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Preventing Burnout With Self-Care

Preventing Burnout With Self-Care
Written by the Continued staff
August 8, 2022

Healthcare workers improve and advocate for the emotional and physical well-being of their patients but frequently neglect their own. This can lead to burnout and impact physical and mental health. 

OccupationalTherapy.com presenter Mira Rollins, OTR/L, helps occupational therapists identify specific symptoms of professional burnout and offers practical techniques to address it. 

“As therapists, we often are amazing at taking care of other people, but we neglect the care of ourselves,” Rollins said. “Even though I care for so many people, it is ultimately my responsibility to take care of myself as well.”

The following information is taken from Rollins’ OccupationalTherapy.com course Self-Care Management And Professional Burn Out Reduction Strategies

What is Burnout?

  • Work-related stress syndrome
  • Chronic job stress
  • Physical & emotional exhaustion
  • Cynicism & depersonalization
  • Reduced professional efficiency
  • Reduced personal accomplishment

Stages of Burnout: Know Your Stage

Stage 1: Honeymoon Enthusiasm

This stage is filled with productivity, creativity, commitment, energy, optimism, and an acceptance of responsibility. Rollins cautions that when you feel yourself slipping from the honeymoon/enthusiasm stage, it is critical to intentionally and aggressively identify what is moving you from that stage; the further you get from it, the harder it is to get back.

Stage 2: Onset of Stress

At the onset of stress, you may experience stagnation, irritability, anxiety, decreased focus, lower productivity, periodic headaches, and decreased sleep quality.

Stage 3: Chronic Stress Frustration

This stage can include apathy, persistent fatigue, procrastination, cynicism, chronic exhaustion, and resentfulness. Research shows that 30% of employees across all industries are in stages two or three of burnout.

Stage 4: Burnout

Stage four is when you have reached full burnout. Symptoms can include pessimism, self-doubt, social isolation, chronic headaches, neglect of personal needs, and obsession with others.

Stage 5: Habitual Burnout

This stage can include chronic sadness, chronic mental fatigue, chronic physical fatigue, and depression. Research shows that approximately 15% of employees across all industries are in stages four and five. 

Self-Care Is Survival

“When it comes to burnout, the answer is self-care,” Rollins said. “You may only walk away from this with a few nuggets, but if those nuggets are consistently implemented into your routine, what if it backs you down the [burnout] scale?” Rollins says it’s critical to determine how burnout is manifesting in your life and develop a specific plan to reduce it. Her course offers these strategies for implementing self-care:

Physical Self-Care

  • Sleep
  • Stretching
  • Walking
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition

Emotional Self-Care

  • Stress management
  • Coping skills
  • Therapy
  • Journaling

Social Self-Care

  • Boundaries
  • Support system
  • Communication
  • Positive social media

Spiritual Self-Care

  • Time alone
  • Meditation
  • Prayer
  • Nature
  • Sacred space

Intellectual Self-Care

  • Hobbies
  • Creativity
  • Reading
  • Podcasts
  • Establishing goals

Environmental Self-Care

  • Clean space
  • Hire help with organization, errands, & cleaning
  • Be intentional about enhancing the “feel” of home

Vocational Self-Care

  • Create schedules
  • Time management & balance
  • Have conversations with supervisor and peers
  • Change positions, schedules, or roles if necessary and possible
  • Take time off

“Stabilizing your personal state of wellness will drastically change your view of your profession,” Rollins said.

Featured Presenter

Tasha Perkins Holmes presenter

Mira Rollins, OTR/L. Mira has been an occupational therapist for over 20 years. The majority of her career has been spent treating geriatrics in rehabilitation skilled nursing facilities. Her clinical experience also includes spinal cord injury and acute care hospital settings. Mira has also had the honor of leading successful rehab teams in her role as director of rehab and regional manager. She now uses her 20 years of experience as an adjunct professor for OTA programs and as the owner of Mira j. Rollins Engagement Programs, a training and consulting company.



Written by the Continued staff

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