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Resilience Tip: Embracing Burnout and Bouncing Back

Featuring Dr. Alyson VanAhn from Associated Clinic of Psychology

We've talked about resilience as "bouncing back" from hardship for many months now. But what does it mean to try bouncing back when actual burnout has set in? How about keeping up with leadership and management roles when you feel less able to keep organized and optimistic as we try to move forward?

Burnout is a particular category or level of stress that can happen professionally and be felt in personal domains. Many staff and leaders in senior care facilities are experiencing burnout. We see the effects: people leaving their position after many dedicated years, younger folks switching fields or simply resigning to have time away from any work.

Burnout is a consequence of the chronic stress and extra demands COVID has brought to our professional and personal lives. It is also a natural outcome at times when people are particularly dedicated in a trying time. Spotting it is essential, and overcoming it is possible.

Here are a few guidelines to assess and empower yourself to move through when burnout becomes a reality for you and your staff:

Recognizing Burnout:

  • Are you feeling compassion fatigue? That means less "caring" about things that would typically provoke your compassion but now add one more thing to your overwhelming list.
  • Do you feel less effective or able to do things well in your leadership and care roles?

Addressing Burnout

  • Remind yourself burnout is a consequence of dedication during challenging times when your boundaries are stretched, and the balance becomes "off" to meet the demands. Acknowledge that it is part of professional engagement and NOT a sign that you need to make any significant changes right now.
  • Decide you can re-assess more essential things like life changes (personal or professional) a little further down the road when you feel more able to take a bird's eye view beyond the immediate stressors.
  • Practice your favorite "bouncing back" strategy: breathing, venting to appropriate peers, connecting on something that is going well, getting a little more sleep or movement, scheduling time off for an "appointment" with rest) to restore moments that turn into lasting re-balancing for your wellbeing. Small changes make big differences right now.
  • Find ways to build resilience strategies into regular practice for you and your teams: debriefing, sharing experiences, rotating in and out of more challenging situations.

During these times, you may feel exhausted and overwhelmed, despite some positive news about COVID's reduced impact in our settings. For more information about stress relief during COVID-19, go to www.leadingagemncoaching.com.

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