Self-care ~~ Self-care ~~ Self-care ~~ Self-care
Are we pouring from an empty cup?
Many of our care workers are ready to give of themselves, to share their resources, to leap in to save their loved ones or the elderly, but they forget to check in with themselves first: “Can I do this?”, “ Am I well enough?”, “Will this injure me?”
Not only is caregiving stressful, but it is also physically and mentally challenging. Therefore it is likely to have negative implications for all care workers’ mental health and well-being. At the same time, self-care has become a bit of a buzzphrase, and, just like most important things, it is something that many of us are not good at. Taking care of your mental well-being as a care worker is as important as taking care of others.
To stay mentally healthy;
Schedule time for yourself!
- Do the things that you love, things that make you feel good about yourself, things that make you relax.
- If you can, go for a Walk. It may look like a simple activity, but it works wonders. Walking is known to lower stress levels and improve mood.
- Talk to a friend, take long baths, eat a balanced diet, and always remember to hydrate. Just take a few minutes a day, which could be 5-10 minutes, to disconnect and give your brain some time to recharge.
Tip: Use a calendar or day planner to schedule time for yourself to do things for yourself. A reminder a day works wonders in this fast life.
Communication is key!
- Be honest with what you can / can’t do!
- How much can you really do without straining yourself physically or emotionally? Talk to the people around you, especially when you feel some type of burnout. Talk to your friends or family, and some may step in for you when you really can’t be there for your client.
Tip: Be honest with yourself, your clients, and with those around you about how much you can realistically do. This can help others understand your needs as a care worker and offer some support whenever necessary.
Seek personal and professional support!
It is okay to get outside help to overcome intense care-giving stress.
Care-giving can be an emotional roller coaster and can range from feeling grateful about the work you do in supporting others and being proud that you can manage things to feeling really stressed, overwhelmed, angry and resentful. Because that range is so broad, that makes it harder to manage emotions.
Therefore, talk to someone: a therapist, a counselor, or a trusted friend. There are also support groups, either in person or online, that can be a source of comfort. Just don’t feel alone.
You need to have some outlet or place where you can be open or honest with how you’re feeling.
Start a gratitude journal!
Whether you’ve had a good day or a bad day, take a notebook at the end of every day and write down your experiences of the day. It may be hard in the beginning, but you will be surprised how much easier it gets.
Journaling can help you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns. It can help track your day-to-day symptoms so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them and it also provides an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviors.
Sometimes we get to a point where we are so burnt out and exhausted that it’s hard to see anything positive in our lives so just grab a notebook or a journal, and don’t think about it too much. Let your brain rant and flow with it—did your colleague annoy you today? Did you manage to drink a full cup of coffee before your day got busy? That’s a good thing! It’s your journal, make it personal.
So, how are you doing lately? We are thinking of you every day and sending all our good vibes your way. Just remember caring for yourself is not self-indulgent. Caring for yourself is an act of survival. Be kind to yourself and don’t give in to feelings of guilt. You can’t do it all, you can only do your best!