Providing care and compassion as a home health care worker can be extremely rewarding, but the job also comes with continual stress. Stressors can vary based on the home you’re working in, the personality and health of the client, your expectations, and more. While your role may be adding significant value to someone’s life, it can be taxing to care and worry about others constantly.
In order to provide the best care possible, it’s important to take care of yourself. Managing stress is not only beneficial to you, but will allow you to be more productive, positive, and focused when caring for others.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM COMPASSION FATIGUE
Caring deeply for your clients is important for doing your job well, but getting to know them on a personal level and empathizing with their struggles can be overwhelming, emotional, and so difficult that it can affect your mood and health beyond work. Take a step back when you need to and try to clear your mind. Breathing exercises, writing, and focusing on happy memories are some strategies that can help reduce stress in the moment.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SOCIAL SUPPORT
Knowing you’re not the only one dealing with stress at work can be relieving. Getting encouragement from your friends and validation from other home health care workers can help balance out the worries and any negative thoughts you may be experiencing. Set aside time each week to connect with a friend, family member, or coworker.
SCHEDULE TIME FOR SELF CARE
When your job is focused on the needs of others, it can be hard to turn that off and prioritize some well-deserved time for yourself. Caring for others is important but nourishing and fulfilling your life is necessary to being a good caretaker and feeling happier overall. If you’re finding it difficult to find time for yourself, put time in your calendar and commit to it as if it were an appointment you made months ago. Journal, read, go outside, take a bath, meditate, or do anything that feels good to you.
FIND INSPIRATION AWAY FROM WORK
In your free time, give your mind a break and engage in hobbies or activities that have nothing to do with your professional life. Exercise can help increase the production of endorphins, which helps to reduce stress and makes you feel good. Painting can inspire creativity and increase self-esteem. Even just spending a little time outdoors can boost Vitamin D levels and the natural light and fresh air are mood enhancers. Any activity you choose that allows you to engage in something unrelated to your work will help reduce your overall stress and enjoy life a little more.
Finding balance in your life outside of work and ensuring that you take the time to care for yourself are important to reducing stress, being a better caretaker, and living a more fulfilled life overall. As a compassionate person it can be hard to prioritize your needs, but in order for you to continue doing a great job for your clients, you need to take a break sometimes and take care of yourself.