Student Blogs

When Your Battery Runs Low

Written by: Koralys Rodriguez

Burnout is defined as “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity”. Most of us hear this word and will deny that we are experiencing it. We tend to ignore it and think of it as something that will happen after years of working in the same position or at the same place, but it does not always happen like this. There are a lot of signs of burnout that we are not aware of.

As we all know, burnout can happen to any of us who are continually exposed to high levels of stress. Being caregivers, we reach this stage much faster than others. Speaking from my personal experience, those who struggle with their mental health to begin with will feel that loss of enjoyment and accomplishment at an even faster rate.

So how can we prevent this caregiver burnout? Here’s a list of things you can do:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Needing help doesn’t make us a bad nurse/Health Care Professional (HCP)/caregiver. Remember that we are not alone in this battle. If it must, consider seeking professional support. There is no shame in healing yourself.
  • Allow yourself to take a break. We often think of taking care of ourselves as the selfish thing to do when we have so many others to care for. But allowing ourselves to refuel is vital. Focus on relaxing and recharging during your rest days. Be firm about your needs. Talk to others and let them know what's happening.
  • Ask someone to keep you accountable for your self-care. Have someone check in on you every once in a while to make sure you're doing the things you should be doing for yourself. They can help keep you accountable for things like taking your medicine, making appointments, eating/drinking enough, cheering you up, and more. Remember, no man is an island!
  • Allow yourself to feel your feelings, and then find a way to express them. This may look different for everyone. Never invalidate, deny, reject, or dismiss your feelings. Learn how to just accept and feel them. One way to overcome burnout is to meditate, pray, or journal your feelings or whatever comes into your mind.
  • Work on prioritization and organization. Once you know what you must do and when you have to do things, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. We were never made to take everything on. No matter how small the progress is, still consider it as an achievement.
  • Communication and honesty with your support team and with yourself are key throughout all of this. If you’ve tried all these steps and you still find yourself drained and unhappy with where you are, consider a change. Admitting that you need something new is not a failure. Sometimes, taking that leap of faith is all we need!

Burnout is real, and it is rough. Be open to help and be open to change. And remember, you are capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for!