Navigating and Conquering Holiday Burnout

Adult daughter with aging father in a wheelchair at Christmas.

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Halloween has passed, and the end-of-the-year holidays are officially here! Every year, we look forward to spending time with family and friends that we may not see very often. We hope to put on our stretchy pants and eat until we stretch out onto the couch to watch NFL football or binge-watch the latest Hallmark movie.   

However, the busy holiday season is not always picture perfect and work life can be complicated with family issues, stress, or financial worries.  Caregivers are especially vulnerable as work and home compete for time and attention.  Here is some food for thought that can help combat anxiety as we head into this busy season: 

There are easily identifiable signs such as feeling constantly overworked, regularly feeling too tired to go to work, not looking forward to your job, feeling unappreciated, or like your work does not matter. These are the visible signs, but there are other symptoms that may not be as obvious such as struggling to sleep, tension in the body, or feeling depressed. 

Caregiver burnout can be defined as a “state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion.” This can affect your attitude, from positive to negative feelings. Typically, caregiver burnout refers to a loved one caring for their elderly parents. However, as professional caregivers, burnout can occur, too. After a 12-hour shift, you may feel exhausted, stressed, and need a mental break. In the end, this could mess with your sleep cycle appetite and cause irritation and anxiety. 

Burnout as a nursing assistant, medication aide, or nurse can happen – with the sole focus for caring for others, sometimes it is easy to forget to take care of yourself. You are on your feet, tending to residents’ needs, and sometimes juggling inconsistent shift schedules. In some cases, extra floor coverage may be needed, and picking up that extra shift could interfere with down time with family and friends.   

Set aside time to focus on yourself. It can be 15-30 minutes to watch your favorite TV show, read your favorite book, or listen to a podcast. Exercise is another great option to spend time on yourself. Not only does it benefit your physical health, but also your mental health. Take a 30-minute walk by yourself, your friend, your spouse, or even your furry companion. 

Another option is to take 15-minute breaks at work. This can include sitting down to take a breath and drink water or taking a walk around the grounds to get a breath of fresh air. 

Ask your colleagues for help! Whether you need an extra hand with a resident, or just need a little extra emotional support. Choose a supportive colleague who can give you a pep talk to get you through your shift. You can also ask for training on how to better cope with the job demands.

Mission Health’s benefit platform has internal resources such as Teladoc. For the remainder of 2023, you can open the Teladoc app and easily schedule an appointment to quickly meet with a counselor. On January 1, 2024, you will have access to First Stop Health counselors, who are available 7 days a week to help you improve your mental health. 

Another something special, Mission Health and Calvin Stovall partnered to create a Caring in Harmony video series especially for staff. If you need a little inspiration and push, listen to Calvin’s videos found in the Yapp app. From Culture and Attitude to Excellence and Change, Calvin’s soothing and inspirational voice will help guide you through the hardest days. You can watch his latest video here and learn how to make connections and trust with other colleagues. The people that you make strong connections with can help you through the toughest of times. 

Avoiding burnout within your team starts with awareness. Let’s start the stress-free journey by visiting Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ site to start making healthy changes together. Become familiar with the signs of burnout and address them with your team. Join the challenge and begin eliminating stress from the workplace. Sign up with the link above, take the Healthy Nurse survey, and see how other skilled nursing employees are coping with stress!

To nursing assistants, medication aides, RNs, LPNs, and all the other incredible hardworking staff in communities throughout the US – Mission Health thanks you for spending the holidays with the residents and their families – your dedication and commitment is nothing short of outstanding.  We appreciate all the joy you bring during the holidays and throughout the year!  

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