4 ways to rest in order to overcome nurse practitioner burnout

overcome nurse practitioner burnout

As nurse practitioners, we are constantly stressed about our jobs. Whether we experience a lack of work-life balance or nurse practitioner burnout, a significant cause is likely from our nurse practitioner job.

With the demands of our nurse practitioner jobs increasing and the availability of support is diminishing, it is hard for many nurse practitioners to truly rest and recharge. But being able to step away from our jobs, mentally, physically, and emotionally, is an important way to overcome nurse practitioner burnout. 

What is nurse practitioner burnout?

Nurse practitioner burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that can leave you feeling drained, unproductive, and overwhelmed. Nurse practitioner burnout can occur as a result of chronic stress, overwork, lack of support, or a sense of loss of control over your work or personal life. If left unaddressed, burnout can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental and physical health problems.

It can manifest as a lack of motivation, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, and other symptoms that affect your well-being and quality of life. Nurse practitioner burnout can occur in any profession or situation where there is chronic stress, such as a demanding job, caregiving, or a personal crisis.

However, there are ways to overcome nurse practitioner burnout, and one of the most effective ways is to rest and recharge. 

Why is rest and recharge important to overcome nurse practitioner burnout?

Rest and recharge are important ways to overcome nurse practitioner burnout because they allow the body and mind to recover from stress and replenish energy levels. When you are experiencing burnout, your body is in a state of constant stress, which can lead to physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.

Resting and recharging help to reduce stress, improve mental clarity, and boost energy levels. It helps nurse practitioners create a better work-life balance. To have more energy and time to spend with our families. To let our bodies truly rest and recharge for the draining work we do as nurse practitioners. 

Four ways to rest in order to overcome nurse practitioner burnout.

Take a long break from work.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but how many vacation days or PTO hours do you currently have? It is important to plan long breaks away from work. This allows more time to rest and recharge to overcome nurse practitioner burnout. Why do nurse practitioners not take days off?

For many, it can be more work to actually take time off. But remember, nurse practitioners cannot care for others if we do not first care for ourselves. The office will not fall apart without you! It’s important to take time off to rest and recharge! 

Severely struggling with nurse practitioner burnout?

I have talked to many nurse practitioners who have taken extended leave from their jobs. They have taken a couple weeks for a couple months off their nurse practitioner job. This allowed them the time and energy to get their life back. They were able to reflect on what they needed in life. They were able to rest and recharge to overcome nurse practitioner burnout.

And surprisingly, many employers have been supportive! They understand the significance of burnout and value (even if they didn’t initially) that nurse practitioner. It doesn’t hurt to ask for extended time off so you can rest and recharge to overcome nurse practitioner burnout. 

Take a short break from work. 

Taking a break from work or whatever is causing the burnout is one of the most effective ways to rest and recharge. Use this time to relax, do something enjoyable, or spend time with loved ones. I encourage nurse practitioners to take a day off of work.

Schedule a message, lunch with a friend, or an afternoon with nothing to do! Nurse practitioners can rest and recharge in small increments in order to overcome nurse practitioner burnout. 

Also working on implementing small breaks into your day.

It could be as simple as taking a walk outside for 10 minutes over “lunch break.” Or waking up 15 minutes early to read a book. Or relaxing after work by watching a movie.

Whatever activity you choose, make sure it is something that helps you to switch off from work and unwind. Taking small breaks can assist with rest and recharge to overcome nurse practitioner burnout. 

Improve work-life balance.

Work on keeping evenings open for self care or time with family. Many times nurse practitioners struggle with a lack of work-life balance and is actually a causative agent of nurse practitioner burnout.

But in order to rest and recharge to overcome nurse practitioner burnout, APRNs need to shift the balance back towards life rather than work. It will not be perfectly balanced, it’s not meant to be. But right now many nurse practitioners are spending more time at work and less time living life.

So how do nurse practitioners improve this lack of work-life balance?

The first step is to identify the top causes of this imbalance. For many nurse practitioners, charting is a significant issue. Many nurse practitioners are staying late at the office or bringing charts home, disrupting this work-life balance.

Nurse practitioners are constantly behind on charting! Not to mention, there are so many extra tasks (medication refills, analyzing diagnostic data, reviewing medical documentation, and the never ending patient messages) a nurse practitioner has to do!

There are many ways nurse practitioners can improve their charting:

Check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School to discover charting resources created specifically for nurse practitioners!

By improving a lack of work-life balance, nurse practitioners can prioritize time to rest and recharge while overcoming nurse practitioner burnout. 

Actually do the self-care.

As nurse practitioners, we know the importance of self-care and the impact it can have to overcome nurse practitioner burnout. As nurse practitioners, we console our patients on getting enough sleep, implementing exercise, and working on mindfulness. We know taking care of ourselves can dramatically impact our mental, emotional, and physical health. But we’re not very good about listening to our own advice. 

Here are some reminders of taking care of our own health and wellness. 

  • Getting enough sleep is essential for rest and recharge. Sleep deprivation can exacerbate burnout, leading to fatigue, mood swings, and poor concentration. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and try to establish a consistent sleep routine that allows you to wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
  • Regular exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress and boost energy levels. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters, and helps to reduce stress hormones such as cortisol. Find an exercise that you enjoy and try to do it regularly. It could be anything from running, swimming, yoga, or dancing.
  • Mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, or yoga can help to reduce stress and improve mental clarity. These practices help to calm the mind and reduce the impact of negative thoughts and emotions. They also help to improve self-awareness, which is essential for recognizing the signs of burnout and taking action to prevent it.

The most important concept I want nurse practitioners to know is self-care should be something YOU enjoy. While sleep, exercise, and mindfulness are important, nurser practitioners should chose activities that fill their cups and bring joy.

Prioritizing time to rest and recharge can greatly help APRNs overcome nurse practitioner burnout. I have to constantly remind myself to make time to rest. It is so important for our mental, emotional, or physical health that we rest and recharge.

Join The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner Facebook Group to find support from equally burned-out nurse practitioners. 

Erica D the NP is a family nurse practitioner and burnout coach. Erica created The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner to help overwhelmed APRNs create work-life balance, overcome nurse practitioner burnout, and advocate for themselves. The Burned-out Nurse Practitioner offers online courses, coaching, and support. Learn more at www.burnedoutnp.com

For time management and charting tips, check out The Nurse Practitioner Charting School– The one stop for all documentation resources created specifically for nurse practitioners. Learn more at www.npchartingschool.com

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