How Can You Avoid Burnout As A Healthcare Worker?

images-10Do you ever feel like you are running on empty? If you had known then what you know now, would you have made the same choices? In life, in your relationships, in your career?
As a bright-eyed 20 something, all I wanted to do was be a veterinarian. I had always had a passion for animals, considered myself a “people person” and had an affinity for the sciences and math. Veterinary medicine was a logical career path for me and one I was passionate about. After graduation, my husband and I (also a veterinarian) moved across the country to start our life as newlyweds and recent veterinary graduates. The world was our oyster! We had careers we loved and had worked hard for, new jobs in a beautiful state and we were ready to take on the world! A short time later, we welcomed our first child into our lives and settled in to life as working parents. It all seemed so natural, so normal. This is what everyone did, right? We had each other and jobs we loved and had started our family with a child we adored.
So, why did I find myself on the edge of burning out less than 5 years later? Why was I feeling so tired, apathetic and downright depressed sometimes? I often wondered, “Why does it have to be so hard to do what we love?”
When you first decided to go into your career of choice, did you think about the toll it would take on you emotionally? Physically? I know I didn’t. I just forged ahead and thought that as long as I made the right choices in my career and relationships all would be well. I worked in supportive environment with clients I loved and had a good home life with a man I loved and children I adored. So, why was everyday so hard? Only 5-7 years into doing what I loved and I was finding that the days were getting harder. Now, don’t misunderstand me. There were good days and bad and more good than bad. It’s just that I was feeling drained all the time. I was burning out and I didn’t even know it.
imagesWhat does feeling burned out even mean? I think it’s probably different for everyone. For me, I was giving of myself to my clients, my patients, my coworkers, husband and children. There was simply nothing left for me. I certainly wasn’t putting my health as a priority in my life and it was showing both outwardly and inside. I had put myself on a back burner for so long, that I didn’t even realize the toll it was taking on me until I was in trouble. Until I was 50 pounds overweight, tired and overwhelmed. It was taking a toll on every aspect of my life. My marriage, my relationship with my children and my performance at work. I had to do something.
I pulled myself out of it day by day. Step by step. It took me a long time and I probably could have avoided most of that difficulty if I had recognized what was happening earlier or if I had taken the steps to avoid it all together. It doesn’t have to be that way. for you. There are steps you can take when you start feeling the symptoms to avoid and recover from burnout. It’s not always easy, and it does take self-awareness to even realize you are in trouble.

Top 5 Tips For Avoiding Burnout:
1. Talk it out. It may seem simple, but voicing your feelings and the difficulties you are experiencing is the first step. Just acknowledging that you aren’t ok is the first step. Reach out to your family and friend or your spouse for support and consider whether or not a seeking a professional that can be objective would be beneficial.

2. Recharge: Schedule time in your life to take care of you. An afternoon walk, a bubble bath, a yearly retreat perhaps? One of the first steps is to start to value your own time and to spend time on you and not everyone else. If you aren’t taking good care of yourself, you can’t take care of others.

3. Say no and say no often: Did you just laugh when you read that? If you did, it’s probably because you know you are a people please and a yes person, just like me. But honestly, you can’t possibly carve out time for yourself if you are constantly overscheduling by doing for others.

4. Exercise and eat right: You knew it would be in here somewhere, didn’t you? When you exercise, you release “feel good” endorphins that will make everything seem better. Treat yourself and your body to at least 30 minutes of exercise, several times a week. Nutrition is key as well. In order for your body to function well, you have to feed it well. Consider meal planning weekly to be sure you have something healthy to eat in your busy day. Join an accountability group for support.

5. Evaluate your choices: Sometimes, not always, your original life plan needs to be altered. Be willing to look at the choices you have made and evaluate if the plan should be changed. Yes, that’s scary and yes it’s hard, but isn’t your health and your happiness worth it?

My decision to change my life didn’t come easily. I loved being in veterinary practice, my clients and my patients. When we decided to pursue a new path in our lives it was after deep thought and consideration. My choice to pursue health and fitness coaching from home, stay home with our kids and leave full time practice was the scariest decision I have ever made. I was petrified! Now, as I look at our lives, I am so thankful I made the decision when I did. My business as an online health and fitness coach allows me to enjoy practice as a veterinarian now on a very part time basis and I am able to be with our kids at home when they need me. I can take the lessons I have learned and use them to help others avoid the pitfalls I fell in to.

Are you ready to start living a healthier life but don’t even know where to begin? Do you need help getting started on a path to a healthier life physically and emotionally? If so, take my free 5 day challenge and start today.

Chea :)

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