As discussed in one of our previous articles, 76% of healthcare workers are experiencing burnout. Although the responsibility lies heavily on healthcare organizations to provide resources and training to reduce the risk of burnout, it also falls on the individual to take the appropriate steps if they recognize any of its symptoms in themselves.
But what steps can you take in managing your mental well-being? Read our tips on how to manage and reduce your risk of burnout.
#1: Educate Yourself
One of the issues with burnout, as discussed by Dr. Hazel Wallace, is that individuals don’t have the knowledge or the skills to recognize burnout in themselves. The problem is, if workers don’t have the tools to identify burnout, they won’t know what steps to take in tackling it. So, educate yourself about the characteristics of burnout to understand if this may be causing you to feel under the weather. Look into what kinds of things you could be doing yourself to prevent your risk of burnout and maintaining a good mental health.
#2: Regularly Monitor your Stress
Our second tip is to reflect on your stress levels and feelings regularly. For example, some people find that journaling or making to-do lists works well in clearing their minds. Yes, I know it’s easier said than done. We often feel like we have no time in the day, let alone adding something else to the equation. However, this could only take 5 minutes out of your day, and it is well worth the benefits. Over time you will be able to recognize if your stress is affecting your performance, mood, and how efficient you feel.
#3: Practice Self-Care
It’s important to note that self-care is crucial for everyone, not just healthcare workers. However, healthcare workers often neglect their health and mental well-being in favor of the health of their patients. Self-care is often discussed while talking about mental health as something that needs to be prioritize. However, it’s not something we practice regularly as we get caught up in the business of our lives.
There are many ways to do this. You could take a daily ten-minute walk to air your thoughts without distractions. Another way is taking a long bath/shower at the end of the day. We understand that when working a busy shift regular breaks aren’t always feasible. However, it is important to find what works for you and prioritize your mental health in order to reduce your risk of burnout.
#4: Stay Active and Healthy
Similarly to self-care, it is important to keep active and healthy. This consists of exercising regularly, getting 9-hours of sleep, and eating a well-balanced diet. We hear it all the time, but there is a reason for this. This will fuel your body and keep you energized as much as possible throughout the day. Taking care of yourself will benefit you in so many ways, benefiting not only your mental health but your physical health as well.
#5: Explore Hobbies
Sometimes, we need ways to let off steam and distract ourselves from the daily toil of our lives. This is different for many people. Some take up a hobby, some spend time with their friends and family, and others partake in physical activities. People need to thrive outside of work, in order to thrive in work – it’s an important way to maintain balance. It’s essential to have fun and discover new things about yourself. So, our tip is to find fun outside of work, make going home just as enjoyable for you as going to work and vice versa.
#6: Ask for Help
One of the most important tips is to ask for help. This is something a lot of people struggle with; we often give help to those who need it but never ask for it ourselves. The problem with burnout is that it’s not too easy to recognize, so your colleagues and supervisors may not see the symptoms without you saying so.
Until you ask, you won’t know what systems are currently in place. Therefore, if you recognise any of the characteristics of burnout, or just want to find support, talk to a supervisor or HR manager to discuss what is available to you as a staff member.
If not, another alternative is to seek help from a medical or mental health professional.
But Don’t Worry – There is a Bright Side
25% of workers affected with burnout can improve. However, this number could be even higher with the efforts made by both the individual worker and the organization they work for.
The healthcare working environment has become stifled and continues to be high-pressured, even as the pandemic seems to be winding down. However, the pre-existing nature of burnout in healthcare means that something should have been done on an institutional level to protect the wellbeing of healthcare workers a long time ago.
On the other hand, healthcare workers should also be doing their part in protecting their own health and mental wellbeing, so that they may continue providing excellent patient care. We hope that, for those unsure of what steps to take in managing their mental health and reduce their risk of burnout, this article provides a place from which to start.
As a certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) t4h embraces diversity in the culture of our organization, our approach to business, and the opportunities we provide to clients, suppliers and employees. As a recognized thought leader in supplier and workforce diversity, we help clients build a diverse talent supply chain and inclusive workforce, as well achieve diversity spend objectives.