10 Tips to Combat Burnout for Healthcare Workers

Throughout the pandemic, healthcare workers have had to put in extra time and effort due to the increased intake of patients and staffing shortages that affected every healthcare facility. Occupational burnout, while prevalent in every industry, has increased for healthcare professionals. Before the pandemic, 80% of providers reported some degree of burnout, and out of those, 64% said that the pandemic made it worse.

There are many factors that can lead to burnout. An overwhelming workload, a perceived lack of control, mismatched values between you and your facility, and feeling underappreciated are all possible reasons. Burnout can harm your performance and impact your mental health, but there are ways to prevent and recover from it. Here are 10 tips to help you.

Tip 1: Recognize the Signs of Burnout

The first step is to recognize when you are experiencing burnout. Whether it occurs because of job dissatisfaction, job requirements, workplace environment, or other reasons, spotting the patterns will help you prevent it from happening in the future.

Some symptoms of burnout include exhaustion, anger, depression, lack of motivation, decreased efficiency, and irritability.  You may have also noticed a change in your diet, behavior, or mood, which is a good indicator you may be experiencing burnout. Once you recognize the signs, you can take time to de-stress.

Tip 2: Avoid Burnout Triggers

If you know what triggers the beginning of your burnout, you can prevent it from happening. For instance, if your workload Is a contributing factor, you can delegate it to others or figure out what you need to prioritize. Recognizing your triggers and avoiding them or alleviating their effects on you will help you prevent burnout in the future.

Tip 3: Engage in Healthy Habits

A busy work schedule can lead you to push aside your health, but that will only lead to more stress for your body. It might be easier to order take-out or to sleep less than needed but do your best to engage in healthy habits. Build up a healthy diet by meal prepping or packing snacks that will help you get all your nutrients. Exercise and being physically active can decrease your stress levels as well.

Tip 4: Sort Your Glass and Rubber Balls

No, not literally. Essentially, figure out which things are a priority for your life. The analogy, which you may have heard from Brian Dyson or Nora Roberts, tells you that rubber balls will bounce back even if you drop them but glass balls will shatter. Prioritize catching your glass balls, and if a couple of rubber balls fall, it’s alright. However, keep in mind that some work balls can be glass or rubber, and the same goes for aspects of your own personal life.

Tip 5: It’s All About Me (You)

Make sure you take time for yourself every day. Add a me-time routine into your busy day for at least 15 minutes, and do something that makes you happy. Whether it’s yoga or watching your favorite show, whatever you choose to do, keep your mind off work and focus on yourself.

Tip 6: Surround Yourself with Positivity

The common saying goes “misery loves company,” and many people surround themselves with others who will match their mood. Unfortunately, if you’re around negative people, your burnout will only exacerbate instead of being alleviated. Find people who are positive and encouraging and limit your time with those who are negative.

Tip 7: Spend Time with Loved Ones

Too often, work can make you neglect your relationships. Make time to catch up with family or friends.  This will give you a chance to focus on other things than work and reconnect with people you love. You can also spend some time interacting with coworkers, which will help you create a welcoming work environment and reduce the stressors associated with work.

Tip 8: Take Some Time Off

Sometimes, the best course of action is to take some time off and get some rest and relaxation. Whether you take a vacation or have a little staycation, spend your time recuperating. Don’t focus on things you need to do or what might be happening at work in your absence. Turn your phone off and rest your mind.

Tip 9: Talk it Out

If you are experiencing severe burnout, talking to a professional can help you identify why you might be burnt out and help you develop habits to prevent and recover from it. This will also give you an opportunity to talk to somebody unbiased about your work environment.

Tip 10: Bring it to Management

Burnout occurs when there are stressors at work that aren’t being addressed. For instance, you might be burnt out from unpredictable schedules or due to other workplace aspects. Management can put protocols and policies in place to address those stressors. Reach out to a supervisor about support for your workplace.

Adjourn Your Burnout

Burnout can make you less efficient and more prone to accidents, so it’s especially important to alleviate burnout. In order to be your best for patients, you have to take care of yourself first. It might take some trial and error before you figure out the best steps for you. What are some methods you use to deal with burnout?


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