What to Do If You’re Experiencing Burnout in a Helping Job Field

by | Trauma Recovery

Whether you’re a nurse, EMT, physician, firefighter, or anyone else in a helping job field, your top priority is to put the needs of others above your own — at least while you’re on the clock. 

But, at the end of the day, you’re only human. 

Chances are, you work long hours. Maybe you work strange shifts that keep you away from family and friends. On top of that, it’s normal to feel empathetic and/or drained because of the tragedies and emergencies you deal with every day. 

It should come as no surprise that those in helping industries are at a greater risk of experiencing burnout. But what should you do if you’re the one dealing with it? 

Process Your Triggers

There might be certain things about your job that tend to stress you out more than others. Maybe working with certain individuals on a shift is the problem. Or, maybe a specific type of patient interaction causes you extreme stress. 

While you might not be able to completely avoid your triggers and stressors, you can better prepare yourself for them when you know what they are. 

Take stock of how you feel at any given moment on the job. When you recognize certain times when you feel more anxious and stressed, take note of them. When those situations come up again, you’ll be more mentally prepared to handle them. 

Take Care of Yourself

You spend your time at work caring for others. While it’s easy to say you can “leave your work at the door” when you get home, we all know that’s easier said than done. You don’t have to completely forget about what happened on the job. But, make sure you’re not ignoring the care and attention you deserve, too. 

Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s a necessity — especially for people who spend their time helping others. 

Self-care also looks different for everyone. It can include things like regular exercise, prioritizing sleep, and eating a healthy diet. It can also include more focus on your mental well-being, like meditation, mindfulness, and journaling. 

Set Healthy Boundaries

Most people understand the importance of setting healthy boundaries in relationships. But, it’s just as essential to make sure they’re in place at your job — especially when you work in a helping field that demands a lot of you. 

Striking a healthy work-life balance can make it easier to avoid burnout or deal with it if you’re already struggling. When you’re off the clock, do things that help to reduce stress. Spend time with people you love, and relax!

When you’re at work, you can still set boundaries by taking breaks and learning how to say “no” to things that aren’t required of you. It’s okay to cover someone else’s shift once in a while — that’s being a good co-worker and friend. But, don’t let those people take advantage of you by letting it become a habit. 

You’re allowed your time and your peace of mind, so don’t bog yourself down with too many extracurriculars at work. Some people have a harder time saying no than others, so don’t beat yourself up if it takes time for you to feel comfortable with it. 

If you find that you’re still struggling with burnout, consider reaching out for professional help. Yes, even those who help people on a daily basis can benefit from help, themselves. 

Working with a therapist can make it easier to manage your stress levels. You’ll also learn even more skills and techniques to reduce burnout at work while avoiding it in the future. It’s possible to find a healthy balance between work in a helping job field and a fulfilling, calm life, and you don’t have to do it on your own. 

Contact Valued Living Therapy to set up a free consultation with a therapist who is skilled and experienced to meet you where you are.

Valued Living Therapy

We are a dynamic, trauma-informed, multi-specialty group practice of mental health professionals offering therapy in the heart of Edina, MN and online throughout Minnesota.

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