Caregiver Burnout

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.

1. Exercise

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!

4. Pray

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!

Work – Life Balance

Work and life balance is something that everyone wants to achieve. You want to feel good about the work you do, but you also don’t want work to take over your whole life. So what do you do? Here are some steps that may help you find that balance you are wishing for.

1. Let go

You cannot do everything! Yes, you want to be successful, be a great mom, a great nurse, an athlete, a health freak, a homeschool teacher for your kids, a DIY professional, and everything else. It is just unrealistic. Let go of the unrealistic expectations you put on yourself and give yourself a break.

2. Make every moment count

Although many people say that multi-tasking is not possible, I disagree when it comes to being a mom and a nurse. Anyone that doesn’t know, is not a mom or a nurse obviously. Multi-tasking is sometimes what we as mothers and nurses HAVE To do. But there is an efficient way of doing it.

When you are driving to and from work, listen to that podcast you wanted to, or make that call you had to make and get it out of the way. While you are making dinner, send the kids on a fun “mission” to find all of their belongings around the house and put them away or see who can get the table ready the fastest. Wash the dishes while you are on a phone call. If you are waiting for your dog to do his thing in the yard, do 10 squats or pushups, or go for a walk on your lunch break. Order groceries to be delivered to your house to save time on going to the store.

These are just some things you can do without even thinking to make your life so much easier. If you incorporate little things into your normal routine you are maximizing your time!

3. Make YOU time

Make time for you. Whatever you like to do, it is important to incorporate that into your schedule, or else you probably won’t do it. Schedule dates in advance with friends, family, fun activities for you and your partner and worry about the details later. It is important to get those things on the books, because when the time comes and you don’t have it scheduled, you most likely will find other things that you “need” to do.

Promise yourself you are going to go for a walk, run, or even a short exercise even just a few times a week to boost your serotonin and your confidence. Eat healthy, but treat yourself sometimes too. Schedule that massage or facial you have been wanting to do for 3 years. Take a few minutes to walk away or actually take your lunch break to recoup.

4. Don’t procrastinate

Do not put things off until later unless you need to. You know they say, there is no better time than the present! Waiting until the last minute to do little things can put a lot of pressure on you later on, which can add stress that you simply don’t need. Get things done as soon as you can, and recruit others in your family to help you. Think of it as family bonding time.

At work, procrastination is definitely not a good idea. It leads to staying later hours, people getting angry because you haven’t gotten to them yet, and maybe your boss getting on you about it too.

5. Find a schedule that works for you and your family

If you can find a job with an alternate schedule that works for you and your family, do it. Don’t be afraid to continue to look for something else that will fit your needs better. If you can work remote, do it if it means more time with your family or no commute time. Maybe it will work better for you to only work three 12 hour shifts or four 10’s. Maybe your family will work better with you on night shift. It just depends on what you need. Discuss it with your partner or family and decide what works best. In my opinion it doesn’t hurt to look, especially if it will benefit you in your work and life balance.

My Motivation

My thoughts for today….

Have you ever felt stuck in a rut? You feel like there is so much more to life that you could give, but there’s not enough hours in the day? You are pulled in a million different directions, feel like you don’t have enough time to do all of the life things you need to do. This is me. Everyday.

I decided on a whim I was going to start this blog. I was not even really sure how to start it or what I was going to talk about. For weeks, months, years, I have been thinking about doing more things in my life, maybe things out of my comfort zone, or starting my own company, or doing something other than the same old mundane day to day job. It is hard to have these thoughts and not really know where to begin.

So, I told my husband I was thinking of starting a blog over the weekend, and he’s like “yea because you don’t have enough to do”. He is kind of right, but I am one of those people who feel they need to do more in life. I constantly push myself to the fullest potential I possibly can, which can be a blessing and a curse. For as long as I can remember I have been this way. I work full time, have two small children, family, friends, and am constantly thinking how can I add another thing to accomplish.

My main thoughts throughout every day are: how can I be more successful, help others, teach my children how to be great, and how can I make more money, but have more time at home. I know these are things that a lot of people strive for, but some do not have the motivation to take the steps to change anything.

Today I decided I am not going to sit still. If I have an urge to make a change in my life, I am going to risk it (as long as it’s practical), and I encourage you to do the same. What’s the worst that can happen?