People who work in healthcare often take on long shifts, sometimes working two or even three shifts in a row. That’s hard on you, both physically and mentally. It’s very important that you take care of yourself in order to avoid burnout from those long hours on the job. Here are four ways to do just that:
Get enough sleep.
Sleep is one of the most powerful combatants for stress, so it’s crucial that you get enough of it. Of course, that can be easier said than done when you’re working long shifts or taking extra ones. Do your best to adjust your sleep schedule outside of work so that you can get enough sleep when you’re off the clock — don’t try to push it and cram more into your waking hours than you can handle.
Another great way to combat stress is exercising. That’s because physical activity releases endorphins in the brain, which help you feel better. And when you feel better, you relax and experience less stress. Try to fit in regular exercise around your work shifts; hit the gym, go on jogs around the neighborhood, or practice yoga at home. Regular physical activity is just as good for your body as it is for your mind!
Eating right is also essential for good mental health and lower stress levels. Drink plenty of water and try to limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats, and keep the processed foods and sugary beverages to a minimum. And don’t forget to eat meals in proper portion sizes; resist the urge to stress-eat.
Do things you enjoy.
Make sure that your time away from work isn’t only spent sleeping. Take time to do things you enjoy, whether it’s spending time with friends and family, a hobby like painting or writing, or indulging in a little shopping. Giving yourself something to look forward to in this way is very important — you must train your brain to remember that there is more to life than work!
If you’ve been working long hours and are starting to feel overwhelmed, it’s time to make a change. Talk to your family and friends about how you’re feeling, and consider reaching out to a counselor or mental health professional if you’re really struggling.
Is it time for a change in your career? If you’re in the market for a new position, reach out to Health Advocates Network for help. Visit our Jobs page to see what’s available.