Burnout is a form of exhaustion caused by constantly feeling overwhelmed. It’s a result of excessive and prolonged emotional, physical, and mental stress. In many cases, burnout is related to one’s job. Burnout happens when you’re overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to keep up with life’s unrelenting demands. In particular, healthcare worker burnout can be caused by a constant fast pace, complicated patients, poor patient outcomes, and/or staff shortages.
Signs of burnout include: dreading going to work, sleep problems, lack of motivation, anxiety, poor memory, and fatigue are just a few to mention. Now that we’ve established what burnout is and what the signs may look like, here are a few ways to avoid burnout and keep yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy.
- Practice Restorative Activities
Practicing self-care and mindfulness is one of the best ways for healthcare workers to prevent burnout. Try incorporating meditation, yoga, jogging, cycling, or any form of exercise to help you improve your mental and physical state and release your stress. And get enough sleep. Try aiming for 7-8 hours for a restorative deep sleep.
- Make Time for Family and Friends
Balancing your time as a healthcare professional can be a juggling act sometimes. Making time for your loved ones is essential to prevent social isolation which can be an effect of burnout. Connect with those close to you either in person or make it a phone call.
- Identify What You Can and Can’t Control at Work
Try to thoughtfully determine the things you can control and the things that are out of your hands. Try not to invest your time and energy in the things you can’t control, because doing so leads to feelings of helplessness and anxiety. Ask yourself, “What am I holding on to and why?” and “Is this something that deserves my stress?”.
- Pay Attention to Warning Signs of Burnout and Seek Help
As mentioned above, warning signs of burnout can include lack of patience, quickness to anger, poor memory, anxiety, fatigue, lack of motivation, feelings of sadness or depression, etc. If you notice any of these in your mood, seek out professional help and pave the way out of burnout.
- Set Boundaries Between Work and Personal Life
Setting boundaries on your work-life balance is crucial in avoiding burnout. Once you’re off the clock, unplug from work and make time for yourself. Don’t check emails or anything of the sort. Take the time to do something you enjoy.
Burnout can be common in the healthcare industry, therefore, knowing how to avoid it or catch it on time is crucial to know. While you work to care for others, remember to take care of yourself as well. Give yourself as much time and attention as you would a patient, you deserve it.