
When juggling work and studies together, you may find it hard to spare some time for your hobbies. Usually, your schedule is already full of work hours and study time. Even so, make time for hobbies at least once a week. Keep your mind fresh and stay tethered to your personal life while working and studying full-time.
6: Have an active social circle
Regardless of our occupation, we constantly need social support from like-minded individuals.
Having a social circle does not mean having a huge group of friends you spend time with. Your social circle can include family members and one or two friends you can turn to in need.
Take time out to hang out with your friends whenever you feel stressed. Indulge in group activities like board games or a day out. You’ll notice a significant difference in your emotional state.
7: Keep your diet healthy
A healthy diet is vital to remain fit and motivated. Finding comfort in junk food has long-lasting side effects, from physical to emotional.
When you’re juggling work and studies, you have a limited time set aside to get food. Take advantage of that time to eat healthily. Have a big healthy breakfast before work. Munch on fruits and nuts as snacks during study time. Drink at least eight glasses of water and incorporate fresh juices into your diet for instant energy. While caffeine helps you to overcome laziness, too much of it can make you jittery.
8: Work out regularly
Working out does not necessarily mean joining a gym for some heavy exercise. Exercise can be as simple as running in a park, stretching, or engaging in a sport.
Keeping yourself physically fit means less fatigue. When you do not get tired too soon, you can accomplish more daily tasks without exhausting yourself. Setting an hour aside for your daily workout routine can have positive, long-lasting effects on your physical and mental health.
9: Do not waste your vacation days
Organizations and universities have a set number of leaves and vacation days, so take advantage of them.
Plan a relaxing vacation to unwind and have fun. Plan it for after a major part of your job and degree is complete, like after exams or a busy spell in the hospital. It can be an adventure like camping or something as simple as a spa day.
Juggling work with studies can be exhausting, especially for healthcare professionals like nurses. Without proper self-care strategies, it can derail your work and lead to burnout. Make the most of your academic and professional responsibilities by organizing yourself and staying disciplined. Do not forget to look after yourself during the process. Look for alternatives, such as pursuing online degrees, since they’re more manageable and flexible.