How to Prevent Burnout and Compassion Fatigue working as a Nanny
It is a bright sunny day, the air is fresh and clean and life is good. Right? Not if you have reached burnout or compassion fatigue status. Burn out symptoms can resemble depression, but it is not only avoidable, it is also treatable.
Being a caregiver is challenging. Being a caregiver to children can be exhausting. Here are some tips to help you prevent burnout.
- Community – meet more friends. When you are with children all day it is necessary to have adult interaction. Make sure to plan that Girls Night Out. Schedule playdates with other nannies, don’t isolate yourself.
- Take small breaks – this can be harder during the day, depending on the ages of your nanny children. Even if you make yourself a cup of herbal tea and sit down for 5 minutes, make sure you allow yourself to relax before jumping back into the fray.
- Get outside for fresh air and sunshine – this is a win/win activity. You get Vitamin D and can inhale fresh air (don’t forget to breathe deeply, fill those lungs up) AND your nanny children can express some of their boundless energy
- Eat healthy food – Not only will you feel better and look better but I am convinced there is a soul healing component. I have had evenings where I was too exhausted to cook so I grabbed some crackers and chicken salad. I will be honest, it just wasn’t satisfying. It fed me, but I was not nourished.
- Meditate for at least 10 minutes – combine this with one of your breaks during the day, or right before bed, or first thing in the morning. Don’t forget to take a soul break.
- Exercise regularly- I know that when we are tired it can be daunting to think of working out, even if you take your nanny children for a walk, make sure to get exercise. The increased oxygen flow to your muscles will re-energize you.
- Add house plants to improve indoor air quality- There are several posts on Pinterest about what house plants are best but make sure to keep the air around you clean.
- Stretch everyday – Whether yoga, pilates or just simple stretch breaks throughout the day, keeping yourself limber will help with your energy and tension release.
- Get enough sleep – Hands down, this will improve your mood, your breathing, your metabolism, your brain function and general attitude and approach to life.
- Laugh as much as you can – whether at those sweet children, the friends you hang out with – make sure to laugh. I have one friend that I can always count on to have me in stitches. When I start noticing myself get slightly off kilter I make sure to call her.
If you find yourself closer to burnout than you would like, its not too late. Start taking a few minutes of time to pamper yourself, focus on a hobby, and be intentional about the items listed above. Before you know it you will have your joie de vivre back.