B Is for Balance

By Sharon M. Weinstein, MS, RN, CRNI, FAAN | 01/01/2009

Reviewed by Eileen P. Williamson

BB_cover_SFWIs it possible to achieve balance in our lives? Sharon Weinstein answers that question with a resounding “Yes!” and thus begins an enjoyable, easy-to-read, 175-page book on how to go about doing just that.

B Is for Balance is an insightful, straightforward and practical guide to gaining balance by living and working smarter and better. The book is a compilation of simple, yet specific, facts that are informative and instructional, with topics ranging from the negative effects of stress on the body and the benefits of laughter to the value of sleeping, dreaming and taking “power naps.” While emphasizing that work-life balance is achievable but not easy, Weinstein invites readers to join her on a meaningful and personal journey to attain the balance we all desire, ending each chapter with “Balancing Act” exercises to help along the way.

Weinstein speaks to the specific needs of nurses and health care professionals, underscoring things they are sure to understand and appreciate—such as the importance of having friends who are real friends and the value of life work that has real purpose. She invites readers to ask themselves if they are happy and content in their home lives and fulfilled in their work lives, and asks if they know what makes each of those lives work well. She then challenges them to commit to focusing on those things in their quest for balance.

The book is about simplification, de-cluttering, self-awareness and aligning one’s self with purpose, and is replete with “handy helpers” such as questionnaires and scorecards. Filled with famous quotes, thoughts and advice on things we all grapple with, the book provides pointers on how to handle everyday activities—from shopping, eating out, and even buying a mattress to caring for one’s self and setting priorities and boundaries.

Balance is something that is achieved little by little, observes Weinstein. It doesn’t happen all at once, but must be worked on over a period of time. She points out the difference between life’s obstacles and its burdens. She asks readers to think about the intangibles, such as attitude and outlook, and challenges them to work on the tangibles, such as meditation, smiling and breathing exercises. She also discusses humor—its psychological and physiological effects—and the importance of one’s surroundings and workspaces. She even provides tips on how to set up an office.

Weinstein’s book gives us a lot to work on and think about and, in case anyone thinks it’s not the right time to get started, she reminds us that we’re never too old or too young to do what we want to do with our lives, to find our true purpose and to achieve, ultimately, that all-important and coveted balance—with a “B!” 

Eileen P. Williamson, RN, MSN, is associate vice president, professional services, New York and New Jersey, for Gannett Healthcare Group.

For more information about B Is for Balance, visit Nursing Knowledge International.

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