How Long Does It Take To Recover From Burnout? This Long!

Being burned-out in the healthcare world is a growing issue all around the globe. For decades medical professionals have struggled, and the present-day is no different. People are pushed past their limits, and the outcome can be devastating if there is no relief. So, when will the relief come?

Healthcare burnout can quickly become a serious issue. Recovering from burnout is not typically a quick fix. Unfortunately, it can take days to months to fully recover from healthcare burnout. Your body and mind need time to recover and get back to normal.

There are many reasons why you can become burnt out. Many healthcare workers struggle to get past it. Thankfully, it will not last forever, and there are many things you can do to not only recover but to help prevent burnout in the first place. Read on to discover everything you need to know about recovering from burnout.

Healthcare Burnout Syndrome

If you are in the medical field, you have probably experienced this a time or two. You might even be going through it right now. You may find yourself wondering what exactly is burnout syndrome?

Healthcare Burnout Syndrome is the term that typically refers to those that get burnout in the medical field. It is when you have pushed past your mental, emotional, and physical limits and are left without anything to give. You feel exhausted emotionally, physically, and even could have flu-like symptoms. Being burned-out is a serious issue that can result in mistakes in the medical field.

Source: National Library Of Medicine – Burnout

What Causes Healthcare Burnout?

Whether it’s a long stressful day or several things all stacked up until you can’t carry the load anymore, burnout can happen to anyone at any time. It is not a one size fits all situation. Some people can handle more stress and pressure than others.

Some people could have stressors in their home-life that stick with them, making them more likely to have a breaking point when at work. Anyone in the medical field knows just how hard of a job it can be. There are many issues that those in the medical field can deal with daily:

  • Chaos
  • Deaths
  • Family/Personal issues
  • Feeling rushed
  • Having 1,000 things on your mind
  • Lack of sleep
  • Long & too many hours
  • New illnesses
  • New technology
  • No time to breathe
  • Non-stop moving
  • Not drinking enough
  • Not eating enough
  • Too many patients to juggle
  • Traumas

All of these are not necessarily the hospitals/facilities’ fault. Sometimes work takes over, and before you know it, you realize you have not eaten or drank anything that day and can’t remember the last time you took a calm breath.

Sources: Tactics & Patient Pop

How To Ward Off Becoming Burned-out

Not only are there things your hospital/facilities should take into consideration to change, but there are also ways you can help yourself. It is horrible, but many places overwork their employees. You see it in every state, in many towns.

If many people in the same unit/facility are becoming frequently burned-out, it’s time to step up and talk to those above you. Something needs to change for the sake of everyone’s health. Some ways you and your employer can help ward off becoming burned-out are:

  • Employer:
    • Have more than enough staff to cover all positions
    • Keep an eye on employees. Without all of them, the facility would not run properly.
    • Listen to employees concerns
    • Make sure breaks are used
    • More time for patient care, healthcare workers make mistakes and feel stressed when rushed
  • Yourself:
    • Drink plenty of water and try to avoid energy drinks (they can cause anxiety in certain situations)
    • Eat well-balanced meals
    • Get plenty of rest and sleep
    • Have a hobby for your spare time, let your brain relax
    • Put your foot down and have back up if you are not being treated fairly
    • Take all your breaks
    • Take vitamins
    • Try to leave home at home and work at work

Signs Of Being Burned-out

Knowing the signs of becoming burned-out is extremely helpful in preventing and recovering from being burned-out. If you are aware of the signs, you will know when you need to take a break, relax, and step away from work for a moment. There are many physical and emotional signs to look out for:

  • Physical Signs
    • Feeling drained daily even after just waking up
    • Feeling exhausted for no reason
    • Frequent headaches out of nowhere
    • Getting sick easier or more often
    • Having muscle aches and pains without an injury
    • Insomnia, not able to fall asleep or stay asleep
    • Not able to eat or have no appetite at all
    • Not being able to get up and go to work, making it to work later than normal.
    • Wanting to eat non-stop and never feeling full
  • Emotional Signs
    • Feeling a sense of doom, self-doubt, or sheer lack of motivation
    • Feeling depressed
    • Feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and nervous all the time
    • Feeling the need to drink or use drugs to cope
    • Lack of empathy to coworkers, patients, and even family
    • Mentally done and emotionally wiped out
    • No motivation to do any of the things you used to love

If you think there is no way out, fortunately, that is not the case. You can recover from healthcare burnout. It may take days, weeks, or months but you will get there eventually. Now let’s look at ways you can help yourself recover from your burnout.

How To Recover From Healthcare Burnout

It may seem next to impossible to get past the feeling of being burnout. If it takes you a while to feel normal again, it is ok. No two people are the same, and healthcare burnout is an actual state of a mental illness. It is not just a simple feeling of being tired. It can be hard to feel yourself again. Don’t feel bad if you need to seek professional help; some people should and will.

Trying to start your mornings relaxed, making sure you get a full night’s rest to wake up less agitated. As mentioned above, you should try to eat and drink well. Putting healthy things into your body can make you feel so much better than filling it with junk food. Pack a nice lunch of brain foods, snack on nuts, and drink water frequently throughout your shift.

It is hard to take the time during a busy day, but when you can:

  • Step outside to get some fresh air
  • On your break, turn up the music on your headphones so you can take a moment to clear your mind and get away from work for a few.
  • Take lunches away from the hospital if you are able. Some things as simple as eating outside on a blanket, in your car, listening to your favorite song, or laughing with a coworker, are all great ways to regroup.

Other ways to help calm yourself. Don’t take on too much work. If it’s the fact that bills are too high, maybe try to lower certain bills or anything that is not a necessity. Most things in life are not worth allowing your mental health to deteriorate.

If you can take some time off work, go on a hike, paint, or spend time doing any hobbies that you may have. Maybe you need to travel and see family, go to the movies, or just relax in your pajamas at home. Always take time for yourself and don’t feel bad for it. You cannot give your patients your best if you are not at your best. You need to come first.

Source: Care Cloud – Preventing Medical Burnout

Who Is More Likely To Suffer From Burnout?

Being in the medical world, you know how stressful it can be. Even those who cannot get a small taste of the potential struggles from movies and tv shows, a nurse in a very small hospital, in a small town, may (but not likely) have a little easier day versus someone in a large city. However, when you throw in a worldwide pandemic, everyone is at risk of suffering from burnout.

It does not matter if you are working the frontlines, working with kids, or working in a senior living center. Everyone can feel the pressure now and then, and if you are not ahead of it, you could easily succumb to healthcare burnout.

Recovering From Healthcare Burnout

No matter how long it takes you to recover from burnout, just take your time. As mentioned above, it won’t last forever. Even if you need to reach out to someone, a friend, or a professional, do it. Never feel selfish for taking time for yourself. Your patients will thank you for it, and you will live a much happier and healthier life.


Agency For Healthcare Research & Quality

AAFP – Physician Burnout