At some point in your career, it is pretty much guaranteed that you will feel burnt out. And that’s okay. We all feel it sometimes! Working 40 hours a week can be exhausting, even if you love your job.
I think I have successfully prevented burnout over the past few months, so I’m sharing five quick tips today:
- Set aside time to relax. After working a 12 hour shift, I usually come home and turn on the TV while I’m on my laptop and a couple hours fly by and the next thing I know it’s already time to go to sleep. I feel exhausted and not relaxed at all. Set a timer on your phone and read a book for 30 minutes or take a hot bath. Technology just continues to stimulate your brain and it’s good to turn off all the distractions for at least half an hour.
- Confide in supportive people. You might not survive without this one. In the best work situations, you will have supportive coworkers, but sometimes that is a luxury. Thankfully I have awesome coworkers and I don’t know what I would do without them!! On a hard day, just a smile can lift your spirits and get you through the next hour of the shift. If you don’t have a great work situation, find friends & family outside of work that will encourage you and listen to you.
- Take a personal day. Three letters…PTO. Use it. I have a lot more vacation time than Luke, so I don’t mind using some to take a day off here and there to re-fuel myself. If you do not take time for yourself, bad things will happen! Our small group at church has a running joke that we all struggle daily to not “rage-quit” our jobs. Sometimes you get so angry or frustrated that you want to quit in that moment. Don’t let it get to that point of worst case scenario. Take time away to collect yourself and your feelings.
- Step outside. It’s amazing what a little fresh air will do. Take a walk after work or go for a bike ride. While you’re at work, take 5 minutes of your lunch break to step outside. I forget to do this a lot of the time (and it almost takes 5 minutes for me to even get outside the hospital 😉 ) but I’ve seen it work wonders for coworkers and patients, too.
- Be honest. Let it out. Every once in awhile you need to let ALL the feelings out. I am the type of person that bottles things up inside until I can’t take anymore. This is not a good trait, but I can’t help myself and it feels so much better after you’re able to honestly express your feelings (a.k.a. vent) to someone on occasion.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. This is a hard one, especially for those in the medical field. We are dealing with real people and their lives are in our hands. We want everything to go perfectly. We want to wipe every tear and ease every pain. This is simply not possible. There will be pain, tears, and every emotion under the sun. You have to just try your best and know that you did everything within your power to do a great job that day.
Have you ever felt burnt out? What did you do to fight this feeling?