Avoiding the Burnout Pitfall during your health care training
Aug 21, 2019
Burnout is defined as a physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress. Whether it's spending 60-plus hours a week toiling away at a job you hate, pulling a series of all-nighters to complete homework or study for a tough exam... too much stress and not enough rest can, and usually do, bring negative results.
Students seeking a health care degree from Concorde know that accelerated learning means that they'll be in their desired fields caring for people's needs and helping nurture wellness quicker than traditional programs. As with any state in life, stress is seemingly inevitable, especially as a college student. A little stress can be a good thing, but what happens when beneficial stress quickly turns into unhealthy amounts of anxiety? The result is burnout.
Burnout is more than just a bad day or feeling "stressed out" during finals. "Burnout is emotional, physical and mental exhaustion that is caused by ongoing stress," said Rhonda Gillylan, Student Services Advisor at Concorde's Tampa Campus.
It's important to recognize some of the early signs. Those can include high levels of stress or anxiety or feeling constantly on edge and jittery. "A symptom of burnout is feeling overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. Stress if left unchecked can cause students to lost interest in their educational and career goals or lead to health problems." Gillylan says.
A lack of engagement or lack of motivation can also be an early sign, as can an increased cynicism, distracted eating, Low energy and exhaustion and, of course, lack of sleep. Other, more advanced signs include physical illness, numb feelings or addictive behavior, not taking any breaks, and not getting enough exercise.
5 Tips to help prevent burnout
The best way to cope with burnout is to prevent it, if possible. Whether studying for a health care degree or any other type of schooling, self-care is the most important step in staying balanced and preventing that feeling of emotional or physical exhaustion.
Here are five simple tips to help prevent burnout:
- Making time in the morning for an inspirational activity such as journaling, meditating or reading. Picking something that's "just for fun" is a great way to start the day.
- Gillylan believes, "One of the best ways to avoid burnout is to think proactively and come up with a plan of action beforehand for all the 'what ifs' that can happen while in school, such as what if my car breaks down, how will I get to and from school? What if my babysitter is unable to watch my child? What if my clinical or externship hours conflict with my work schedule? Having to deal with situations reactively rather than proactively can lead to stress and feeling overwhelmed."
- Eating a healthy diet and maintaining good exercise and sleep habits is an important part of self-care. Not sure where to start? We have a few ideas in this blog!
- Believe it or not, taking a break from technology helps to recharge our internal batteries and provides that sense of being "unplugged" from all responsibilities. Choose a time each day to disconnect from laptops, phones, and television.
- Find and rely on a solid support system. You don't have to navigate the challenges of earning a health care degree alone. Whether it's your family, friends, classmates or folks on campus, being able to vent and to celebrate the wins along the way is one of the many ways you can prevent burnout.
Students already experiencing a state of burnout might need help overcoming their mental and physical exhaustion. Learning how to become and stay motivated again is easier once you understand the causes and solutions.
"A student can seek the help of their Student Affairs Department or anyone from the Concorde team to provide encouragement and support," said Gillylan, "As a Student Service Advisor, I enjoy helping students dealing with life issues by providing information on where to get help within the surrounding community."
Along with good self-care habits, emotional support, remembering what motivated you to seek a health care degree in the first place, and a solid plan of action, you can make your dreams a reality!