Every job has its stressful moments, no matter what field or career path you've chosen. Home health care is not immune to these stresses. As a caregiver, we understand there is a high likelihood that you will reach what is called "caregiver burnout" at some point in your journey. With that in mind, we've compiled eight ways you can avoid feeling overwhelmed that are simple and easy to apply.
Caregiving can be a stressful job; there is no denying that. But you can teach yourself patience by taking a deep breath any time you feel overwhelmed. Not only does this prevent caregiver burnout, but it also establishes a peaceful environment for you and your client.
2. Get organized
Time management can be a huge help when scheduling your workday, and that certainly goes for caregivers as well. Not only do you stay on task and establish a routine for yourself and your client, organizing and managing your time can keep you stay motivated. There are excellent tools and apps available for you to download on your phone to help you manage your time both at work and in your personal life as well.
3. Schedule time for self-care
Speaking of managing time: scheduling a little “me time” is a delightful way to avoid burnout. Take time to rest so you can care for your client in the most effective way possible. It’s not selfish to make time for yourself; it’s quite crucial to your mental health and essential for all caregivers. So don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Take time to do what makes you happy. A daily relaxation and meditation practice can be beneficial, as well. You’ll be amazed at the difference even 5 minutes of quiet time can make.
4. Build your support group
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to have a support system in place to turn. You don’t a large group of friends or even an active social life to do this. As long as you have at least one person in your life who is a good listener and truly cares about you, it’s enough to relieve any stresses the day may have. Take time to talk with close friends or a trusted family member regularly. And remember it’s perfectly okay to ask for help.
5. Remember who’s watching
Don’t take your client or loved one for granted. Remember that they will always take your lead. If you are in a good mood, they will be too. The opposite is also true in this case; if you show up with a poor attitude, they will be able to sense this. Leave your troubles at the door and begin each day as if it were a fresh start.
6. Appreciate the little things
Caring for others, especially someone who is ill, can be taxing for anyone. For caregivers, however, it is often a thankless job. To counteract this, find as much joy in as many everyday, mundane moments as possible. A warm smile, a kind word, a small achievement in your client or loved one’s progress. Take in each of these special moments and cherish them as much as you can. When you’re having a particularly rough day, look back on these moments and remember how they made you feel.
7. Focus on the positive
Recognize that you are doing your best and that some days you will feel like a superstar, while others will feel like a struggle. No matter what each day brings, remember that you are only human, but always give yourself the credit you deserve. Just as you should learn to appreciate the small moments, you should also celebrate small successes. If you managed to get through the day without a hiccup, congratulate yourself. If your loved one finished their entire meal in one sitting when they are normally a picky eater, celebrate! Life is full of ups and downs. If you focus on the positive, that is what you will get.
8. Don’t take it personally
If the person you are caring for is living with dementia or other mental or emotional problem, they may get upset or even say hurtful things. Remind yourself that this is because of the illness. Try not to take their reaction personally. They may not understand their own emotions or be able to express themselves properly. Everyone is entitled to have a bad day, even your loved one.
The now-famous quote by author, Eleanor Brownn, holds true. “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” As caregivers, our number one task is to serve others. It is our duty, our passion, and in many cases, our obligation. If we cannot care for ourselves, how can we expect to successfully care for another.