Burnout | Stress & Self-Care A Nurse’s Guide to Stress Nurse stress has negative health consequences and there are ways to combat it. To keep stress in check, nurses should strive to achieve a healthy work/life balance. To deal with nurse stress in the long...
Simple Affirmations for the Burned-Out Nurse
- The climate and challenges of today’s healthcare system leave nurses feeling overwhelmed and burnt out.
- We strive to meet the needs of others, and at times that leads to not meeting needs of our own.
- Simple daily affirmations can help the burned-out nurse ready to tackle the job, one day at a time.
The climate and challenges of healthcare today can easily lead to feelings of burnout and overwhelm, especially in nursing care. We strive to meet the needs of others, and at times that leads to not meeting needs of our own.
The revocation of premium incentive pay offered during the pandemic, unsafe staffing ratios due to staffing crises or high patient volume, unreceptive leadership, and patients who seem sicker than ever merely scratch the surface of the contributing factors that cause overwhelm for healthcare staff.
Add these professional challenges to the existing challenges of home and family life, and a recipe for exhaustion, stress, and fatigue develops.
Focusing on key affirmations to review or recite is one step in combating these feelings and re-centering. Even on the most overwhelming days, taking a few moments to consider, process, and reflect upon the following affirmations immediately allows me to refocus, overcome obstacles, and move along in providing quality care to patients who need me.
Repeat these sentences to help the burned-out nurse.
I can do anything, but not everything.
Most days spent in nursing feel like hurdles are present in every direction. Prioritization and delegation are essential to keeping yourself afloat.
Decide what situation is the highest priority and what you can delegate to someone else. Delegation is not failure; it is a responsible way to ensure that patients get the care they need and that we, caregivers, do not sink.
My job does not define me.
It is easy to become fully absorbed into the role of a healthcare worker and not be able to hang our scrubs at the door when we go home. Bad shifts can lead to lousy time off if we carry the role and stressors with us outside of work.
Make sure to hang up your work “hat” (or, more likely, stethoscope) when you walk away from even the most intense shift so that you can step into your other roles and be present in your time away from work.
Making time away from work count and investing in relationships, hobbies, and other fulfilling activities will help to mitigate feelings of losing yourself to your profession.
Today is not everyday.
Even the worst days are temporary.
Take a deep breath, even in the most difficult of moments, and know that the current challenge will pass, and tomorrow is a new day.
My manger is here to support me, not read my mind.
Feeling unseen or misunderstood by leadership is a quick way to build resentment and intolerance in the workplace. When appropriate, voice your concerns and share your thoughts with leadership tactfully and objectively.
Frustration with work, coworkers, or management only affects you personally when internalized if you do not bring them to light with management. We cannot expect to be heard or understood if we do not use our voices, and we cannot expect others to predict or decode how we are feeling.
My health is my number one priority.
How can we take care of others if we do not care for ourselves? If you are a burned-out nurse, take time for yourself to heal and recover. Furthermore, well-being extends beyond physical health and feeling mentally and emotionally unwell should be seen as a reason to take the time necessary to regroup and recharge.
Most employers offer employee wellness programs for mental health services to cope with anxiety, depression, relationship troubles, and grief. Small acts such as taking time to rest, exercise, eat well, spend time with loved ones, or make time for personal self-care are all impactful in our mental wellness.
Ensuring that our physical, emotional, and mental battery is charged allows us to contribute to the care of others in meaningful and effective ways.
The Bottom Line
Nursing care in any setting comes with unique challenges. When those challenges become too much for us to cope with positively, it is time to take action to prevent or alleviate the burned-out nurse.
Simple affirmations used daily (or throughout the day) are valuable tools that allow us to look internally and objectively at our emotions. Positive self-talk has helped in both my personal and professional life to process and tackle the obstacle at hand, one moment, one step, one breath, at a time.
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