Burnout. A very scary word in the nursing field, but a reality of our world that every nurse has experienced at one point or another. It is one of the biggest contributors to many nurses leaving the bedside or the profession all together. We are already short on nurses as it is, and we continue to lose more and more every day; and I came close to being the statistic. The pandemic did not help either, long hours, so many sick patients, wearing so much PPE, not even able to breath fresh air, and even the fear of catching the virus has increased the work and the stress levels.
As I was telling patients to take care of their bodies, I was not following that advice. My life was work, home and working on my master’s degree. Even after graduation, I did not take time to do something recreational to take my mind of off work. I felt despair and even some co-workers made comments that I was quiet and didn’t talk much; my patients did not receive the best care from me, no one died or anything bad happened, but it was not the well-rounded care that patients need. I was just going through the motions that years of experience gives you. Nursing was not the only thing that I stopped putting in effort in, my job as Media Coordinator for SoFlo Vegans and even this blog suffered. I had no inspiration to write, book new talent for the podcast, basically no inspiration to do anything, not even to go to the gym.
I knew that I had to get back into doing the things that I enjoyed; after graduation, I took a month off to do nothing, between nursing school, undergrad and graduate school, I had been in school for so long that I had nothing to do and I took full advantage of that. I started to realize that I could do whatever I wanted! I started to watch K-dramas and C-dramas (Korean or Chinese dramas, the Asian equivalent to novelas), listening to other genres of music other than classical for studying and realizing that I have freedom! Freedom to do nothing or the freedom to work on other projects or do other activities, as much as the virus will allow unfortunately.
Once I came to the realization of this new freedom, I gave myself the chance to do nothing…funny I know; but I have been doing so much for so long that just sitting on the couch with a cup of tea was a new found heaven for me. Even binge watching BTS concerts, reality and travel shows (I am a big fan of K-pop and especially BTS) on TV was awesome! As nurses or other medical professionals, we need to give ourselves time to get away from the medical mentality and enjoy the time off we have. I think now more than ever the saying of “work hard, play harder”, applies more now, more than ever.
Instead of one month, I took off two months, and it has been a great two months off that I have reconnected with myself, nature and even my fur babies. Yes, I still have to go to work, but I have been able to work my schedule into having multiple consecutive days off to recharge. I do not have tests, papers to write or practicums to do, so now I can concentrate of writing again and doing other things that I enjoy. We still do not know when this pandemic will be over but as nurses it is imperative that we take care of our bodies, minds, and spirits. Patients are many and nurses are few.
With peace and gratitude,