Self-Care Strategies for Empaths Working in Healthcare

Healthcare professional experiencing burnout

What is an Empath?

An empath is a person who is high in empathy. This means that they are skilled in putting themselves in others’ shoes and looking at situations from perspectives different from their own. This can be highly valuable in a healthcare role because empaths will truly feel for their patients and naturally prioritize patient care.

However, this tendency to tap into others’ emotions can also lead to being overwhelmed if you work with people in a high-stress setting such as healthcare. 1 2 This can lead to empathetic burnout, which is when you are left feeling fatigued and drained as a result of taking on other people’s stress. Empathetic burnout can look different for everyone, but many people experience fatigue, feeling isolated, low mood, and difficulty concentrating. Because of this, it is crucial for empaths in this field to maintain regular self-care practices. Here are some simple strategies to start implementing today.

Self-Care Strategies for Empaths Working in Medicine

Limit Screen Time

If you are already feeling empathetic burnout from the nature of the work you do all day, spending your free time scrolling through social media may just add to that feeling. Although many people instinctively reach for their phones and open up social media in an attempt to relax and decompress, spending too much time on social media can actually have a negative impact on mental health. 3 4 While you may not need to cut social media out entirely, there are benefits from limiting screen time and taking a break from scrolling. Try doing a social media cleanse and see how you feel.

Eat a Balanced Diet of Whole Foods

One of the most impactful elements of self-care is nutrition. Studies show that eating a balanced diet of whole, nutrient-rich foods can boost mood and reduce stress levels. 5 While it may be tempting to simply order takeout or eat out when you are feeling drained, make sure that you prioritize eating enough healthy foods to ensure that your body is properly nourished.

Make Time to Recharge & Practice Healthy Boundaries

Prioritize taking time for yourself to relax and rejuvenate. Learning how to put up and maintain healthy boundaries is extremely important for empaths, especially those working in potentially draining careers. Make a habit of putting up strong boundaries and sticking to them when it comes to guarding your free time and taking care of yourself. Remember, saying “no” to a colleague or patient’s request in order to take time to yourself and recharge will make you more effective in your job than trying to take on too much and not having the energy to do it right.

Pursue a Career Path That Fits You

For empaths with a passion for medicine, it is important to pursue your career in a way that allows you to have the work/life balance you need. Many people who work in conventional medical settings report having very high levels of stress and burnout, both of which empaths are particularly susceptible to. 6 Naturopathic doctors generally experience lower levels of stress than other healthcare professionals. This is likely due to the fact that naturopathic doctors have a better work/life balance and more flexibility to shape their job to their own preferences. 7 To help manage personal and work stress, naturopathic doctors also often incorporate the stress management techniques learned in medical school for their patients.

 

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