Too Old to Color? Battle Nurse Burnout by Nurturing Your Soul

Posted On July 30, 2017

Battling Nurse Burnout

Battling Nurse Burnout

As nursing professionals, we work long, difficult hours. We drive home exhausted to find spouse, children, pets, cluttered houses and friends awaiting our time and attention. Our needs and wants are frequently placed on the back burner for months and years at a time until we’re running on empty, on the verge of a crisis: nurse burnout. Burnout is emotionally, mentally and physically damaging to us as professionals and as people. Making a comeback from burnout is extremely challenging, therefore, prevention is key.

How many of us can relate to going home with the nagging thought: what did I forget to do, what did I forget to chart? But the most glaring item that we’ve forgotten is to take care of us! We are caretakers, educators, healers and encouragers of everyone but ourselves it would seem. How long can we carry the burden of being all things to all people before collapsing under the weight of the impossible? Nurses today are, more than ever, inundated with advanced technology, added responsibilities and endless documentation requirements. Higher patient acuities and increased nurse to patio ratios only heap added stress on an already burdened nurse. The nursing shortage continues, the rate of burnout appears to be increasing and nurses are retiring early from a profession that demands so much.

We may not be able to solve the overall looming crisis in healthcare on our own, but we can take some important steps in the right direction to avoid burnout. We can endeavor to be caretakers to our own needs. We can take those interests and hobbies from the back burner and give them a new priority in our lives, letting other things wait, if necessary, while we renew and nurture our own souls.

Return to the stress-free days of childhood

Can you remember opening up that wondrous box of new Crayola crayons as a kid? An array of vivid, brilliant colors awaited us in orange-red, lemon-yellow, carnation pink, seafoam green and violet. Can you remember the scent? To this day, even as a registered nurse, I still associate the unique smell of crayons with fun! Perhaps you’ve spotted adult coloring books by now in all the book stores, filled with hippy trippy mind-blowing designs.

Who says adults don’t color? A year ago, I bought two adult coloring books, put on my favorite relaxing instrumental music (an audio book could work nicely too), lit a candle and with a yummy, hot beverage I started coloring my first page. The amazing thing about coloring is that childhood enjoyment of the activity springs back to life and the imagination is sparked! It’s relaxing, carefree and fun.

When was the last time you enjoyed an activity that offered you that?

I encourage you to take out your wax sticks of raw sienna, burnt umber and gold and give it a go! Engage any activity that refreshes you, replenishes you and refills your empty cup.

Holly LewisAbout the Author: Holly Lewis is passionate about  patient advocacy, faith in nursing, positive thinking, inspirational topics, prayer, rest & relaxation, work-life balance, healing from grief, women of faith and freelance writing – all things positive, uplifting and encouraging. Connect with her on LinkedIn.