As a respiratory therapist, it’s easy to grow accustomed to your job’s stress and non-stop nature. But if you want to enjoy a successful career and avoid burnout, you must prioritize work-life balance. The question is, how do you make it happen?
What Is The Meaning Of Burnout?
When it comes to the respiratory therapy industry, burnout is arguably the biggest threat facing RTs who want to advance in their careers. The question is, what is burnout? And are you experiencing it?
According to Mayo Clinic, “Job burnout is a particular type of work causing stress — a state of biological and emotional tiredness that also involves in and reduced accomplishment along with loss of individual identity.”
Symptoms are both physical and mental, including apathy, difficulty concentrating, excessive use of alcohol or drugs to feel better, changes in sleep habits, and/or a lack of satisfaction with work. Unaddressed, burnout could force you to switch careers to the respiratory therapist.
What Is Work-Life Balance?
Burnout is often caused by hyperfocus on work at the expense of everything else. We aren’t made to spend 100 percent of our energy and focus on one thing.
So when we become so focused on work that our health, relationships, and personal interests fade to the background, burnout is usually right around the corner.
Good work-life balance is the best antidote to burnout. In short, this means achieving the proper equilibrium between your work life and your personal life. It’s not necessary (or even recommended) to achieve an even 50/50 split.
However, you do need to find a healthy mix. Doing so will lead to greater success as a respiratory therapist, as well as more happiness and satisfaction in your personal life.
Fighting Burnout With Proper Work-Life Balance
You can’t sit back and wait or take the help of respiratory therapist consultations. You have to be proactive about avoiding burnout. Here are several ways other RTs are successfully achieving the optimal work-life balance (and how you can, too).
1. Set Personal Goals And Priorities
Determine what respiratory therapist work-life balance means to you. Is it spending more time with your kids? Is it creating space away from work so that you can take care of your physical and mental health?
Is it eliminating personal distractions while you’re at work (so that you can improve your performance?) Whatever the case may be, set your priorities and then create goals. This increases the likelihood that it’ll actually happen.
2. Choose The Right Shifts
The next tip to be a professional respiratory therapist is if you’re in a position where you can choose your shifts, make sure you’re selecting ones that allow you to achieve balance.
For example, working an early morning shift might enable you to spend more time with your kids after they get out of school.
3. Control What You Can Control
Choose online credits that allow you to complete the respiratory therapist coursework from home (rather than spending those precious hours in a classroom).
4. Make Friends At Work
Making friends with your respiratory therapist coworkers helps work feel less work-ish. Instead of dreading clocking in, you’ll find yourself looking forward to spending time with your friends.
It’s obviously still working, but it softens some of the less desirable parts of the job.
5. Block Off Free Time
You aren’t just going to stumble upon three or four hours of downtime (especially if you have kids, a partner, and other responsibilities outside of work). If you want some free time for a little R&R, you have to carve it into the schedule. In other words, literally, block out time on your weekly calendar.
These are just a few ideas. Every situation is different. For example, work-life balance for a single working mom is going to look different than it will for a married couple with no kids. You’ll have to determine how this plays out in your life and respiratory therapist career.
Advance Your Career As An RT
If you’re serious about taking your career as a respiratory therapist to the next level, you have to make sure burnout doesn’t bite you from behind. If you aren’t prepared, it can crop up when you least expect it. Thankfully, the prescription for a good work-life balance is quite clear. Now it’s up to you to take it!