7 Self-Care Tips for Nurses Who Are Burnt Out
With symptoms ranging from physical exhaustion and depression to anger and a decreased attention span, burnout is a serious problem for nurses. Caring for others — especially those who are seriously ill — takes a major toll, and many overworked nurses don’t feel like they have time to take care of themselves.
As COVID-19 swept the planet, so did stress and burnout. Now, more than a year into the pandemic, many nurses have stretched themselves well beyond their limits and are beginning to feel the consequences. If you are burnt out, there are, fortunately, things you can do. From spoiling yourself with a nice new pair of modern scrubs to scheduling an appointment at a float tank center, here are a few of our favorite self-care tips for burnt-out nurses.
- Treat Yourself to New Workwear
If you have been wearing the same scrubs to work for several months (or longer), investing in some new ones is a simple way to give yourself a mental boost. Look for stylish modern scrubs with features like antimicrobial coatings and wrinkle resistance. Find ones that have a flattering fit and make you feel good, too. Upgrading your wardrobe and giving yourself a fresh new look can make you feel better about heading to work.
- Set Boundaries at Home
Your friends and loved ones don’t mean to contribute to your stress. When they use you as their go-to source of health advice and COVID information, though, it takes a toll. If you are feeling like you cannot escape from the stress of your job even when you are at home, it may be time to set some boundaries.
Explain that you need a mental break from healthcare when you are away from work, and respectfully ask friends and family members to avoid reaching out to you for every little medical question or issue. It’s one thing to help someone out from time to time when a serious situation arises. It’s another thing entirely to feel like the people close to you treat you like their personal nurse when you are off the clock.
- Schedule a Float Tank Therapy Session
Float tank centers are popping up in communities across the country, and their benefits are touted by everyone from professional athletes to stay-at-home moms. Also known as sensory deprivation tanks, flotation tanks provide an escape from the chaos of daily life. Research shows that float therapy offers numerous benefits, including lowering anxiety and easing pain.
Floating in a sensory deprivation tank isn’t exactly new, but it has become an increasingly popular form of self-care in the last few years. If you are feeling burnt out and wishing that you could just escape from everything for a little while, a float therapy session could be just what you need.
- Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep when you are spending anywhere from eight to 16 hours at work is no easy task. When it comes to taking proper care of yourself, though, doing so is vital. Improving your sleep habits could help you overcome burnout. At the very least, getting enough sleep makes it easier to power through your long days without feeling completely exhausted.
- Watch What You Eat (and Drink)
Like healthy sleep habits, nutrition is something that many nurses put on the back burner due to their busy schedules. If your diet primarily consists of coffee, greasy takeout, and snacks from the vending machine, though, it is going to catch up with you eventually. Or if you are one of the many nurses who doesn’t find time to eat while on shift, the lack of sustenance will leave you feeling drained and extra stressed at the end of the day.
Do your best to consume several small, healthy meals throughout the day. Drink plenty of water, too, and avoid fueling up on excessive amounts of caffeine. Think about the healthy eating tips you might share with your patients, and take your own advice!
- Make Time for Enjoyable Activities
When your life mainly consists of work and sleep, it is natural to feel burnt out. While your greatest passion in life may be caring for other people, it is vital to find time for self-care too. You can only give so much.
Whether you enjoy reading, baking, hiking, taking art classes, or doing just about anything else, find time for it in your busy schedule. Even spending a few minutes each day working on an enjoyable hobby can improve your mindset and make you feel like your life is much more balanced and fulfilling.
Find time to spend with people who make you happy, too. Whether it’s grabbing lunch with a former classmate, hanging out with your kids, or taking your mom on a shopping trip, spending time with people you care about provides a much-needed mental health boost.
- Know When to Seek Help
Feeling burnt out is normal. If you find yourself experiencing serious depression or anxiety, though, there is no shame in reaching out for help. There are several resources for nurses, and there is no reason to suffer in silence if you are having a hard time. Even reaching out to a superior at work or talking to a trusted friend could help.
Being a nurse is an exhausting and stressful job even during normal times. More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, it is only natural that many nurses are feeling like they are at the end of their proverbial ropes. If burnout is getting you down, try one of the self-care tips listed above. And if nothing seems to help, remember that you are not alone and that there are resources to help you navigate through these difficult times. Never be afraid to ask for help. At the end of the day, even the best nurses are humans and sometimes need a helping hand.
This article was provided by Infinity Scrubs.