Caregiver Burnout- Part 3

Treatment and Coping

Our team recognizes the importance of acknowledging the real struggles associated with caregiver burnout. Nurses are at the forefront of caring for others and face ongoing challenges to maintain a healthy life-work balance and emotional stability. Travelers, in particular, face the additional pressures of frequent moves, adjusting to new surroundings, and often times being physically distanced from their core support system of friends and family.

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the signs of caregiver burnout and the importance of recognizing these warning signals. In Part 2, our team compiled some helpful tips for preventing burnout. If you missed these or want a refresher, just click below:

Caregiver Burnout- Part 1- Recognizing the Signs

Caregiver Burnout- Part 2- Steps for Prevention

Now, in the third and final part of our series, we have gathered reputable advice for the treatment of burnout and some proven coping strategies.

What is Caregiver Burnout?

“Burnout” is described as feeling overwhelmed and exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally from the stress of caring for another person. Sufferers have a depleted ability to cope with their everyday environment. Even though caregiving is a chosen profession for nurses, they can still feel alone, unsupported, and unappreciated.

A significant contributor to the onset of burnout is lack of sleep and personal health. If nurses fail to take proper care of themselves, it can sadly dovetail to a loss of interest in caring for their patients and possible depression. If this situation is not addressed, it can result in an inability to provide good care and can be potentially harmful to the both parties.

Treatment and Coping with Caregiver Burnout

Dealing with caregiver burnout requires a commitment to making some important lifestyle changes. There is no magic cure that instantly relieves the feelings of being overwhelmed and unappreciated. Similar to treating the often-associated depression, you must take a multitude of steps to a path of recovery. The first and most important step is an honest self-assessment of where you are in terms of overall health, nutrition, and self-care. These areas should be addressed as priorities. Alongside, you should also explore the many treatments and coping strategies to help relive anxiety and stress on a continuous basis. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Create your own home away from home support system– travelers are usually faced with the added burden of feeling distanced from family and loved ones. Try to connect with at least one or two trusted friends while on assignment for quality face-to-face engagement. And, in addition, organize your virtual support system using zoom and FaceTime, with regular video chats so you can still feel connected to those you rely on most.
  • Music and art therapy – the right tunes and tempo will slow down your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing; also try calming down with an adult coloring book.
  • Apps (i.e., Calm and Headspace)– can be great tools to learn and practice stress management.
  • Yoga/tai chi, mindfulness meditation– these are wonderful options to refocus your energy, relieve tension, unwind and relax.
  • Grief counseling– seek professional therapy of you are struggling with loss or sorrow and can’t seem to handle it on your own.
  • Brainstorm ways to change workplace and workload– assemble a trusted group of colleagues and share ideas on how to improve working conditions.
  • Learn better communication skills– brush up on being assertive, a good listener and managing your emotions. These skills can bring positive results in both your professional and personal relationships.
  • Improve workload and organizational management skills– learning new techniques to help better manage your workload can increase confidence and efficiency, even when you can’t control the size of the workload.
  • Eat right– nurses often forget how important the proper fuel is to keeping energy levels up during a long shift. Don’t cut corners, plan for healthy nutrition day and night with good hydration.
  • Get enough quality sleep– sleep is vital to good health and feeling rested helps you handle stress; if you must sleep during the day invest in black out shades, an eye mask, ear plugs, anything that gives you a tranquil sanctuary.
  • Laugh more– find a favorite comedy or listen to some stand-up.
  • Reclaim your identity– set aside time to revisit a favorite hobby or passion.
  • Journal– writing down your most private thoughts, fears, and feelings without judgement from others is a very therapeutic form of release.
  • Exercise– guaranteed to release “feel-good” endorphins and helps reduce stress.
  • Feel empowered– remember every single day at your work makes a difference.

Don’t feel ashamed or alone if you suffer from symptoms of burnout. Across the globe, more than half of all nurses suffer at least once form caregiver burnout. The good news, most of the times, nurses report they get better with self-treatment and attention to lifestyle. Talk to other nurses, see if they can offer advice or just empathize with how you are feeling. Take care of yourself and don’t let things progress where you feel hopeless or in despair. If things aren’t looking up, seek immediate medical and professional help at your facility or click here for a list of Mental Health Resources for Nurses.

Be Well, Stay Well

Thank you to all our travel nurses, you are truly the Heart of Go. Visit here to meet some of our recently celebrated travel nurses. For more helpful articles for travelers, check out our travel blog!