Top 6 Tips For Avoiding Burnout

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.

Whether you’re a nurse, student, or parent, we all face the same challenge: time. In a profession that revolves around caring for others, it’s not unusual for us to neglect ourselves. It’s a dangerous and slippery slope to go down.

We get swept up in countless responsibilities, obligations and assignments, often forgetting that our tank is running on empty. It’s important to stop, take a breath and recharge. Life is not a sprint…it’s a marathon. Avoid burnout by taking a few moments to take care of yourself:

1. Fuel Up

Limited time? Not a problem. Smoothies are a great way to get essential vitamins and minerals on the go. Healthy snacks like baby carrots, peanuts, cheese sticks, apples, oranges and yogurt require no preparation time and can be taken anywhere. Three meals a day are ideal, but when that isn’t possible, be sure to continually snack on healthy foods throughout the day.

2. Get Some ZZZs

There is no substitute for sleep (sorry!). Most medical errors are made during the last hours of the shift. Don’t feel guilty for taking a little extra time to recharge. You’re doing a favor not just for yourself, but your patients and loved ones as well. In situations where sleep gets skimpy, power naps of less than 30 minutes have been shown to improve alertness, restore wakefulness and increase productivity.

3. Unwind

Get your mind off of work. Disconnect. Unplug. People unwind in different ways–what’s your niche? Explore what works for you. Yoga, hiking, art, working out and music are just a few avenues. Even if it’s just for a few minutes before bed, let your brain rest so you can dominate at full force later.

4. Process

Whether it’s delivering bad news to family members or witnessing a patient’s condition crumble, nursing is emotionally taxing. Talk to a friend, family member, coworker, someone. If a long conversation isn’t possible, journal. Utilize the notepad feature on a smartphone, carry a pocket sized memo pad, or incorporate journaling into your bedtime routine. It’s important to process heavy emotions so they don’t weigh you down later.

5. Flex Time

Lifting weights isn’t the challenge…finding time to is. If you have a one-hour lunch break, spend the first half working out. Multitask on the bikes or treadmill. Make gym time a fun event and go with friends. If getting to the gym is difficult, find a YouTube workout video you can do at home. Exercise is a great way to rejuvenate your body and blow off steam.

6. TLC

Everyone needs some tender love and care. Juggling an active work, family and social life gets tricky. One way to balance it? Never eat alone. We all have to eat…might as well eat with company! Another great way to keep in touch with loved ones is to utilize transportation time to catch up on the phone (hands-free, of course) or send emails (if taking public transportation). With technology it’s even possible to hang out without having to leave your house (i.e. Skype, Google Hangouts or Facetime).

It’s impossible to continue helping others when our batteries are near empty. Don’t feel guilty. You’ve got to help yourself before you help anyone else…and helping yourself may be the biggest favor you can do for someone else!

How do you avoid burnout?  Share your tips in the comments section below.

This article was republished with permission from SCRUBS Magazine.


  1. Too late. The corporate forces that are focused on money and could care less about nurses made that happen a long time ago

  2. Avoid burnout? Are you serious here? All facilities that Nurses work in are totally profit-oriented, period. That means short-staffing, long hours, paltry raises, and back-stabbing co-workers. We do the dirty work on the floor every day and get no gratitude. It’s all a money game…the Hippocratic Oath became the Hypocritic Oath long ago. We are not providing care, we are mere pawns to generate massive revenue for the big corporate owners. So shove that stupid question please. It’s not a matter of IF you will burn out, it’s a matter of WHEN you will burn out.

  3. Getting out side and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation really helps reset perspective and priorities. Breathing in clean air and pausing to let your eyes feast on the beauty all around. Another helpful reset is to watch small children/babies at play or play with them yourself.
    Fill your heart with God’s love by praise music or reading the BIBLE.


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