How to Maintain Health and Wellbeing When Tackling a Career and a Degree
University may be a common part of development, but it is not strictly necessary for many careers. This concept applies doubly so for those interested in returning to continue their education. It is easy when you work in nursing, for example, because you must pursue further education to progress your career. Online nursing programs are a very simple way to do this. Not only do they allow you to learn and continue to work, but they also come jam-packed to help you reach state licensing requirements.
Not all degrees, however, are like online nursing programs. Even an MBA is not strictly necessary, not if you have the innate understanding of the human and business element.
Whether you need to work towards a degree for the sake of your career, like with online nursing programs, or you simply love learning and want to work towards an objective, this guide will help you juggle everything in your everyday. Continuing your career while tackling a degree is not easy, you need to be dedicated, stay healthy, and stay well, while battling the stress of studying and not burning out. With this guide, you will learn everything you need to know to help you manage that difficult juggle:
Know Why You Are Continuing your Education
Knowing why you are continuing your education is a great place to start. Staying dedicated is possibly one of the first and most significant hurdles to get through. If you do not feel like the effort is worth it, after all, then who is to say the degree itself is worth it? Generally speaking, you should only really look into pursuing further education in these four scenarios:
1. It is necessary for state licensing
Online nursing programs are essential for nurses looking to become an RN, an APRN, or even earning their doctorate. Nursing is one of those careers that directly benefit from going the extra mile, not just because you can advance your title. BSN-RNs typically make more than their ADN counterparts, and APRNs often earn well over six-figure salaries. Not only that, but online nursing programs are designed with the industry, so they are easier to take on while working full-time, both in 9-to-5 positions and with shiftwork.
Most hard science career paths benefit and require further education for you to qualify, making it an easy decision when it comes to your future.
2. You want to direct your career in another direction
You will benefit from pursuing further education if you are interested in a significant career change. You can often find your current position in a new industry without any extra education, but if you want to change what you fundamentally do in a day, then pursuing a master's is a great choice. Just remember when looking at degrees to choose one that is designed specifically for those entering the topic for the first time or those that have a foundation degree you can take to bring your knowledge up to snuff.
3. It would benefit you to be more formally qualified in your field
If you feel it would greatly benefit you to be further qualified, either with a master’s degree or with a PhD, then that is another excellent reason to pursue a degree. This option is the most subjective, however. You must believe in the benefit of your higher qualification. If you are simply doing this because someone else has suggested it or feels like that is what your co-workers are doing, then it is important to take a step back. You may benefit from expanding your skillset with a degree in a new subject, or you may find that your professional experience more than makes up for not having a PhD.
4. You enjoy the pursuit of education
If you want to and enjoy learning, there is never a reason not to further your education. Of course, there are many ways to continue to learn without the high costs of a master's or a doctorate but working towards a goal because you enjoy it is always a valid reason. You need to be assured of why you are pursuing a degree because you need to be sure that the degree will further your career objectively, it is so that you persist with it and work your hardest, even when juggling a career and your personal life.
Choose the Right Degree for the Sake of Your Goals
Knowing why you need to pursue your degree helps you also understand what you need from that degree. If that degree does not provide all that you need from it, and there is no way to supplement it with the tools and resources available from your academic institution, you will not get what you want or need out of your degree.
Make sure that your degree has what you need, especially if you are in a high-stress career like nursing.
What your degree will need will depend entirely on why you are pursuing it and what type of degree you are working towards. With online nursing programs, for example, it needs to be more than just the bare minimum. Hospitals and nurses are flooded with work right now, and the last thing you need is a degree that does not make it easy to manage your high-pressure career and your education, which is why you will need it to have:
The Ability to Take One Course at a Time
The biggest hint that your degree is designed for the working professional is that you can take as little as one course at a time. There should also be no mandatory log-in times so that you can work on your degree at the times that are best suited for you. Nurses are critical right now in ways that they haven't been in a long time, and considering how essential they are in our everyday lives, which is saying something. You need to balance and fit in your degree around your online nursing programs, not the other way around.
Have Breaks in Your Education
You need breaks. You need time off. Many of the best online nursing programs operate on a 7-1-7 premise, which allows you to take a week off between one course and the next. It does not mean you are taking time off work, especially not now when so many people are in need of you, but it gives essential breaths to recuperate and then continue onwards to the next course.
Enjoy Support for Clinicals
This is one of the most applicable benefits to nursing, but if you have the equivalent of clinical hours as a requirement for state licensing, your degree must provide similar support. In nursing, this can mean anything from having a mentor to being placed in a qualified position for your clinical hours without you needing to hunt these opportunities down.
Have Your Own Personal Student Success Coach
When you attend university in person, you have the entire department and an advisor, which should hold true with your online education. Without a student success coach and generally someone to get help and advice from, many students are lost. You may never need your success coach, but their guidance and help are a critical tool that should always be available to you.
Have a Thriving Alumni Community When You Graduate
The biggest benefit of a university is the ongoing support you receive. Alumni communities are critical for further success and guidance and can be an excellent place to find new career opportunities.
A Degree Designed to Help You Pass State Licensure
This is again more applicable specifically to online nursing programs, but the purpose still stands. If the degree you are looking at has a low pass rate at the state exam, it is not doing its job. You want a degree with over an 80% pass rate on the state exam for first attempts and an ideally 100% pass rate for second attempts.
Maintain Health and Wellbeing with These Tips
Your health and wellbeing are the foundation for success, and for those who either struggle or feel like they cannot handle their health, a career, and a degree, it can be hard to move forward with your career. Though they do a lot to support you throughout your career and education, online nursing programs cannot help at home.
You can do a lot to help prepare yourself physically and mentally, but remember that help from friends, family, and co-workers will do so much. Let people help you and aim to improve your health with these tips to succeed in all of your goals.
Stay Fueled with Healthy Snacks
Energy levels are the most important component to success. Being too tired to listen, work, see friends, take care of yourself – it is a problem that many people deal with daily. If only you had the energy to do it all, you would be so much better off, right?
There are only two ways you should be trying to get this energy. One, through your diet. Two, by sleeping. There are instances where these will not be enough, yes, but it is actually a good idea to get checked over in those cases. You may have sleep apnea or another health issue that you need to address.
Start, however, with your diet. Have healthy snacks that you can eat and enjoy throughout the day and every time you have a break. Enjoy fresh fruit and veggies, nuts, and other foods that are high in protein and nutrients. This will help give your body something substantial to work off of, rather than just caffeine.
Target Your Diet Where You Need It
If you still feel tired, or unwell, or generally weak, then it is a good idea to target your diet. This can be done by having yourself checked over by a doctor or a dietician, who can then see what nutrients and vitamins you are low on. You may require booster injections, for example, if your body cannot properly absorb and process certain vitamins from the food you eat.
Tips for a Better Night's Sleep
A good night's sleep is better than ten coffees in the morning. It will wake you up better and keep you awake throughout the day. It can be so hard to do this, however, with shift work. You can be exhausted and want to sleep at all the wrong times during the day. If you struggle, try to use any of these tips to help you sleep better:
Bedtime routine actions
Ideally, however, you will want to try to keep your sleep cycle consistent. If this means keeping odd hours during your days off, then it is worth it.
Wellness Tips to Help Handle Stress
Managing stress will look different for everyone. It may be going on long walks or managing a garden, or taking care of a dog. The important thing is to put time and effort into the activities or people that help you relax. They should not feel like they take a lot of energy, and instead should help you feel rejuvenated.
Do not Be Afraid to Get Extra Help
Requiring help from a therapist or a mental health worker is not a weakness. We all get down, we all need help, and recognizing that in ourselves and getting help when we need it is one of the best things, we can do for ourselves. You do not necessarily need a therapist, either. There are many online tools and resources designed to help those either on waiting lists or those who are not yet comfortable seeking professional help.
Whatever you do, do not assume you are in this alone, nor that you have to go through it alone. Even if it is just by helping your friends, family, and co-workers understand better what you are going through, getting help is essential in succeeding in life.