Nursing is one of the challenging jobs but also underpaid jobs in some parts of the world. It is an in-demand work, but also a demanding one, making it difficult to avoid burnout.
It may look so pristine and immaculate when nurses wear that white uniform, but the moment they carry it, it also reminds them of the responsibility of being one.
Overtime work, on-call shifts, and demanding patients, nurses often forget themselves. As decent as it sounds but working as a nurse doesn’t all seem too perfect.
From the responsibility alone, nurses often get burnout that also affects mental health. To avoid this from happening to nurses, we have to preserve and protect them with simple tips I will elaborate down below.
But before we tackle more about this topic, let’s know first what burnout is and how we identify if we’re already suffering from it.
Signs of burnout:
- Get irritated easily
- Poor job performance
- Reduced creativity
- Feeling drained and tired and lack of energy
When you have these signs above, here are the tips to strengthen mental health as a nurse and manage burnout:
Tip #1 To Avoid Burnout: Experience something new
I know as a nurse, it is hard to get out of bed after a couple of night shifts or 16-hour shifts, but in an hour, you could do something new or discover something extraordinary.
It helps stimulate your brain and alleviate the feeling of boredom or the lack of creativity.
You don’t have to necessarily go straight to Mount Everest after your 12-hour night shift. If you’re still feeling dizzy and sleepy, opt for more mild activities you can do at home or in your area.
You might want to engage in different clubs like painting, drawing, or just learning something new you haven’t done before. That doesn’t only benefit your mental health, but also your social well-being.
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Tip #2 To Avoid Burnout: Exercise
A 30-minute or even a 10-minute workout can make a lot of difference. It might not help you lose weight that easy (if you’re aiming for that one), but it will give you that “feeling good” mood because of the chemicals called endorphins.
These endorphins are released when you exercise, and their effects are quite similar to morphine, only the difference is that endorphins don’t lead to addiction.
Yet if you’re getting addicted to exercise, that’s not bad at all. You should know it that experts and health articles recommend 150 minutes of exercise every week, more than that may not be right for you anymore.
Tip #3 To Avoid Burnout: Socialize
It may be hard for some nurses who often choose to relax. You don’t have to socialize every single day and meet your friends but schedule your visit or your friends’ visit to your place.
A simple interaction can make a lot of difference in your life and social health.
Talking with your girlfriends may help you relieve the burden of being a nurse, from all the stress you witnessed at work and all the problems and worries you heard from the parents and their significant others.
Women who turn to women when they have problems help improve their well-being due to the release of oxytocin, which in turn helps in avoiding depression, burnout, and stress.
That is what we rarely know a tend-and-befriend behavior when women turn to fellow women for social support, which then leads to a reduction of stress due to hormone oxytocin released during this behavior.
Tip #4 To Avoid Burnout: Learn to say NO
It is hard to say no for some, well, especially if you’re still a new nurse at work when your seniors ask you some tasks to do for them.
And that’s one of the mistakes new nurses often do. They have the feeling to win their superiors’ favor and would do everything for them without considering themselves first.
But that doesn’t have to be. You should only accept the tasks if you can or if you have already finished your duties.
Often, nurses get into problems after accepting tasks they shouldn’t be doing or committing mistakes from assignments that they’re not sure of doing.
If you continue saying yes whenever somebody asks you for a favor, may it be small or simple, it will eventually affect your health. You shouldn’t wonder anymore if you feel like getting sick leave or if your coworkers take advantage of you.
You are not alone at work, and you don’t have to please your colleagues to be accepted. You are all nurses, and only the difference is that they may have more years behind them and have experienced more than you, but that doesn’t give them the right to use you. Read more tips on how to set healthy boundaries here.
Tip #5 To Avoid Burnout: Seek support
Some nurses refuse to ask for help when it comes to their mental health. They find it embarrassing to open up to other health personnel. But that refusal often creates more problems, and it might be too late to solve them.
Talking to a psychologist often leads to stigma and being called getting crazy. It’s not that simple for a nurse to seek help since they have that mindset that they’re the ones helping and not the receiving end of it.
When you’re hesitant to go straight away to a psychologist to load off the burden of being a nurse, you can talk to your nurse counselor at your workplace.
Aside from the things mentioned above, you shouldn’t forget to relax and breathe. Make time for yourself and consider yourself first. How can you, as a nurse, help others if you are physically and mentally incapable?
If you are a nurse and reading this, save yourself first before you can save others in need.
Moreover, before you can treat what causes the changes in yourself, you have to identify it and assess yourself.
Early diagnosis can be frightening at first, but it helps in treating and managing any illnesses.
Do you know any nurses, or are you a nurse yourself? Help others to strengthen their mental health and manage burnout from working as a nurse by sharing this post to them.
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