Burnout is a major problem among healthcare professionals. Long and exhausting days, stressful circumstances, escalating responsibilities, and the mental weight of taking care of sick and dying patients take a toll. Over time, burnout is almost inevitable.
We desperately need qualified and dedicated healthcare professionals to stay in the field and meet the increasing demands of the American population. Preventing and addressing burnout is extremely important for ensuring the well-being of healthcare workers.
Self-care, which requires awareness, self-control, and self-reliance, can help to combat burnout. If you’re experiencing burnout (or you’re on the edge of it), here are some self-care steps you can take to rekindle your passion and feel energized again.
Prioritizing Physical Well-Being
The first step in any self-care plan is to address your overall physical well-being. Are you getting enough sleep? Eating nutritious, full meals? Exercising regularly? Drinking enough water? As a busy healthcare professional, chances are good that at least one of these areas isn’t getting enough attention.
Your body will tell you when it isn’t getting what it needs. Neglecting any of these essentials is likely to affect your stress levels, fatigue, and general well-being. Your emotional resilience will also suffer.
Fitting in activities like meal prep, exercise, and sleep can be a challenge. Strategies like batch cooking freezer meals, fitting in short bursts of physical activity throughout the day, and setting a strict bedtime can all help.
Nurturing Emotional Resilience
Resilience is key in healthcare, as it helps to prevent burnout and allows healthcare providers to better manage their stress levels. One way to promote reliance is through mindfulness techniques.
Meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are all great ways to gradually build emotional resilience. Some of these techniques can even be used during the workday to help you feel more centered during stressful moments.
A healthy work-life balance is also key. Getting rest and time away without dwelling on work will help you build emotional resilience.
Fostering a Supportive Work Environment
Many healthcare professionals start to experience burnout due to their work environment and the demands of their job. With staffing shortages occurring all over the country, it’s common for work environments to suffer, offering little support and poor communication.
Although you can’t create a supportive work environment single-handedly, you can do your part to increase communication within your team. You can also advocate for better working conditions—even small improvements can make a difference!
Seeking New Skills and Knowledge
One way to rekindle your passion in healthcare is to skill up! Professional development sometimes gets put on the back burner due to the overwhelming day-to-day work within the healthcare environment, but it’s important for a number of reasons.
First, seeking new skills and knowledge will help you feel more excited about your job by providing fresh perspectives. Keeping up with the latest methods and best practices will help keep your skills sharp and help you advance in your career. It can also help you by giving you goals to work toward, ensuring that you don’t start feeling stuck in a rut.
Finally, if you attend workshops and conferences, you’re likely to network with others and make new friends within the field. Their passion and perspectives might just help you rediscover your love for your chosen career.
Making Time for Personal Interests
You are more than your job. Working in the healthcare industry can sometimes become all-consuming, and you need to make an effort to prevent that from happening. Carving out time for yourself is one way to ensure that your job does not become your entire identity.
It’s critical to make time for personal interests and relationships that are important to you. This will help ensure that you have a chance to recharge when you’re not at work. Pursuing personal passions and relaxing hobbies will give your brain a break. So will spending time with friends and family, enjoying each other’s company.
Recognizing When Professional Help is Needed
Recovering from burnout can be a difficult process. Depending on the severity of your burnout, you might be on the edge of leaving the industry. In some cases, you might need help from a mental health professional, especially if your burnout has led to issues like substance abuse and thoughts of self-harm.
For your own safety and self-care, it’s important to know when it’s time to seek professional help. Don’t buy into stigma surrounding mental healthcare—counseling services and support groups can be a huge help in overcoming burnout.
Creating Healthy Boundaries
In addition to all of the self-care tips discussed above, healthy boundaries are absolutely essential for healthcare workers. If you want to recover from burnout and prevent it in the future, you need to create boundaries between your professional and personal life.
If you want to be able to help people, you need to start by helping yourself. Burnout can be extremely frustrating and disheartening, and it affects the quality of your work. To reignite your passion and provide the best possible care, it’s time to think about how you should take care of yourself first.
Guest Author Bio
With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.