Caregivers are almost always the worst at caring for themselves. Nurses and others on the frontlines of the U.S. healthcare system are notoriously bad at taking time to rest and rejuvenate themselves. The latest data shows one-third of nurses are considering leaving their jobs due to burnout. Doctors are struggling just as much, along with just about everyone else in the field. But what if, instead of leaving your job, these healthcare professionals learned to relax and recharge?
It’s Okay to Recharge and Take a Mental Health Day
How Do You Even Know it’s Time for a Recharge?
Most healthcare professionals know the signs of burnout:
- No motivation
- Cynicism and frustration
- Trouble concentrating
- Declining job performance
- Conflicts at home or at work
- Unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking too much
- Decreased satisfaction with your life and work
- Health issues
Many of the signs of burnout are related to mental fatigue, particularly in a high-stress job that requires a high level of mental acuity, like healthcare. When doctors, nurses, or other clinical professionals experience burnout, medical mistakes can happen.
That fact should convince these professionals that taking a mental health day now and then is important and necessary not only to them but to the patients they serve.
How Can a Healthcare Worker Tell Their Supervisor They Need Time Off?
Here’s where things get a little tricky. The truth is there is still a stigma associated with mental health—and that extends to taking time off. Even some healthcare organizations may subtly dissuade their workers from taking a mental health break. We know it’s particularly hard to get time off for a doctor in an independent practice. But even hospital culture may frown upon taking the time the healthcare worker needs. If these professionals are asking for time off, they must do it in a way that is consistent with their company culture. In fact, they can just say they’re sick—after all, mental health is health.
How to Make Use of Your Mental Health Time
The best way to use a mental health day is to focus completely on rest and rejuvenation. It’s not a day to catch up on laundry or other household chores. Get a massage. Read a book. Make every minute count that isn’t spent on the job. Eliminate stress and negative emotions during the mental health day. The goal is to give the brain a break from the daily stresses that take up so much of the day in and day out in a busy healthcare setting.
The goal is to take on activities that the person enjoys but doesn’t do regularly. Self-care can include exercise or a spa day, taking a drive, to walking in the woods. It could even include doing laundry if that’s something that the person truly enjoys.
Have You Taken a Mental Health Day?
Enjoying something that is designed specifically for the healthcare professional can be difficult. Healthcare workers, after all, are there to take care of the rest of us. But the reality today is that a high proportion of our nation’s care providers are burning out. For these professionals, sometimes a change of scenery or a lower-stress environment is exactly what the doctor ordered. Talk with the team at the Custom Group of Companies. We help healthcare providers find a better match.
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