As a nurse, you have likely felt overwhelmed with stress from time to time. While a little frustration and fatigue are normal, especially during particularly busy shifts, it becomes a problem if it happens regularly, as it could lead to burnout. To make sure it never reaches that stage, read on to find out how you can steer clear of this.
Choose the Right Education
Most nurses decide to go back to education while working full time. This is often an excellent decision, as it allows them to advance their career and pursue a specialty that they’re passionate about. Taking too much on can lead to burnout, though, so it’s crucial to consider course options first. A part-time online course can be less stressful than a full-time classroom-based one, for example.
Nurse burnout can affect new nursing students, too, especially those throwing themselves into a full-time degree while working another job on the side. Fortunately, there are accelerated BSN online programs for those who want to qualify as a nurse from home, which saves both time and money.
Spend Time Alone on Your Days Off
When you finally get some time away from nursing, you might be tempted to spend it all socializing with friends and getting out of the house. While these things are important, you should also make time for yourself at home. Without enough time to relax and reflect, your stress levels will rise. Some simply activities you could do to make the most out of your alone time include:
Reading a Book
Reading not only increases your knowledge, but it also gives you a sense of peace rarely found outside of the pages. Even just thirty minutes of quiet time reading each day can help your brain relax and disengage from the world.
Taking a Walk
You don’t have to stay inside to spend time alone – a lonely walk can give you the refreshment you need to feel yourself again and adjust your perspective. Bonus points if it’s in a place of abundant nature!
Meditation is one of the healthiest ways to spend alone time. Simply getting into a comfortable position, breathing the right way, and clearing your mind can give you the clarity you need to feel at ease when you’re overworked. Fit ten minutes into your day each morning, and you’ll quickly reap the benefits.
Know the Signs
You must know the signs of burnout so you can stop it in its tracks. They include:
- Compassion fatigue
Once you know what to look out for, you’ll have an easier time understanding when you need a break. If any of these signs start to appear more often than you can manage, then it is critical that you seek advice and help wherever you can, whether that’s a counselor, doctor, or your supervisor.
Always Take Your Breaks
Some nurses make the mistake of working through their breaks, but this must be avoided. No matter how much work you have on, you must take some time for yourself in between the day, even if that means ten minutes to grab a coffee and get some fresh air. Not only will it reduce stress, but it’ll also ensure you go back to work with a fresh mindset.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is imperative if you want to avoid burning out. When you’re busy, it can be tempting to go for a quick lunch that’s high in fat but low in nutrition, but this will only make you feel more sluggish. Instead, opt for fast but healthy options like salads and fruit bowls. You can always make your lunches at the beginning of the week! Don’t forget to get plenty of exercises and sleep, too, as they are also essential for your health.
Keep up with Friends and Family
Your friends and family are always there when you’re feeling stressed. If you ever feel like you need a break from nursing, give someone you love a call and schedule a day out. An afternoon venting to your best mate can give you the release you need to set you right again!
Pursue a Hobby You Enjoy
When you revolve your entire world around nursing, it can lead to burnout, no matter how much of a passionate and caring nurse you are. For this reason, it’s sensible to pursue hobbies you enjoy outside of work. It doesn’t have to take up loads of your time – a one-hour painting class or a monthly book club can be enough to give you a healthy interest outside of your career.
Consider Your Nursing Path
While nurse burnout can happen to even the most dedicated and passionate nurses, it’s still important to ask yourself whether or not you are on the correct path. Even if you come to the realization that your current nursing role isn’t for you, that doesn’t mean you have to pack in healthcare altogether, as you might just need a shift in your career. If you work in a hospital, for example, you might find advancing to an FNP and working in a clinic suits your needs much better. Remember, there are plenty of nursing roles out there, each as varies and different as the last. No nursing career is easier, but some are less intense.
Remember Why You Love Nursing
No matter what stage of nursing you are at, whether you are a newbie registered nurse or a certified nurse anesthetist, if you ever feel you are reaching burnout, you must remember why you started this career to begin with. In times of stress, reminding yourself of why you love caring for patients is helpful for pushing through even the toughest of shifts. Plus, it’ll give you a sense of clarity when it comes to your career as a whole.
Nurse burnout is serious, which is why you must do everything you can to avoid it. By prioritizing yourself from time to time and shifting your perspective, you ensure you don’t jeopardize your health and career.