One most common red flags associated with burnout is the tendency to postpone our own self care. Nurses, doctors, care staff, social workers (whatever area you work in) if you’re highly invested in your role with minimal self care strategies you could be at greater risk of burning out according to Leiter & Maslach (2005). A habit of postponing behaviour starts to gain traction and we neglect the areas of our lives which renew us, revive us and give us a sense of control, peace and joy in our lives. In the now.
“I don’t have time”, I’m too tired”, “not another thing to have to organise” “I don’t have the inclination, “I can’t afford it” (time, money, resources),” I won’t keep it up”, “it doesn’t make much of a difference anyway” “I’ll start next Monday”. “I’ll start when she comes back and tells me if Wednesday evenings suit her too”, “I can’t get a baby sitter”, I don’t like working out on my own”. “I my knee is still sore” “I’ll start when I finish this next matter”, “I’ll do it when things ease up” “I’ll do it when things change……”
Lowered awareness of our own needs can become destructive at work. We can start to overwork as we switch off and allow ourselves to be distract from our own needs both physical and psychological. We get into the habit of not knowing what it is that we need and so we go onto autopilot, moving from patient to patient, eating on the run, just keeping our selves in survival mode. And the process speeds up.
BUT, self care starts with making very small changes.
Creating space for self awareness can start today. Try taking 5 minutes to do Alternate Nostril Breathing.
before or after a meeting
after a toilet break
or after lunch
Taking snippets from your day to check in and destress can start this process. Developing your awareness of what you need in the now is the key element of this practice.