Caregiver burnout is a HUGE problem when working in the nursing field. Being a nurse you are constantly pulled in a million different directions and people are constantly calling your name, so much so that you often think you should change your name. At least that’s how I have felt before. There is never a chance to stop, sit down, walk away, or anything of the sorts. It can get physically and emotionally draining.
So how do we deal with this dilemma?!
I have found it extremely important over the years to use some simple tools to battle the caregiver burnout and try to stop it before it happens. Although I do know sometimes it is just inevitable.
This is personally my number one “Go to”. Exercise for me is like an escape from reality. I know it is probably hard to think about doing another thing that is physically demanding, but even working out a few times a week can completely change your perspective in life. Not to mention that exercise releases endorphins that are chemically proven to boost mood.
2. Do something you enjoy
If you ever get a second of downtime (which I know can be hard), make sure to pencil in some time for yourself. This can be as simple as meditating for 5 minutes in the morning, participating in a hobby you love, or spending time with friends or family. It puts things into perspective and may get you out of your head for a little while.
3. Take breaks
If you feel overwhelmed you can push yourself to the point where you get into a completely negative mental state. This is something that nurses most of the time never do, I know. Easy for me to say in this post to just take a break when your getting pulled from one room to the next, but all I mean is ATTEMPT to plan your day where you can step away for 5-10 minutes. If and when you take that break, don’t talk about work, don’t think about work, make a phone call to a friend, put on some music, eat, pee, etc. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!
Whether you are religious or not, try to find something you believe in that you can pray or talk to. It does not have to be God or whatever, but just some sort of higher power that you can lean on. Sometimes I just talk to myself in the car on my way to work and ask whatever it may be to give me strength to get through a shift, to help people throughout my day, to do my best, and to not be too hard on myself or others. Whatever you want to say you can say. It is a safe zone. Sometimes just getting out the words out loud can have a powerful effect you never thought it could.
5. Blast some music or meditate
Many people like to meditate in order to de-stress. My outlet is music a lot of times. On the way to work or my way home I blast some music and sing in my car, and it completely takes me to another planet. I find it extremely gratifying and freeing to make it loud enough to drown out my own thoughts.
6. Take a vacation
Whether you plan to go somewhere exotic, or just stay at home, it is important to use that time you have accrued. In the past and even recently I have found it hard to just schedule that time off. I would always just take one or 2 days and have a long weekend or something, but I think I have realized it is important to take a true break to recover. Taking care of people is a huge responsibility and even caregivers need a chance to breathe. Don’t worry, the stress and work will still be there when you get back. Give yourself a break!