As a nursing student, there’s a very good chance that you have fallen into a routine of school, study, sleep, study, study some more. It can get really old after a while.

Instead, how about a routine of school, study, self and sleep. Yes…you saw that right…SELF! It can be so easy to forgo your own self-care when focusing on learning how to take care of others. It’s imperative that you find some balance, keep doing the things you love and always, always choose people over everything else (Within reason, of course. Don’t go out for your friend’s birthday bash if you’ve got to get up for clinical at 4:30am…but maybe meet up for a coffee after class). In general, find some way to stay connected to yourself and others while you experience joy in the midst of all your chaos.

Here are some things I did or saw others do while in school:

  • A group of us would meet at 6am to go running a few days a week on the trail by the campus (why not? we were used to getting up early anyway!)
  • People with kids would stay on campus and study at the library until 5 or 6pm every day…then go home and focus on family
  • One time, I went to a Christmas party instead of obsessively studying for my ATI exam. And guess what? I did fine! Sadly, I only did that once 🙁
  • I would record myself reading my notes from class and then listen to them while going for walks/runs…this one small thing got me out of the house and was probably the best thing I did! It also enabled me to do things like clean the house and fold laundry…I was no longer pinned to my desk. I felt liberated!!!
  • Try to schedule one “fun day” each week. For me it was usually Sunday, but to be honest I didn’t stick to this one all that often…but wish I had!
  • Bring your exercise gear to school. A friend of mine would often go for a run if she had any spare time between classes or study sessions. If your school has a fitness facility, use it! Exercise is probably The Best Way to blow off some steam and keep your mind sharp.
  • Have an end-of-day routine that puts you into relaxation mode. For me, it was usually a hot bath before bed, but could just as easily be a half hour with a trashy novel, a gentle yoga routine, a quiet moment of meditation, reading with your kids…whatever makes you feel at peace 🙂

OK, so you get the idea…make time for yourself and find some balance between the four S’s…school, study, self and sleep!