The fairy lights are up, there’s a smell of mulled wine in the air and the Pogues are on the radio… Yes, Christmas is now here. But although spirits are high, it can be difficult to unwind from work during this hectic season, particularly for healthcare professionals who are used to prioritising others before themselves. Finding the ideal balance between your professional obligations, protecting your own mental health, and spending time with your loved ones during the festive season especially is crucial! So, let's explore how you can find a work-life balance to see you through into the New Year…
Share your schedule
Your working hours as a might not always coincide with those of your 9 to 5 acquaintances and family members. Why not make a shared calendar so that significant individuals in your life can easily know when you're available to participate in the celebrations instead of spending infinite amounts of time organising in the group chat? This will not only make your work schedule easier for you to see, but it will also serve as a pleasant reminder of all the events you have coming up.
To maintain a healthy work-life balance, you must learn to say no. You made a commitment to your family to decorate the Christmas tree, but you can't take the time off. You had a difficult week, so you don't feel like attending your friend's Christmas party. Whatever the situation, being honest and prioritising your needs can do wonders for your mental health and allow you to save your energy for the important moments.
Be wise with your time
Make the most of your time off in December, even if you just have a few days off! Not that you should ignore your friends and family, but at least set aside some time for self-care activities like watching your favourite holiday movie, cooking, or enjoying a cheeky glass of red. Work-life balance and burnout are two examples of phrases and terms that are used so frequently that their meaning is obscured. We forget the significance of such expressions and words, as well as how crucial they could be to our health and welfare when they lose their meaning.
Establish a defined schedule for the days you are on call
Being on call forces you to stay alert at all times, even at home! Establishing a pattern for your on-call shifts is the greatest approach to reducing any tension. When you know you can be called into work at any moment, it's simple to feel like you can't be productive. You can benefit from a routine by prioritising the tasks you need to complete while working an on-call shift.
Create a family calendar
Yes, every smartphone user has a reminder app. However, did you know that writing down your schedule might prompt you and allow you to be more organised! The advantages of putting down your schedule in writing would astound you. You can create routines and make plans as a result of seeing your schedule every day. You will be able to see what your month will look like if you keep a calendar in a visible location.
Don't ignore the passing of time
We totally understand that your days off are the holy grail for you. However, those wonderful 24 hours of freedom can pass by quickly, giving the impression that your day was short. It's crucial to schedule time for activities that bring you joy if you want to make the most of your day. But if you do nothing on your off day, it's not unusual to feel guilty, so make the most of your downtime.
Improve your connections with family and friends
When addressing self-care and work-life balance we cannot fully cover the topic if we don’t discuss how to preserve your social connections outside of the workplace. Many people believe that working in the healthcare industry is a sure fire way to put an end to your social life, but that doesn't have to be the case! It's harder said than done to strike a balance between work, self-care, and preserving relationships, however, it is feasible! Lack of social life has been shown to have detrimental impacts that are related to depression. On the other hand, healthcare professionals who keep hold of an active social life report advantages including lessening fatigue and performing better at work.
The idea of striking a healthy festive work-life balance may be laughed at by many in the healthcare sector. Finding a balance and routine that works for you will need some dedication, but it can be well worth it!