An Unconventional Burnout Prevention Plan
There is often a thin line on how much personal information a nurse may share about him or herself. The nurse may worry how sharing what he or she is struggling with will be perceived by peers. “Are they going to think I am incompetent? What if they start to treat me differently? I don’t want to be seen as weak or unprofessional.”
Recently, I went through a very dark and difficult time. The holidays were really hard for me this past year. I didn’t want to put that negative energy out all over the place, so I refrained from sharing this information on my blog and social media sites. Now that I have come through the other side of these obstacles, I feel it is the right time to open up.
Without getting into the nitty gritty details, I can tell you this- I didn’t feel like myself. Having family over and/or around for over two weeks straight became exhausting. My energy was tapped and there was a sense of overwhelm. At times it felt hard to take a deep breath and as though tears would cascade down my cheeks at any point of the day. I started to feel like I was going nuts, to be honest.
Now, I will share shortly in the text below what I did and how I got out of it… however, I also observed something interesting AND read a fascinating article online that went hand-in-hand. I saw a child in a mall throwing an all-out tantrum. I mean a BIG one!
Screaming. Crying. Yelling. Throwing themselves on the floor. And I thought to myself, ‘This is just what I feel like doing right now. Too bad adults cannot start screaming when they really want and need to.’
To my surprise, an article came across my feed that described just that. A group of nursing students, just before semester exams, decided to hold a novel workshop. A screaming workshop. Fueled with the research put out by UCLA that describes the level of stress students of all majors face, these college students offered a new solution. Come to the workshop and scream to let the stress out. My kind of idea!
Now opinions of this workshop were both pro and con, however one nursing student felt being able to let loose in this way was a fun way to reduce stress. Sure, maybe we all don’t have access to a screaming workshop… maybe we wouldn’t feel comfortable going to one. So what else can we do to release that ‘I can’t breathe; the stress is so overwhelming’ type feeling?
Oh, and one quick comment before sharing these tips… remember above how I revealed I was going through a really tough time a few weeks ago? These are the EXACT things that I did to get myself out of it. And let me report, honestly, I am feeling back to myself and much, much better. Here we go…
OK, so in my book ‘Your Next Shift‘, I actually go through my 10-step self-care routine in the bonus pages of the text. So I won’t go into major detail here. The point is that you actually find what you enjoy, create a self-care routine and then stick to it. What threw me off course this past holiday season was that with all the hustle and bustle, I got away from doing my meditation, journaling, and intentional affirmation statements on a daily basis. There were always so many people around, I felt I just couldn’t get it done. Well, that turned into a huge mistake and made me realize (again, yes I am a slow learner) how much I need this stuff!
Make Sure You Get What You Need.
Wintertime has had an effect on me in the past, as it did this year. With the death of my uncle, the shorter hours of daylight, and the colder temperatures forcing us to stay inside- it can tap my energy. So in the past I have gone to acupuncture (which I did again this fall) to deal with my declining energy levels. Another thing I invested in this year, which has really done wonders, is an energy lamp. If I cannot get outside in the glorious sunshine, I will bring it inside to me! Point is, figure out what you need and make sure you get it. Included in this bucket is adequate rest… which can often be hard for nurses working swing or rotating shifts.
Find and Utilize Available Support.
OK, so above I touched on the fact that I go to acupuncture. I bought a happy lamp. I keep (or need to be mindful to keep) a self-care routine. This last tip has to do with getting help. From others. So I started going back to my Reiki practitioner. And yes, I practice on my own… it’s just also good to go to another person now and then. Not only does she provide Reiki healing, she is able to clear my energy. And since I had the negative attachments from all of those people that were around (not that they are negative… you can just pick up other people’s energy and have trouble clearing it)- she was able to provide that as well. After seeing her, I felt light as a feather and totally expansive. I felt like my old self again.
So whether you need to scream and shout to get it out or you need to go to a licensed professional for support- the point of this post is to not let it go too long. Keep up with your self-care routine and make you your first priority. It will be MUCH easier to deal with people and prevent nurse burnout when you do.
What did we miss? I’d love to hear additional suggestions from you in the comments below on the self-care practices that help you prevent nurse burnout. Thanks for reading!
About the Author: As a keynote speaker, bestselling author and virtual conference host, Elizabeth partners with hospitals, organizations, associations, and nursing groups to help transform the field of nursing from the inside out. During the National Nurse’s Week online conference, ‘The Art of Nursing‘, Elizabeth supports nurses in achieving professional goals of continued learning and development. Click here to find out more about how The Art of Nursing appreciates and celebrates our profession in a meaningful way.