5 Ways to Prevent Nurse Burnout
Nurse burnout is a real issue and quite common in the profession. The long hours, variety of shifts, and stress of caring for ill patients can be very taxing. Even the most positive and optimistic nurse can fall victim to burnout. It’s essential to take time and check how you are feeling throughout the day. There are some common indicators that scream “nurse burnout!” and those include: feeling fatigued, overworked, under-appreciated, dreadful of your next shift, or feeling compassion fatigue. If any of these sounds like you then you could be experiencing nurse burnout. You got into the nursing field because you love caring for others and have a compassionate soul. But to be on top of your nurse game, you need to care for yourself too. Let’s walk through the 5 ways that you can prevent nurse burnout from happening to you.
Take a Break
I know what you’re thinking, “there is no time for a break!” As a nurse, finding a break here and there can be near impossible. But, try to find a little time for yourself each day. Whether it is a quick walk to fill up your water bottle or two extra minutes in the restroom. Be sure to snag time to catch your breath. Along with the brief daily mental breaks, be sure to use your allotted vacation time. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul to step away from work for longer periods of time. Nurses need a mental and physical break from work every now and then. As a travel nurse, you dictate when and where you want to work. After each 13-week contract, you can decide to take as much time off as you want. You’re in the driver’s seat of your nursing career!
More than likely you’re a take-charge type of person, which can often mean you take charge of extra tasks as well. It’s okay to say no to extra projects at work if you are feeling maxed out. The last thing your RN Manager wants is for a great nurse to feel exhausted and overburden. Delegate tasks to others when it feels appropriate, you don’t have to take on the world. It’s not good for you, your manager, or patients. Take charge of your day and feel confident saying no when you need to.
One of the best ways to reduce stress and get the endorphins flowing is through exercise. Even if you only have 10 minutes for a brisk walk, take the time to get it done. Exercise is one of the best ways to ease anxiety, depression, and stress. If you are looking for an exercise regime that you can do in the comfort of your own home, check out the top 5 strength training exercises for nurses. No equipment is necessary, but if you’d like to up your strength you can add dumbbells as you see fit. Not only will you feel happier, but you’ll be mentally and physically stronger too.
Stress is always amplified in our minds, whether we realize it or not. The brain is a powerful tool, be sure to use it to our benefit and not our curse. Meditation is a great way to ease your burdens and promote relaxation. It’s extremely important to keep tabs on your mental health and meditation is one way that you can center yourself on the here and now. Keep in mind that meditation takes practice. We are used to a world full of constant noise, so as you prepare to meditate be sure the environment is conducive to relaxation. Yes, that means keep your phone and TV away! Find a quiet space where you can focus on you and nothing else.
Lean on Family and Friends
Nothing beats a top-notch support system. As a nurse, your job is demanding and stressful, but having a soft place to land can help ease your burdens. If balancing work and home has you feeling crazy, ask for help! You don’t have to be everything to everyone. Maybe your significant other can help more around the house or you can schedule a coffee date with a friend once a month. Jot down what brings you joy and determine how you can get those things in your life more often!
Nursing is a rewarding but challenging career. It’s important to stay mindful of the burdens you carry and don’t let them get the best of you. There are solutions out there for you if you’re feeling “nurse burnout”. We hope that you can put some of these tips into practice. The healthcare field needs awesome nurses like you, so be sure to take care of yourself too. Here’s a long and happy career as a nurse!