5 Self Care Tips to Promote Work Life Balance


Practicing self care isn’t something taught early on, but rather, a skill acquired later in life. Learning to be kind to yourself is critical, especially for those with demanding occupations. It can be hard to know where to start but finding and maintaining success begins with taking care of yourself. Below are 5 recommended self care tips for recharging your mind, body, and spirit to establish a healthy work life balance.

“Nurses support patients to live life to the fullest, and they deserve the same privilege.” –American Nurses Association (ANA), Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation

5 Self Care Tips to Promote Work Life Balance


1. Don’t overextend yourself.


Saying no to certain engagements is not selfish or uncaring, it’s about preserving your well-being. Overcommitting yourself to others can lead to exhaustion, stress, and irritability. If your spare time is taken up with other commitments or catching up on work, your personal life may be suffering.

How to Tactfully Say No

  • Be firm and direct. Keep your response brief and to the point – leave no room for negotiation. It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “Thanks for inviting me. Unfortunately, I am committed elsewhere that evening. When is the next event?”
  • Don’t feel guilty. People usually will understand. Just be mindful of the other person by providing a timely response, so that they can plan accordingly.
  • Stay honest. Don’t lie to others. Be clear to yourself about what you want personally and professionally. Ask yourself, “Does this align with my goals? Will this help others or benefit my work?”

2. Schedule time for yourself to unwind before or after work.


As nurse leaders, so much of your time is spent caring for others, but when was the last time you did something just for yourself? Moments alone are crucial for self-reflection, rejuvenation, and growth. Take a long walk, a hot bath, set your intentions for the day, read, meditate, listen to your favorite podcast, indulge in coffee on the porch, practice deep breathing, get a massage, pedicure, or acupuncture treatment. Taking time for self care is imperative to overall health and productivity. Look for small ways you can incorporate it into everyday life. The better you feel, the more you’ll have to give to others.

“To be self-compassionate is not to be self-indulgent or self-centered. A major component of self-compassion is to be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with love, care, dignity and make your well-being a priority. With self-compassion, we still hold ourselves accountable professionally and personally, but there are no toxic emotions inflicted upon and towards ourselves.” —Christopher Dines

Are you interested in improving your skillset related to patient outcomes? Read, “5 Essential Skills for Compassionate Care in Nursing

3. Eat well-balanced meals during the workweek.


Improve gut health and overall well-being by eating balanced and healthy meals. This can be achieved by keeping a food log and/or by meal prepping lunches for the week. Meal prepping is an effective tool for getting and staying fit, especially with a hectic work schedule. This approach to eating allows you to spend an hour or so on your least busy day prepping healthy and delicious meals that meet your unique dietary needs. This technique saves money, reduces food waste, and provides a healthy and fast option when lunch time is short or meetings pop up in the middle of the day. If you’re feeling really motivated, consider a cleanse to reset your body and eating habits.

4. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.


According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.”

Studies from the Mayo Clinic also indicate that moderately strenuous activity has many benefits that can prevent or manage:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cognitive function
  • Cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Stroke

It may seem like an arduous task at first, but once a routine is established exercising becomes an ingrained habit. Not only does regular exercise provide mood-boosting benefits and a trim waistline, it can also reduce work- related stress. Identify exercise activities that work best for your lifestyle and work schedule. Begin your day by participating in yoga, go for a brisk walk on your lunch break, or swim laps at the nearest pool. Select activities that best suit your interests and schedule.

Activity trackers like the AppleWatch or Fitbit are great motivators for increased activity—tracking steps, stairs climbed, heart rate, weight, sleep, and more. These tools also allow you to set goals and track progress.

5. Automate Mundane Tasks.


There are many tools available to streamline tasks at home, use them! Look for ways to automate tasks so that more time can be allotted to self care activities.

Timesaving Services

Providing Effective Solutions for Nurse Leaders


Kirby Bates is proud of its tradition of being led and operated by successful nurse executives. Our experience and insights guide us to present effective solutions and to achieve sustainable outcomes for our clients’ executive, operational, and clinical leadership teams.

Kirby Bates Associates, LLC drives healthcare organizations to achieve high quality, cost-effective patient care with our comprehensive portfolio of proven leadership services. As CEOs, COOs, and CNOs, our effective approaches achieve sustainable solutions for our clients’ greatest leadership challenges.