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Nurses: Burned Out? Invest in Getting Your Life Back

What Does Nurse Burnout Look Like?

After one too many self-care emails, suggestions for yoga poses, and mental health apps, ‘burnout’ has become a buzzword. So overused, your eyes glaze over hearing it.

You probably know what burnout feels like, but have you pondered what life would look like without it? The return on investment for the small changes that make the biggest difference?

Burnout isn’t just a subtle way of saying you’re sick and tired. Psychiatrists say burnout has distinct features that differ from other mental health conditions.

The three dimensions of burnout are:

  1. Energy

  2. Performance

  3. Attitude

Tackling burnout isn’t a cure-all, but it can provide tools to restore balance to your energy, performance, and attitude.

Life Without Burnout

You may not realize how deep you are into a burnout cycle until picturing life without burnout.

Focusing on which element of burnout is your greatest struggle will optimize your goals for the greatest returns.

Increased Physical and Emotional Energy

Burnout creates an exhausting cycle of decreased energy and non-restorative sleep. Having less emotional energy makes it difficult to empathize with others. As a nurse, it’s hard not to be engulfed by the overwhelm when you feel you don’t have enough to give to your patients - let alone yourself.

Whatever your hobbies and dreams are, you deserve to have energy for them!

Visualize it:

  • Recovering from shifts

  • Being present with family and friends

  • Having energy leftover for your passions

Increased Work Performance

While burned out, maintaining high performance at work is challenging. Nursing is a demanding job, and it's easy to forget you're an educated professional and not a task robot.

Doing better at work provides a sense of empowerment and ownership in your life. This confidence will benefit you far beyond your career, to improve your personal development and family relationships.

Visualize it:

  • Motivation to go above and beyond

  • A desire to teach and mentor others

  • An increased sense of personal accomplishment and accountability

Positive Attitude

If you’ve ever cried in the staff break room because a doctor looked at you funny, you may think it’s your problem for being overemotional. Wrong. With burnout, your coping ability shrinks. Every minute you stay late after work and every difficult patient could stretch you until you hit an unavoidable breaking point.

Did you know that burnout is contagious? Breaking the cycle spreads positive energy into the workplace and fosters a support system that benefits everyone.

Visualize it:

  • Cynicism no longer creeping into your thoughts

  • Optimism about your career and the future

  • Strategies to manage challenges in the workplace

Can Nurses Avoid Burnout?

Elements of psychology, biology, and social structures all play a role in burnout. Because of this, it’s impossible to predict exactly who can avoid it, or how. Treating burnout is an art and a science. Finding out what works for you is the key to resetting and rescuing yourself from burnout.

Here are a few tips for preventing and taming burnout:

  • Cope by nourishing rather than numbing

  • Rely on a support system

  • Pay attention to what depletes you and what energizes you

  • Set boundaries respectfully, but firmly

  • Question your limiting beliefs

  • Ask for help from a coach

How to Overcome Nurse Burnout

Were you able to visualize what life would be like if you finally conquered your burnout? The process isn’t easy. Nurses are working in a system where burnout is often inevitable.

Contact Sara and Anastasia for 1:1 coaching if you need help in your transformation from being Burned Out to Balanced. Personalized coaching includes both 3 and 6-month options, with continued support, a customized client portal, action plans, and resources.

The system may be broken, but you are not. Discover what small lifestyle changes are worth freeing yourself from burnout. You don’t have to do this alone! Whether you need burnout tips or 1:1 coaching, Live Well and Whole is here to help. Follow them on instagram and TikTok for more healthy living tips @saraandanastasia.

Payton Sy is a registered nurse, content writer, and founder of She has experience in some of the many angles of health care, including hospital nursing, primary care, and insurance. She is dedicated to educating consumers about preventative care and health literacy, and inspiring other nurses to command respect as educated professionals.

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