How can healthcare workers prioritise their well-being and self-care in order to reduce burnout
With the British Medical Journal revealing that levels of staff burnout within the care sector are still increasing, there has never been a better time to focus on the mental well-being and overall happiness of some of the most hard-working teams in the UK.
Despite these numbers continuing to rise and only 27% of healthcare workers, asked in a 2021 survey, feeling that there are enough members of staff on each ward, there has been very little government support offered.
With this in mind, the patient safety and compliance experts at Radar Healthcare have compiled a list of simple yet effective methods of self-care, in order for healthcare workers to use during times of crisis and help them to successfully switch off after a long shift.
Try to calm your mind after a stressful day. This can be easier said than done, so do not feel disappointed if you still have work-related issues on your mind. A recent article highlighted how re-watching a television programme that you have previously seen can be a great way to reduce anxiety, as you will know exactly what to expect. The same article also indicated that this feeling of control could be useful for a healthcare worker that may feel very little control over their work at times.
Don’t take work home with you. One of the easiest ways to burn yourself out is to take a stressful day at work back home with you. As difficult as it may be, you have to tell yourself that your home life and work life are completely separate from one another - otherwise, you may as well be at work 24/7. Home is your safe space, where you can think about friends, family, and what you are going to have for tea that night - do not let things you cannot control taint your peaceful sanctum.
Share your thoughts with other people. While a lot of people avoid doing this as they do not want to ‘trauma dump’ on somebody that may be experiencing something difficult themselves, talking things out allows self-expression and the opportunity to receive helpful advice. If you are worried about overwhelming somebody, ask them whether they are able to listen to your problems - if they have too much on their plate already, this is their chance to let you know. Once you have opened a channel of support and communication, it can always be there to fall back on when times get tough.
Try not to let a night shift take over your day. This can be a very tricky situation to overcome, but it could be hugely beneficial to try to enjoy your day before a night shift - rather than sitting and waiting for work to begin. One of the most effective ways to distract yourself is to make plans with friends or family members, as talking to them will hopefully allow you to stop thinking about the working night ahead. Remember: it is a night shift for a reason, so try to make the day your own by spending it doing something you truly enjoy.
Bring something comforting to the workplace. A recent Forbes article revealed that ‘petting an animal’ was an effective way of nurturing your ‘inner child’, so why not invest in something soft and weighted as a way to calm your senses when things start to get on top of you at work? This is nothing to be embarrassed about, as many people have unresolved issues that can make adult/work life stressful for them. If something works for you, it could work for somebody else, too.
Despite there being tips and tricks available to avoid burnout in the workplace, it can sometimes be out of our control. If this is the case for you, try not to be too hard on yourself or force yourself to feel ok again when you still feel stretched too thin. It is important to sit with your emotions and work out where they are coming from in order to try to resolve them, as well as coming up with coping mechanisms to assist you throughout the day.