Self-Care Tips to Combat Burnout

Ignacio Navarro

Burnout is a real and persistent problem in healthcare today. The journal Cureus published a study in 2018 showing the state of today’s healthcare professional: One-half of doctors in the U.S report burnout symptoms. Health Leaders Media says, “stress and burnout in the healthcare industry is a major problem that leads to negative health behaviors.” The COVID-19 crisis has only increased the burden of maintaining a healthy lifestyle during a busy medical career. Here are some tips to avoid burnout and stay healthier while serving in the healthcare field.

Preventing Stress and Avoiding Healthcare Burnout

Taking a step back from your busy professional career can be like hitting the reset button. Taking a weekend off to reboot is important for stress reduction. Daily self-care can include getting more sleep, eating healthier foods, and exercising.

Mind you, most of us spend our days reminding patients of these important self-care steps, but we all know that healthcare professionals far too often fail to take their own advice. Sleep is particularly important; rarely do any of us seem to get the eight hours we’re supposed to.

Eating well when we are stressed is almost an oxymoron; the harder we work it seems, the more we crave carbs, sugar, and salt. Who wants to come home after a long dinner and cook? In these situations, self-care may consist of subscribing to a healthy meal planning service one or two days a week to offset our desire to order takeout or grab fast food. Meal prep can help in this area, as well. Taking an hour or two each weekend to plan your food for the week and then doing advance preparation will help you improve your diet and your health.

Exercising during lunch hour seems laughable as many of us are on our feet running between beds for 10-hours a day. Conversely, some healthcare executive jobs are sedentary; pushing paper requires very little movement. But the bottom line in both cases is that some sort of exercise designed to clear the mind and body of excess cortisol is crucial. For the active-duty clinical team, even 10-minutes of stretching each morning before a shift or right before bed can do wonders for your sleep.  For those in administration, setting your phone to remind you to take a walk or some other type of physical activity during the workday is critical to help you maintain your health during the rigors of a career in medicine.

Finally, it is far too easy to let work consume us. Healthcare workers must take the time to listen to what their bodies are saying to them. If you feel run down, pay attention, and take care of yourself. Your immune system is not infallible. Giving your body the support it needs will help lower your stress and prevent you from becoming the next victim of healthcare burnout.

If your stress is so high that you find yourself considering another job, connect with healthcare recruiting experts a MedSource Consultants. We are here to support healthcare workers with options for new careers.