After working hard to complete the training that's needed to become a nurse, embarking on your new career is very exciting. After settling in a little, however, you may start to feel run down, worn out or otherwise unwell. Chances are that you are coping with a common pitfall among busy nurses: burnout. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that you can do to ward off this pesky problem. Read on to learn more about coping with and avoiding burnout as a nurse.
10 Tips for Avoiding Burnout as a Nurse
Like any nurse, you would probably like to provide the best care possible for your patients. That's not easy to do when you suffer from burnout, which can happen to any nurse. Even nurses who have many years of experience fall prey to this issue from time to time, so you aren't alone.
Luckily, there are things that you can do to minimize the risk of burning out on the job. Put the following 10 tips to work for you to ensure that you provide the best possible care for your patients while taking care of yourself:
- Simplify Your Life - Although you may not be able to simplify your job, you should be able to make your life simpler in some ways. For example, be okay with turning down invitations or with being unable to lend a hand when you're too exhausted. If possible, delegate some of your usual tasks to others in the home to reduce your burden.
- Seek Support – When it becomes excessive, it is easy to feel completely alone. As you can easily see on online nursing forums, however, burnout is an all-too-common reality for busy nurses. It is okay to seek support, so be sure to do so if you feel overwhelmed. It could be something as simple as having coffee with a close friend, or it could mean seeing a therapist on a regular basis to discuss your feelings.
- Reduce Stress - Unfortunately, some stressors - like bills - can't be eliminated. However, you can usually par down other stressors in your life. For example, if you are burning the candle at both ends, make a point of staying in most nights. If you are being scheduled to work too many hours, speak to your nurse manager about having your hours reduced.
- Engage In Spirituality - Studies have shown that nurses who are religious tend to suffer less from burnout than those who aren't. However, you don't necessarily have to attend church to be spiritual. In fact, sitting down and meditating once a day can work wonders.
- Disconnect - In our hectic modern world, most of us are connected to the internet 24/7 through smartphones and other mobile devices. Constantly looking at screens, checking messages and browsing social media can increase stress levels considerably. Take breaks from your devices throughout the day to clear your head. You might even consider leaving your smartphone locked away when you're on the clock.
- Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle - Taking care of yourself plays a significant role in warding off burnout as a nurse. Since you're so busy, it may often be tempting to just grab fast food or other unhealthy fare to eat. Try to cut back on this, and stick with primarily eating whole, healthy foods. Drink plenty of water, don't smoke and minimize alcohol consumption. Finally, aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise five days per week.
- Get Away - Everyone deserves a break. As hectic as life is as a working nurse, it's easy to forget to pencil in some time for yourself. Schedule a getaway for yourself in the near future. It could be something as elaborate as a cruise or something as simple as a weekend at home binge-watching Netflix. The point is to get away from work for a few days to clear your head and rejuvenate yourself.
- Advance Your Education - Sometimes, nurses face burnout because they just aren't being challenged enough or aren't in the right roles. One way to deal with this is by continuing your education in order to move into more advanced positions. Opportunities abound for advancing your training as a nurse, and the payoff can be enormous.
- Adopt A Hobby - If you don't have a hobby that you're truly passionate about, start trying new things to try and find one. People who have fun things to focus on outside of work tend to be less stressed than those who don't. Hobbies also open up doors that allow you to make new friends, which can also help to keep burnout at bay. Whether you take up knitting, scrapbooking, bowling or another pastime, it is sure to make a huge, positive difference for you.
- Get More Sleep - Nurses are often highly susceptible to burning out simply because they don't get enough sleep. This is understandable since many nurses work long shifts, including overnight shifts that can be very difficult to adjust to and cope with. Make getting a good night's sleep a top priority. Turn your bedroom into a peaceful sanctuary. If you sleep during the day, invest in blackout curtains. As much as possible, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Consistency will help you get better sleep every night, and feeling more rested will help you avoid burnout.
As you can see, there's a lot that you can do to minimize and even avoid burnout as a nurse. Even if you adopt all of these tips, though, it's important to remember that stress is an everyday part of being a health care professional. By knowing how to cope with it, however, you can still excel in your career and take excellent care of your patients.