Tending to someone else’s needs all the time gets tiring. You can only do so much before you reach a point of burnout. Once you’ve overextended your energy, you have a couple of options. You can find a different way to re-engage with work, you can take some time away from work, or you can quit together to get your energy back.
Re-engage With Work Differently
You can change your routine in the work environment. Lean into your work relationships. Is there someone you could be friends with who you haven’t spoken to yet? Try asking that person to go to coffee with you.
How about your routine at work? Can you add breaks into the flow of your day? Perhaps you can schedule a mid-day walk to get away from the overly demanding work environment. Walking outside can help you with distress tolerance. When you find the work environment particularly hard to deal with, changing your atmosphere can make all the difference.
Switch the space where you are working. Find a new desk, maybe closer to a window. Work next to someone new. Change out your supplies or make sure you maximize your comfort in the space. Little things can make a big difference.
Try adding plants into your space. They can brighten the feel of the room and revive you when you feel the roots of depression taking over. Taking care of something else can distract you from the distress you are experiencing in your work. It will also bring you to a place of observation and reflection so you can decide how to best proceed forward.
Take Time Away From Work
Sometimes you just need a vacation. Book yourself a trip and get out of the environment that is causing you so much stress for a bit. Try going somewhere you haven’t been yet. Make sure this is a place where you can recharge. You will need to maximize your relaxation time. After this, you may find that you come back revitalized and ready to take on the next challenge at work.
Make sure to take a lot of pictures on your vacation. This can help you reflect on happier times if you are struggling again when you return to work. It can also serve as a talking point with your co-workers. You can make a slideshow to serve as your desktop screen saver. Whatever it takes to make you feel the positive emotions of that experience can help you through your burnout.
Don’t Be Afraid to Do Personal Work in the Professional Setting
Also, it’s okay to admit that you do not have much to do at work. A lot of work environments are understimulating and underwhelming. If that is the case, do not be afraid to do other things at work. Focus on your personal life. Make plans to organize and prioritize your closet relationships. These relationships will carry you through the hard times at work.
Quit Your Job
If you have tried re-engaging with work differently and taking time away from work to no avail, you may need to consider quitting your job. This is a big decision, and it is best to have an idea of something else set up for what comes next. However, sometimes this is the best decision you can make. Our time on Earth is limited, and if your work is no longer bringing you a sense of purpose, you need to start reimagining your contribution to the world. You will thank yourself later if you allow yourself to find a place of greater happiness.
The Role of the Caretaker
Caretaker burnout is very specific. This is when you are expending so much energy on someone else that you are failing to take care of your specific needs. You may lose yourself and your values in the values of the individual you are taking care of at that moment. If you find yourself having difficulty identifying your likes, dislikes, and wishes, you may be entering a numbing phase of caretaking before burnout. This is when you don’t feel anything at all. You are coping with the distress by shutting down and shutting out feelings.
To manage caretaker burnout, you can 1) re-engage with work differently, 2) take time away from work, 3) pursue personal work in the professional setting, or 4) quit your job. Caretaker roles can lead to burnout that can take a toll if you do not take the crucial steps to address it.
If you are experiencing a hard time at work, specifically as a caretaker, then you have options. You can re-engage with work differently, take time away from work, start doing personal work in the professional setting, or as a last resort – quit your job. At Valiant Living, we know our clients are coming in with a variety of different backgrounds; some of them are caretakers. They could be taking care of their children or an ailing parent. Perhaps they work in the caretaker industry. We want to focus on the healing and recovery journey so that our clients can start taking the best care of themselves. At our men’s only facility in Denver, Colorado, we care for those struggling with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental illness. Our expert staff helps address your needs – whatever they may be (burnout included). To learn more about how we can help, you can reach us today at (303) 952-5035.