I was reading an article at work the other night on compassion fatigue and noted I could check EVERY box on the symptom list. EVERY BOX. The article went on to note that many nurses' solution to this is to care less, as I alluded to in a previous post. Alternatively, as I also had guessed, nurses figure out how to deal with it and come out of it stronger. Obviously, I'm opting to end up in the latter situation.
But I think doing more is not how to do it. It is in some areas, like exercise and healthy food (the treadmill, by the way, is making a huge difference in my willingness and ability to sneak in a workout here and there). In other areas, it just does not work. The definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing and expecting different results. Going by that, I am insane about my job.
For years now I've been tilting at windmills, thinking if I just think of the right things to say and do, patients will stop doing unreasonable things, physicians will suddenly decide I know what I'm talking about all the time, my coworkers will all act the way I think they should, and my managers will be swayed into total fairness. Yet none of those things has happened. Trying harder doesn't increase the chances of their happening. All it does is make me tired and pissed off. No wonder I'm burned out. I've been living my personal and professional lives as if I'm pushing REALLY HARD against a concrete block wall and getting angry when it doesn't move.
On the heels of this article came a timely reminder from a friend. "Plan plans, not results," she said, and "what would happen if you just let all of this go, now that you've taken action?" What indeed? Probably about the same thing as if I kept throwing scads of energy into it. So I'd rather keep that energy to do other things.
So, on my journey of "how to deal with career-ending burnout without ending my career," I'm exploring the art of letting go. Just...stop. Do what I can and then let things happen as they will. I might as well, because attempts to control outcomes don't work out that often to begin with.