What to Do When You're Starting to Feel Burnout
I've had a couple people message me, asking what they should do if they're starting to experience some work-related burnout.
First of all, THANK YOU for being vulnerable and trusting me enough to say something! Work stress can be so tricky. There are so many factors involved, some of them within our control and some of them outside of our control. The focus of The Burnout Book is to help identify those controllable factors and provide ideas and resources so you can become your best resilient self!
This isn't a comprehensive list, not in the slightest. These are just a few initial thoughts to get you started. I have SO many other posts coming that will go into these topics (and more) in detail. But here's what I would do, if I were in your Danskos:
Talk to someone.
Don't bottle it up or try and "push through" at your own expense. Talk to someone whose opinion you trust- a family member, a friend, a mentor. Know that you definitely aren't alone and talking about what you're experiencing with someone else helps you put it into perspective. Therapists and counselors are also great people to seek out, especially when your quality of life is being impacted negatively. I found it especially helpful to talk with someone who wasn't in the medical community so they had a totally unbiased opinion. Just having someone else know your struggles is very freeing. Trying to hide it can be so exhausting.
Write it down
There's a study that says it takes 5 positive comments to cancel out 1 negative comment. Why do we get so focused on the negative and let it stick in our brains?? Reflective journaling can truly help you process what you're experiencing. If you take time to document the positive moments you experience as a nurse, you can use it as a tool on your rough days to keep the positive/negative ratio in check. Some people do gratitude journals to stay motived and keep perspective. You can do a stress journal and find patterns in your daily life of the things that cause the most stress, and once identified, you can work towards minimizing the impact those things have in your life.
What do you do on your days off that makes you happy and re-energizes you? Do more of that! It's impossible to care of others when you haven't been able to take care of yourself. Easier said then done, I know, but we have to make time to invest in ourselves. No one cares more about your health than YOU. I have let work suck me dry in the name of loyalty only to have them calling the next day, asking for more. I know I'm not the only one to experience this. Whether it's in the form of going out to lunch with a friend, reading a really good book, getting a pedicure, going to the coffee shop for an hour of alone time...make time for "me" time. Try and eat healthy, drink water, and exercise. I'm also an advocate for the occasional cupcake.
Keep your spark!
Sometimes the burnout occurs when you've been doing something for too long. Give yourself permission to make a change! Try and different role at work, change locations, get a certification, go to a conference...finding something to spark your curiosity give you a challenge. There are so many paths a nurse can take, and I hope you have a chance to explore some of them before you consider leaving the nursing world altogether. However, for some people in some circumstances, that is the best choice for them. I'm all about doing what's best for YOU!
P.S. If I wasn't a nurse, I'd 100% be in a bakery, frosting cakes and drizzling chocolate... maybe when I retire. ;)
I'd love to learn about what works for you in your life! Share in the comments below.
Stay LIT, burnout crew.