Between work, fewer daylight hours, and the fast-approaching holiday season, it’s easy to experience burnout this time of year. If you’re feeling resentful, unfulfilled, exhausted, or bored of your job, these are your body’s warning signs that it’s time to make some changes—fast! Check out the following tips to reduce stress and beat holiday burnout.

1. Take inventory of your work-life balance.

Chances are good your work-life balance has gotten out of whack. When you’re home, are you able to disengage from work? Or, do you find yourself continually thinking about your job even when you’re not there? How’s your sleep, or your exercise regimen? If you’re overly focused on work and neglecting the activities that enhance your life, now is the time to reevaluate how you spend your time. Try shifting your attention to the things that increase your energy and sense of optimism, as opposed to drain or diminish them.

2. Immerse yourself in self-care.

As natural-born caregivers, it’s almost standard practice to put other people’s needs before your own. But if you want to beat burnout, it’s essential you incorporate a variety of strategies to help you unwind, relax, and rest each day. Maybe there’s a novel you’ve been excited to read? Or, perhaps you’ve been craving some time immersed in nature? Find whatever it is that de-stresses you and carve out some time for yourself. If need be, mark it on your calendar, and make these self-care activities non-negotiable. To combat burnout, you must continually recharge your mental, physical, and spiritual battery.

3. Set boundaries and stick to them.

This time of year, it’s almost a given that you’ll be tempted to overextend yourself in some way. But the more depleted you become, the closer you’re inching toward full-blown burnout. Set your boundaries for your work and home life and stick to them, even if you’re concerned you might be letting others down. Simply put, you can’t function well if you’re running on empty or ignoring the parameters you’ve set in place to revive you.

4. If you can take time off, consider doing it.    

Nursing is a 24/7 job, and patients’ health needs don’t stop just because the holidays are approaching. Knowing that others depend on you can create a sense of pressure that makes you feel like you can’t take time off. However, if you have the option to use some of your vacation time, consider doing it. Time away from work will help you feel less overwhelmed and more rejuvenated. Plus, you don’t need to travel if you don’t have the time or money; planning a short staycation might be just the thing you need to rest up.

5. Attend a continuing education class.

If you’re like me, your email inbox is flooded with a list of end-of-the-year sales for continuing education courses. There’s nothing quite like learning a new skill or deepening your understanding of an existing technique to re-invigorate your nursing practice and know that you’re helping your patients to the best of your abilities, and you’re combating burnout in the process!

Jennifer Lelwica Buttaccio

Jenny Lelwica Buttaccio, OTR/L, is a Chicago-based, freelance lifestyle writer, licensed occupational therapist, and certified Pilates instructor. Her expertise is in health, wellness, fitness, and chronic illness management.

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