Written by Francine Baffa, LICSW, BCBA-D
Edited by Joe DeNoon
Simply stated, “If you don’t want to get burnt out…stop living in the fire!”
We all need to be conscious of how we nurture ourselves—my friend said it best when she stated, ” Yoga is practice, taking care of yourself is an action!” We exist in a culture of scarcity — one where we are led to think we are never enough. Not thin enough, not rich enough, not working hard enough, not spending enough time with our kids, the list goes on and on.
Burnout can be considered the latest co-epidemic, but one that can be remedied. From longer work hours to increased demands at home, current times have introduced new stressors to nearly every domain of our lives, and some occupations are more vulnerable than others to the effects of burnout. Christina Maslach, PhD, a professor emerita of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley cites that healthcare workers are uniquely prone to high rates of burnout. These stressors likely won’t stop anytime soon, so stress-reducing measures should be on top of our minds. That’s especially important in healthcare settings where attrition rates are especially high. The first step you can take happens the moment when you are asked to take on your next task, such as the added presentation at the conference, the bake sale at school, the extra run to a sports team practice, or hosting the next dinner party. Take that moment to acknowledge that although you can take on the task, it may actually bring diminishing returns, as it will overextend you and take away from what you are able to give in the other areas of your life. This may be a counterintuitive action at first. Push through that feeling, and you will see the benefits.
Nurturing ourselves starts with identifying our needs. Take the time to reflect on your deepest yearnings and longings. Think about where you’re feeling empty. Where is there a gaping void or a small crack? Think about what you need emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Think about what a fulfilling, satisfying life looks like for you. Challenge yourself to identify what burnout may look like to you, set your boundaries, and then create that clearing – the space for you to just be.