I am going to keep this short and to the point, because if you are anything like me you want the tips, the hacks for working smarter not harder without having to commit to reading a bunch of extra fluff. There is SO much information out there that sometimes it can feel like you are drinking from a fire hose. But today I am giving you 10 simple actionable tips for minimizing burnout that you can do in under 5 min!
Day in and day out as nurses we work to heal, support, and encourage others. Somedays it feels like we don’t even have a minute to pee, let alone do something to support our mental health and wellbeing. But we need it.
We can’t rely on others to save us and the truth is we do have the time. We need to prioritize ourselves, not sacrifice ourselves for the greater good, and first and foremost truly believe in our worth as human beings.
So here are a few things you can do during, just before, or just after your shift to avoid feeling burnout and overwhelmed. And yes 5 minutes makes a huge difference…simple doesn’t mean unimportant! 5 minutes every day for a week, a month, a year, adds up. And these small acts of self-nurture will become autopilot with practice and consistency and transform your perspective.
I challenge you to read through these and try one on for size this week! Maybe even get your work bestie in on it as your accountability buddy!
- I will start with the easiest of them all. Just take a PAUSE. There is so much power in a pause, even just for a minute or two. STOP and check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Do you have any immediate needs?
- BREATHE! You have your breath with you wherever you are so no excuses! Combine taking a pause with taking a breath. My favorite breathing technique is box breathing which has been used even by Navy Seals! To do box breathing you simply breathe in and fill your lungs for a count of 4, hold the air within your lungs for a count of 4, slowly exhale for a count of 4 then rest with your lungs empty for a count of 4. Repeat prn.
- LAUGH. We know that laughing actually changes your brain chemistry. It boosts all those “happy” neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin and decreases stress hormones like cortisol. So whether it is laughing at a nurse meme, a cat video or with friends, it’s worth it!
- STRETCH! Again, you can combine this with taking a pause and breathing. It helps with muscle tension, posture, and increases feelings of well-being.
- Have a solid POST SHIFT REFLECTION where you take 5 minutes to debrief from the day and celebrate the things you did well. It gives you space to think about how you are doing and what action steps are needed in the short term to help you feel more at ease, more in control of your emotions and less in fight or flight. Download my free one HERE if you aren’t sure where to start.
- Take an EXTRA 5 minutes in the bathroom. Yup, I said it. And honestly, it doesn’t matter what you do. Check in with yourself, check your email, text your friend, look at pics of your dog, do some jumping jacks, or cry. It doesn’t matter.
- HAVE A SNACK. Some easy scrub snacks that are full of protein and super easy to scarf down are nuts, string cheese, a yogurt smoothie, granola bar, cottage cheese and fruit, nut butter with apples, or carrots and hummus.
- GRATITUDE. At the end or beginning of your day think of 3 things you are grateful for. Over time this practice will help you train your mind to rid itself of the negative and cope with stress more effectively. It is helpful for improving self-esteem, minimizing depressive emotions and helps you stay on track with other positive lifestyle changes.
- Use a MINDFULLNESS APP with short meditations/visualizations like Calm, Insight Timer, Headspace and 10% Happier just to name a few. My personal favorite is Calm because I like their sleep stories and they also have a discount for healthcare workers if you go HERE.
- Shake it out, dance it off, or MOVE your body somehow! When it comes to movement just do what feels good to you. Obviously, this is limited while you are at work but even little things like taking the stairs and making it fun can help. I like to make it a challenge by skipping a stair as I run up. Keep in mind that it feels different when it is work-based movement because you are running around the floor tending to the needs of others vs mindful movement where you make an intentional choice to do something that feels good to you.
So which one sounds good? Which one do you think you can try this week?
As always I’ll end by saying that you truly aren’t meant to do life or nursing alone. If you are looking for community, support, empowerment and resources please check out my IG @catalystforselfcare and my website www.selfcarecatalyst.com.