Avoiding Burnout in a Chaotic Work Environment
Author: Ellise Floyd, Careworker @cca_life
I am a Careworker. We also go by the terms Continuing Care Assistant, Personal Support Worker, Care Aide, Resident Care Assistant, Nurse Assistant….the list goes on. I became a Careworker so I could bring respect and dignity to the aging population. I gently brush your Grandmother's hair and button up your Grandpa’s favourite sweater. During each shift, I strive to have intentional and meaningful encounters with every Resident. Having only one personal touch, or one heartwarming moment isn’t enough. I often get rush through my days, have to pick up extra shifts, and am constantly wracking my brain thinking of ways to improve the Residents' lives.
As a Wife, Mother and Healthcare worker I constantly feel the strain of burnout. Working in a high stress, fast-paced, understaffed facilities puts healthcare workers in the HIGHEST risk category. We are continually under pressure to work faster, longer and harder. I am going to touch briefly on a few habits I have adapted into my life to survive, and dare I say even THRIVE as a health care professional.
1. Start Your Day With a Positive Affirmation
Some days mine goes something like this. “I am happy. I am healthy. I am strong. I am kind. Today is good. I support others and others support me. I will be at ease and enjoy small wins.”
2. Set Intentions for the Day
I remind myself to avoid gossip and negativity. I decide to lift people around me up. If I know that I might clash with my coworkers I decide to take my breaks alone. I love listening to throw in my earbuds and listen to a short podcast. I give myself permission to vent to a trusted co-worker. Let’s be real, that is less toxic than telling everyone…..but also healthier than having no outlet. I put my focus on being my best self for my residents and coworkers.
3. Set Boundaries
Decide if you want to pick up extra shifts or make trades. Say something if your
workload is getting too heavy. Tell your partner that you can’t handle making any meals or doing any house cleaning this week. Tell your coworkers when they are bothering you, or you disagree with them.
4. Leave Work at Work
Once I walk out of the building at the end of the day I try to leave work relationships and work problems at the door. I spend a minute in my car thinking of what I will do
differently, the next day and then I turn up my music and try to decompress and let go.
5. Practice Self Care
For me, self-care is often spending an hour browsing the isles at my grocery store in silence. It’s planning vacations that won’t happen for 6 months. It’s cleaning out my email inbox and constructing ridiculous memes. It’s more often than not me going to bed at 8:30.
Most importantly if you are feeling burnt out TELL SOMEONE. There is no shame in being overwhelmed. We are living in a society that idealizes busy and it’s time to switch that mentality. It’s okay to slow down, it’s healthy to set boundaries and it is crucial that we value our mental health and wellbeing. As healthcare workers, it is vital that we take care of ourselves first so that we can be our best selves when we take care of others.
photo credit: @nofilter_noglory