I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care and burnout recently. Why? I don’t know… Maybe because it’s tax season. Maybe because it’s snowing again today and I get grumpy when I’m cold. Maybe because I have a few clients who are in a lot of emotional pain right now, and I can’t seem to be helpful enough.
Do you ever have those days?
Anyway, there is no getting around the fact that we caregiving professionals need to find ways to care for ourselves and to avoid burnout so that we can be healthy and whole enough to care for the people we serve. Hopefully, we can all list several self-care methods – things to do when we need a break. You probably also know that seeking support from colleagues and consulting with supervisors can be an important part of avoiding burnout.
Another way that I try to cope with job stress and avoid burnout is to meditate on why I do the work I do, to recenter myself on my purpose. Many of us enter eldercare with a deep sense of purpose, and we rely on the non-financial rewards of our work to sustain us. Eldercare is not easy work, though.
Our hospice chaplain starts each interdisciplinary team meeting with a short spiritual break, a pause for us all to remember why we work in end-of-life care. Two weeks ago, he shared this blessing for work by John O’Donohue:
May the light of your soul bless your work
with love and warmth of heart.
May you see in what you do the beauty of your soul.
May the sacredness of your work bring light and
to those who work with you
and to those who see and receive your work.
May your work never exhaust you.
May it release wellsprings of refreshment,
inspiration, and excitement.
May you never become lost in bland absences.
May the day never burden.
May dawn find hope in your heart,
approaching your new day with dreams,
possibilities and promises.
May evening find you gracious and fulfilled.
May you go into the night blessed,
sheltered, and protected.
May your soul calm, console, and renew you.
And to that I say,