Stress Management and Coping Tactics for Nurses Experiencing Burnout

3 min

Working gruelingly long shifts and providing healthcare services to ill patients can be nerve-wracking and stressful. Moreover, these are only two factors that contribute to nursing burnout. Burnout happens to be a global problem for every type of caregiver. Still, nurses take the heavy brunt of it in most cases.

The healthcare systems are now initiating wellness programs and offering their employees resources to prevent burnout and reduce everyday stress. These resources range from yoga and meditation classes to educational seminars. However, the main message throughout these programs remains the same: to take care of yourself first. For this reason, we will discuss some strategies to alleviate stress and cope with burnout.

1. Maintain an inventory of your stressors 

Most of the time, you experience burnout because you’re tackling multiple tasks and activities in a given timeframe. Therefore, before anything else, take a moment for yourself and breathe. Take a long and deep breath, and try to collect your thoughts and emotions. Then, think about what you can do about a certain situation instead of stressing out meaninglessly.

Once you understand the things stressing you out, write them down in the form of a list. Then, take some time and figure out ways to reduce these stressors. For instance, if you’re stressing about juggling work, studies, and personal commitments simultaneously, think of ways to manage them. Instead of working long shifts, speak to your supervisor and reduce your timings. Likewise, opt for online learning programs since they offer more convenience and flexibility. Nowadays, many nurses enroll in MSN to NP programs online since it’s easy to manage alongside work. 

Moreover, if you can’t fulfill personal commitments, like spending time with your loved ones, then take some days off. Keeping an inventory will help narrow down the stressors and tackle them effectively.  

2. Don’t take up more commitments 

The fact that you’re reading this is because you feel overwhelmed and want to find a release. So, what you can do right now is say no to new commitments, no matter how tempting they seem. First, sort out your current tasks and responsibilities before starting something new. Later on, determine whether you can make room for other activities in your schedule.

Committing to something new at this point will only make you overexert yourself and push you past your limit. Eventually, it will lead to burnout and occupational fatigue. For now, you must focus on the commitments you have at the moment and find ways to get them under control.

3. Delegate wherever possible 

The main reason you’re experiencing burnout is that you’re doing more things than you can handle. While multitasking is glamorized in today’s workplace environment, it can prove detrimental to your well-being.

For example, if you are working 40 hours a week and then coming home to do all the house chores, it’s no wonder that you’re in a state of burnout. Similarly, if you’re taking up responsibilities that someone else can perform just as well, you’re signing yourself up for stress. In this case, ask for help wherever possible. If you have a family at home, ask them to help with house chores when you’re tired and share responsibilities with others. If you live alone, postpone the chores till the weekend. Similarly, pass on the responsibility to someone else if they can do it.

4. Unplug frequently

It is easy to busy yourself with work and stay available for work all the time. But you should set some boundaries and parameters for the sake of your health. For example, at work, you can sit and unplug yourself at a secluded place during break and eat your lunch in peace. Similarly, disconnect from your environment at home for half an hour at a minimum. It’ll help you relax and reserve your energy for the rest of the day.

5. Set boundaries

Another reason why you’ve mounts of work on your plate is that you probably lack self-control. For example, if you leave work by 5 pm but are still working on patient documents at 5:30 pm, you’ll have a problem managing your work. And this suggests that you’re not setting your boundaries at the workplace. Only take up work that you can do in the given time, and commit yourself to that time. 

Similarly, suppose you are staying up late at night watching some movie or working late in the night. In that case, you are not setting boundaries for your sleep routine. These aspects will have a deteriorating effect on your health and cause more stress buildup. Therefore, learn to manage your responsibilities and time accordingly, and set boundaries that you can stick to religiously.

6. Engage in healthy activities

Indeed, your health comes before anything else. Whether mental or physical, declining health will lead to consequences for your professional and personal life. Therefore, ensure that you get good sleep every night, exercise daily, and eat healthy and nutritious food. Moreover, learn to accept your vulnerabilities and try not to be so hard on yourself.


The nursing profession can be tiring and draining. As it is, nurse burnout happens to be a major problem in healthcare. Not only is it detrimental to the nurse’s health, but it also affects their work performance and productivity. 

As a working professional, you should do everything to reduce stress and manage burnout. Also, remember that there is no quick fix to burnout, and small steps will lead to better results down the road. 

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