Working as a nanny is stressful. The hours are long and sometimes erratic, your tasks are mentally and physically demanding, and you’re often doing it all on your own. In any job, a healthy work-life balance is important, but actually achieving that balance can be tough, especially for nannies. Dealing with and preventing nanny burnout might seem like an impossible feat if you’re already feeling it, but we’re here to help. Here are a few ways that Chicago nannies can prevent burnout, so they can take care of themselves and others.
What is “burnout” exactly? Burnout is a state of chronic stress that affects your ability to function, professionally or personally. Burnout creeps up on you slowly, which can make it hard to recognize. When you’re burnt out, you might feel emotionally and physically exhausted. Physically, you might experience insomnia, loss of appetite, and increased illness. You may also feel increasing anxiety, loss of enjoyment, and irritability that turns into anger. You may find it hard to focus, or that you aren’t as interested in your job as you once were.
There are many signs of nanny burnout, and they can manifest in people differently. If you’re experiencing some of these symptoms, take a step back to assess them clearly, so you can keep them from getting worse.
5 tips for preventing burnout
If you’re worried that you’re burnt out, know that it’s okay and that you’re not alone. Burnout is common among caregivers since your focus is usually on caring for others. When you’re focused on others, it’s hard to take care of yourself. But you can deal with burnout and get back to a healthier state of mind and being. Here are a few tips:
Define and communicate your boundaries
As a nanny, you’re naturally willing to help others, which is part of what makes you a great caregiver. However, remember that you have limits. If you take on too many hours or extra responsibilities, it can backfire and affect your quality of care. Know what you can handle and communicate that with your employers. It’s okay to say no.
Leave work at work
Since you’re emotionally invested in the kids you care for, it can be especially hard to draw a clear line between work and home. However, leaving work at work is essential to prevent burnout. If you’re constantly thinking and worrying about your kiddos on your own time, it can trigger burnout. Give yourself a break, disconnect from your phone or computer, and enjoy something you’re passionate about. Enjoy your personal time so you can be at your best when you go back to your charges.
Make self-care a priority
Self-care might sound like you’re just enjoying personal time, but it’s more than that. Self-care is making a conscious decision to care for your mental, physical, and emotional health. The best part: you can practice self-care however it best suits you. You can go for a long walk around the city, take a bath, meditate, take a nap, or do absolutely nothing. What matters is that you’re taking the time to relax and check in with yourself.
Take a break when you need to
This can be tough during a full day with kiddos, but taking a quick break can make a huge difference. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed, stop for a moment and breathe deeply. Make a cup of tea or coffee and enjoy it when you can. Stretch. Have a healthy snack to keep your energy up. Don’t wait until you have to stop because you’re burnt out or sick; take small chunks of time here and there, maybe when the kids are napping or in school.
Connect with others
When you’re caring for children all day, it’s easy to forget to interact with adults. Schedule some time to unwind with friends, have a date night with your partner, or spend time with family. Furthermore, connect with other nannies and caregivers. Whether you meet up with other local nannies in Chicago or check in via an online support group, you’ll feel less alone.
Nanny burnout is a serious thing, and it should be addressed as soon as possible. If you find yourself experiencing burnout, take some time to identify your stressors, make some changes, and care for yourself.