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How do you avoid burnout?

How do you avoid burnout?

We often speak to nurses & midwives who have experienced or experiencing burnout. 
This can be in relation to work, life or a mixture of both and sometimes can be very difficult to spot. 
We spoke to some of our Ambassadors and asked them how they would avoid burnout so we can share some of their top tips with you. 

Prioritising my workload makes a difference for me. I divide my tasks and give them a time frame and attempt to complete them in the specified time I allocate them. Only on a few occasions I’m caught up with time, but still I ask for help when I need it. 

Every shift I work is different and sometimes the people you work with and the situations on the shift depend on what makes it good or a bad shift.  Teamwork makes a difference. Staff look out for each other and offer help when they see you struggling. I utilise all breaks I’m offered when at work. I treasure every minute of my break! 
The wellbeing corners that were setup in all trusts during COVID-19 made a huge difference to me. These are places where you would go catch up on yourself, enjoy the free food and advice available. 

On my days off, I try to switch off from work and log in when I’m back on the shift. I make use of my time out to enjoy what I missed when I’m at work. Nursing never stops so handing over what is to be done to the next shift gives me comfort that there will be continuity in care of my patients and gives me a chance to log off my mind from work. 

I’m a family woman and enjoy engaging with my family in any activity that we set.”
- Hanifa 

As a nurse, these are the few ways I manage myself to prevent burnout. Being burnt-out is a very quick way of deteriorating one’s own health, especially if I don’t stop to assess and analyse what’s happening to my mind and body. So, it’s important that I listen when my body gives me signals that something doesn’t feel right and that I should slow down or stop to pay attention. Self-perseverance is not all bad sometimes. There are times when you must draw a line and say that you are looking out for yourself. One can’t take care of a patient well if they are sick themselves. 

My main way to prevent burnout is self and shift evaluation. At the end of every shift, I reflect on what I did by replaying my shift in my mind and analysing what I could have done better. What I could have prevented from happening and how I would improve my performance for the next day. I choose my speciality in nursing as to what I enjoy doing so I love it. It’s also good to work in an area I am confident in. Which facilitates better impact on patient and nurse alike.

I spend my free time cooking healthy tasty meals to relax and soothe my mind and body. I also like cooking for people or entertaining others. Plus, I love to travel and tour places alone to view and accept nature.

I unwind my stress by listening to music, walking in the rain, knitting on my loom, sleeping and shopping.

I take time to examine how I feel. By identifying what’s likely to be causing me stress and affecting my emotional wellbeing whether its personal, work-related or my environment. I then try to fix what issues are in my limits, which leads to me working mostly with my slogan – “Know your limitation. Know when to stop. Know when to ask for help”.

I also turn off my phone for a few hours. I sleep and I try to eat a balanced diet and take my vitamins to boost my immune system. I even do mild indoor exercises. I spend time to reflect on the things I find comforting to me and this gives me joy in this life.

Should I be at work and the workload is getting and feeling burdensome, I ask my colleague or supervisor for help – never be embarrassed to ask for help.

I avoid working on units that carry high death rates. As watching patients die is a burdensome event for me and a very emotional one. I hate to see patients I care for deteriorate and die on my shift.

I try to organise my time well so that I can manage without feeling stressed in the fast-paced unit in which I work.

I also space time between my shift and doing overtime.”
- Julin

“My happy place and coping mechanism is my gardening. Prior to lockdown, I didn’t really have much interest or time to explore my options, but I found a gardening group on Facebook who directed me to a gardener. Never heard of annuals, biennials or perennials before and Alan Titchmarsh has been my new mentor! This year the plants, flowers, fruit and veg have really flourished and it’s lovely to just sit out in the garden and watch my achievements.”
- Sam

Thank you for taking the time to share these with us. We hope that they help our readers. 

Burnout IS preventable. 

Make sure you are getting in some exercise, light or heavy, eating a balanced diet, setting a good sleeping pattern and don’t forget, you can always ask for help.
Keep an eye out for each other, listen to your friends and colleagues, validate feelings and concerns, offer help if you can. Kind gestures like these go a long way. 

How do you manage burnout? Have you ever spotted someone suffering with burnout and taking them aside to help? We would love to hear from you!