Any career that requires long hours with little rest is going to leave workers prone to burnout. This is a common concern throughout the health care professions, as well as other similarly stressful positions, like teaching. However, acknowledging this problem and tackling it head-on is the first step toward mitigating the effects of such stress. Many of us are passionate about our positions, and that passion is important, but it takes realistic, pragmatic efforts at self-care to keep burnout at bay. As someone who has been a full-time student while also working part-time, volunteering, and having my own personal life, establishing a balance and maintaining de-stressing tactics is already a key part of my schedule.
I’ve already spent some time working in health care establishments, and I’ve been fortunate to see first-hand some of the in-house steps some institutions are taking to counter this problem. The retirement home where I’ve worked part-time has implemented three yoga sessions a day, open to residents and to workers on each shift. They are scheduled right at the end of one shift and the beginning of the next, so employees are easily able to coordinate schedules to participate when it’s best for them (before or after their shift). This has also been supplemented by bringing our in-house nutritionist on board for employee meals, as well as resident meals, ensuring everyone is well-fed during their shift.
On top of this, I’ve developed my own self-care tactics. I have a very strong relationship with my partner, and my family and I are close. Though they don’t live here, we talk via Skype on at least a weekly basis (and my mother is a nurse, so she’s been a remarkable source of support). My partner and I love to go camping on long weekends; the time out in nature, with no devices, phones, electronic “beeps”, is great for refreshing and resetting my moods. We also have several pets that we love immensely, who help with daily de-stressing, simply by playing or snuggling each other.