Nurses are the backbone of any healthcare system. They provide care to patients, often with little downtime or personal time for themselves. Nurses can burnout quickly without some key practices in place that will help them stay healthy and avoid stress. This blog post outlines 15 tips for CNAs on how they can maintain a healthy work-life balance and reduce their risk of burnout.
1. Create a routine
Have a routine so you can get the most out of your time. For example, if you work nights, wake up early in the morning to have some “me” time before heading off to work. If possible, take short breaks throughout your shift for simple tasks like drinking water or taking small walks outside.
2. Eat healthy foods
Being a CNA requires a lot of mental energy, which is why it’s important to eat healthy foods. Processed and fast food can leave you feeling heavy and lethargic when all you need is the energy to get through your day at work. In addition, eating fruits or vegetables will help boost brain function so you stay sharp throughout your shift.
3. Get enough sleep
CNAs work long shifts and often have to perform under pressure. As a result, it’s important for them to get enough sleep at night so they can be their best in the workplace. Determine how many hours of sleep you need per day (the recommended amount is between seven and nine) and strive to stick with that routine every night.
4. Keep your personal life separate from work
It’s fine to talk about your work with friends, but only if the conversation stays on topic. When talking about personal feelings or issues related to what you do at work, it can lead to burnout and cause problems within your professional relationships. Don’t let this happen! You are allowed to have personal problems, so keep your work life and home life separate.
5. Keep up hobbies you enjoy during downtime
It’s important to keep your personal life separate from work, but it can be hard when you only have a few minutes in between patients. During downtime at work (and even on breaks!), try finding something to do that will help take your mind off things and remind you there is more to life than just being a CNA!
6. Stay in touch with family and friends
We can’t forget about our personal relationships, which is why it’s important to stay in touch with family and friends. These are the people you call when something bad happens or simply need a break from work.
7. Set boundaries with patients and family members
CNAs are there to help. That said, boundaries need to be set with patients and family members so you aren’t taken advantage of or doing something outside your scope of practice. When it comes time for a patient transfer, call in another nurse if the task feels too overwhelming. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about asking for assistance!
8. Surround yourself with supportive people
Having friends who are supportive and understanding is important, especially during tough times. Surround yourself with people who understand your job as a CNA and the stresses that come along with it!
9. Ask for help when it is needed
Nurses are often the first line of defense when it comes to providing care, which means they need to be on top of their game at all times. That said, don’t hesitate to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or have too much work on your plate. At most hospitals CNAs aren’t allowed to say no, so learn how and when to say no and speak up when you need to.
10. Take care of your mental health
CNAs tend to be perfectionists, which can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety. Burnout is a real risk for nurses because they put so much pressure on themselves all the time. Take some time off now and then if that’s what it takes for you to mentally recharge and be the best CNA possible.
11. Take care of your physical health
CNAs who don’t take care of their own wellness may end up with a serious illness that is hard to recover from. Besides getting enough sleep, exercise can help ward off burnout by releasing endorphins which will increase energy levels and improve your mood.
12. Avoid stressful situations
Nurses are naturally caring, generous people who want to help everyone. However, this can lead to problems when the person they’re helping is trying their best not to be helped! Don’t let yourself get caught up in other people’s drama and avoid stressful situations whenever possible.
13. Find ways to relieve stress at home
It’s important to have fun and relax after work, which is why it’s a good idea for CNAs to find ways they can relieve stress at home. Whether that means taking the dog on an extra-long walk or watching your favorite TV show before bed, you need some downtime so you don’t burn out!
14. Use your vacation time
When was the last time you took a break? If it has been more than six months, it’s time to plan a vacation. No one should work every day without taking some personal time for themselves! When you use your vacation days, make sure the activities are relaxing and stress-free so you come back feeling refreshed.
15. Remember that not all patients will be grateful
Many people dream of becoming CNAs because they want to help other people. While this is a great reason to start your nurse training, it’s also important that you remember not all patients and their families will be grateful for what you do! Sometimes people don’t like nurses because they feel like we’re nosy or bossy when in reality we are there to help them get better.