The feeling of exhaustion caused by sustained and prolonged stress. It’s a fatigue that is not just felt physically but also mentally and psychologically. It doesn’t just affect work, it also extends to activities outside work environments. This is burnout, and if this remains unchecked it will drive an individual to his/her demise.
Burnout is the stimulant that will provoke one to think about quitting. And it’s not a surprise that a lot of medical workers experience this every now and then as we often deal with the stress that the environment naturally throws unto us. It’s part of human nature to feel the burden getting heavy on our shoulders especially when that burden is carried along for prolonged periods – and this period may be years for some, for others it may just be months, it depends on every individual’s tolerance to stress. However, sooner or later we sometimes feel like caving in, and we sometimes think that giving up is the best choice. Now, before you hang your hat on the racks, let’s try to manage the root cause of the problem first. After which, hopefully, we will be able to stand back up against burnouts.
Here are 5 Ways to Love Your Shift and Defeat Burnout
Never Stop Growing
One of the main reasons why we feel burnt out is stagnation. Anything in our lives that remains stagnant will become a routine, and we humans are terrible at maintaining routines. While at first, we may feel that when we get familiar with a certain set of actions that we do in our workplace we become comfortable, but if those sets of actions are done repeatedly without ever-changing, that becomes very boring for us to do over and over again. We often fall into that trap of “comfort” in our work environments that we don’t explore new challenges anymore.
Here’s something to compare with, when we were kids, we were very happy, there are very few children who you would see unhappy. Most of the kids live their lives to the fullest and their always curious about things and they are ever so excited to grow up and be whoever they dream to be someday. We role-play our future dreams and pretend like it’s the present. But what happens when we grow up as adults is that we start to play defense in life. Instead of growing, we just stopped and became contented to what we currently have.
Although it’s not a bad thing, it’s also not good for our careers and our life in general. See, whether we like it or not, we will change, no matter how hard we try to stop it, no matter what we do or do not do about it we will change. Our bodies change we will grow older through the years. Now, what let us stop growing? The most common answer would be the fear of the unknown. As humans, it is embedded in our brains to protect what we currently have. Thus, we play defense to what we already have in order to ensure its safety – making us afraid of failing or making wrong decisions that we don’t even know yet if it is really wrong. We fear the unknown and we also hate the repetitions of our current work.
This battle inside ourselves leads to more stress than what the outside environment is already giving us health workers. It then accumulates and leads to burnout. One of the best ways to deal with this is to stop playing defense and move to offense. Don’t let the opportunity just pass you by because you are already comfortable with what you currently have because it will soon turn against you and by that time that happens, there may be no opportunities on your way. Hence, every time there’s an opportunity for you to grow, career-wise or otherwise, grab it. Because change is the only thing that is constant in life. Let’s not forget the reason why we were so happy when we were kids, it wasn’t because we were afraid to grow old, but we were very eager to grow more. Never stop growing.
Pursue Higher Position
Every individual is destined for something great. I always believe this. Sometimes, we feel burnt out because we are doing something that we think can be improved or revised. Sometimes we hate what we do because we know that there is a better way to do it but we can’t act upon it because we don’t have the right to, because the chain-of-command or the protocols are not on our side. If only we can just step up on that ladder in order to make the necessary changes, we would’ve made our colleagues’ lives so much easier. But guess what, you can. Only if one is willing to take on the challenge of pursuing a higher position will one achieve it. Most often, we don’t pursue these positions because of the fear of not being able to cope with the responsibilities of becoming a head nurse or a manager.
We often think that it’s better to be a staff because then you would have to only think about the patients assigned to you and there will always be someone to blame – this is a wrong and negative mindset. Aspiring higher positions will not only build your confidence but it will also have a big impact positively on your morale. We are the makers of ourselves. No one will do this for us. What do we lose if we aspire to greater things for ourselves? Nothing. We are only at loss when we stop reaching for what’s already been destined to each of us – greatness.
Update your Trainings and Acquire New Skills Update
Keeping your trainings and up-to-date is one of the fundamental grounds of your career growth while acquiring new skills will be your stepping stone to pursuing higher positions in your career. Combine these two and you will be so busy in your career that burnout will not even cross your mind. But the pursuit of these things will only add more stress to what you already have yes that is true. But at least these are stresses caused by the hard work that you put into yourself, not into other people but yourself. You’ll find great satisfaction in knowing that you are doing something good for yourself. And the harder you work for it, the sweeter the victory you’ll feel later on. There are no great things accomplished without hard work. Now, if there is one thing that deserves this hard work, it is no other than yourself.
The Doorknob Practice
In stress management seminars, they teach you how to compartmentalize and organize the stress/problems that we have in our daily lives. They also teach how to minimize it. One way of minimizing stress is by maximizing gratefulness. You will always be happy when you are grateful, and you can’t be grateful and sad at the same time – always remember that. Another way of dealing with stress is the doorknob practice. Here’s the idea, we have problems all around us, that’s one of the colors of life, problems, they are colors because without them how would you know if you painted your life with happiness if you are unaware of the loneliness? So, the problems come from work, our homes, the streets and everywhere.
In our houses, we have a door that we use to exit and enter. The idea is that you leave all your personal problems on one side of the doorknob, right when you are about to leave. And when you’re finished in your shift, leave all the troubles in the hospital on the other side of the doorknob, right before you enter the house. Leave your personal problems to yourself and don’t bring it to the workplace, at the same time leave all the work-related problems at work and don’t bring it in the house. One of the major reasons why we are burnt out is because we carry all these problems wherever we go and that’s all we ever think about. Have time to be grateful, this easy process will help a lot in dealing with stress, and will prevent us from burnout.
Accept The Grind. Love the Process
“Ugh! Not another day!” “I hate going to work again!” “Graveyard again!? You must be joking me right now?!” “When will this overtime end?!” “How many more decades are we going to be understaffed?!” These are just some of the complaints of a regular nurse, these are just some of the agonies of the health workers. These are those who never moved on to the reality of our profession. No one ever told us that this will be a typical 9-5 job with a Saturday and Sunday off with your family, healthy breakfast on a weekday, and a good night’s time with your kids. Nope, that’s not what we signed up for. And if you have confused your profession to a regular blue-collar job, then it’s time to track your steps, because you’re missing out on the big picture.
We are doing an extraordinary job, we save lives. Saving lives does not have a 9-5 timeframe, death doesn’t do weekends. Hence, we health workers are needed round-the-clock, 7 days a week, that’s our reality. That’s the profession we chose to pledge out oaths to. So accept the grind, and love the process. For not everyone is blessed to have the skills that you have. Not everyone is tolerant of all the gruesome things that you have witnessed. Not everyone has that hero inside. Not everyone can save lives. Isn’t that what heroes do?
There you go, the 5 ways to love your shift, the 5 ways to keep your fire from burning out. We are health workers for a reason. If we have that attitude of giving up we would’ve given up already during our schooling days, but we are still here fighting. The reason why we sometimes feel burnt out is not that we don’t have passion in what we do, it’s sometimes not being able to fix the things that can easily be fixed, or not doing the right course of actions in our career. May your fire continue to light and be the angel in the sickroom.