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Burnout is a common occurrence in the medical field. It’s caused by excessive and prolonged stress and often results in exhaustion and feelings of being overwhelmed and emotionally drained. Unable to meet the constant demands of medicine, a nurse experiencing burnout may also suffer from long-term changes to their health making them vulnerable to illnesses and emotional trauma. Although this may be common, it is avoidable and there are simple steps that any nurse can take to care for themselves and reduce their risk.
While you are trained as a caregiver, it’s important to remember to care for yourself to reduce your risk of errors on the job and health problems, all of which come at a high cost. There are four important categories of self-care that help reduce the potential for overwhelming stress. However, while these strategies may seem familiar, unless you are practicing them daily, you may experience a higher risk of burnout.
In this instance your diet is not about how to lose weight, but rather how to provide your body with the correct nutrition to feed your cells and your mitochondria, producing enough energy for you to work on a daily basis. Unless your mitochondria are properly fed and producing enough energy, you likely feel fatigued and will have a greater risk of contracting illnesses. In fact, there are many studies demonstrating the power mitochondrial dysfunction has on chronic illnesses, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Getting eight hours of quality sleep a night is necessary to help your brain detoxify and reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep also improves your ability to withstand stress. Seek out natural methods of getting quality sleep without relying on any medications. Keep television sets and work out of the bedroom. Go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time and reduce your exposure to light during the night hours, all of which will help balance your melatonin levels, which ultimately affect your quality of sleep.
Psychologists have been recommending exercise for decades to help reduce stress and improve your health. While there is no one exercise that appeals to every individual, the ultimate goal is movement. So, whether you enjoy running, biking, rowing, swimming or walking around the block, the important aspect is to do it on a daily basis. You may argue that your job keeps you moving for eight hours a day and more exercise is not what you need. However, movement at the hospital is often while under stress and moving from one emergency situation to the next. Movement and exercise outside of the hospital are designed to help reduce your stress and not contribute to it.
Stress reduction activities take several forms for different individuals. Some find that exercise is stress-reducing in and of itself. Others enjoy participating in recreational activities, hobbies or crafts. You may also consider experimenting with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). This is based on Chinese acupuncture but can be done nearly anywhere just using your fingertips.
Self-care doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. At Capital Healthcare Solutions, we understand the importance of caring for the caregiver and will help you find ways to reduce your potential for burnout. Contact our recruiters today to work with us to find a job that matches your professional skills.