Working as a home care provider can be a challenge at times. Whether you are doing 24hr nursing care at home or are working as one of many in-home care providers assigned by a personal home care agency, the opportunity to overexert yourself is ever-present.
How To Identify Burnout
How do you know if you are overexerting yourself or if you are burnt out? The Mayo Clinic provides a list of simple questions you can ask yourself to help determine if you genuinely feel burnt out or tired that day. These questions include:
- Have you become cynical or critical at work?
- Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
- Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers, or clients?
- Are you not getting the energy to be consistently productive?
- Having a hard time concentrate?
- Are you lacking satisfaction from your achievements?
- Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
- Are you using food, drugs, or alcohol to feel better or not to feel?
- Have your sleep habits changed?
- Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?
This list of questions addresses the common things one feels when one becomes burnt out. However, it is possible to experience these same things with other health conditions such as depression.
Burnout can cause you to provide a lower level of care to your patients. It is common to feel this when you struggle to balance your work and personal life, have many patients or very long days or think you have little to no control over your workday. This can be especially difficult when you have patients who themselves are struggling or in pain. It can be very draining to want to help your patient but cannot fully resolve their issues.
How To Treat Burn Out: Be Aware
So, how do we address or treat burnout? As with many things in life, the first and most significant step towards improvement is awareness of the issue. Be mindful of how you feel and when you feel that way. Identifying the problem sets you up to make a plan of action.
Talk with Your Supervisor and Seek Support
Once you have identified that you are experiencing burnout, you will want to go to your supervisor and discuss your options. If you work for a personal home care agency, they may even have resources for you like an employee assistance program. Even just talking with your supervisor can help you feel less alone. You can discuss the possible source (or sources) of burnout, and they can help you prioritize your goals. This alone can help you feel less overwhelmed.
Next, you will want to seek support. This can be in the form of family, friends, or other co-workers. Seeking out people who will listen to you and support you when you are feeling down or overwhelmed will keep you from becoming isolated. Having an entire support system can help all areas and make it easier for you to renew your mind and body if you find yourself experiencing burnout.
Finally, you will want to step up your modes of self-care. Everyone needs and deserves to participate in self-care, but home care providers especially need to.
If you are wondering what to think about it: when you are constantly providing in-home nursing services for patients, you are giving of yourself over and over again without renewing yourself. Taking the time to self-care will help you feel rejuvenated.
This can be done by relaxing activities you enjoy, such as reading a book or completing a puzzle. It can also be a part of your daily routine of caring for yourself, such as exercise or ensuring you get enough sleep
When you are filling yourself up, you prepare yourself to care for your patients in the way they deserve. If you neglect yourself, you are also neglecting your patients, as you will not fully care for them as their home care provider if you are not caring for yourself, too.
Your talent, bedside manner, and expertise are always needed at TLC HomeCare. We hope you will take the initiative to care for yourself and either treat or prevent burnout so that you can work with us for a long time.