As a caregiver for an agency, sometimes you can forget about yourself. It is easy to fall into the whirlpool of loving and caring for an elder relying on your help and forget about your personal life. This is not healthy for anyone, especially your client and yourself. This can cause several issues, from mental health issues to problems with your agency. You want to ensure that this doesn’t happen. How you can do that is to ensure that you are caring for yourself while caring for others. Here are 8 strategies to handle the stress of caregiving.
1. Take a Time Out
This doesn’t mean that you are giving up or abandoning your elder. Many caregivers become so connected with their clients that stepping away may feel like you are abandoning them. That is not the case, far from it. You sometimes have to take a step away to care for yourself so that you can ensure that the best care is being provided to your elder. Taking time for yourself is needed when caring and putting that client first most of the time. This will help with caregiver burnout. This needs to be avoided as much as possible; it can only cause trouble with your career and, more importantly, your mental health.
2. Accepting Yourself
You are human, mistakes will be made, and there is nothing that can help that. You need to accept your mistakes and shortcomings; this will only make you a better caregiver. As humans, we all hold different emotions and handle situations differently. The only feeling a lot of caregiver’s carry is guilt when they make a mistake. This emotion can lead to walking around on eggshells, which the elder and the elder’s family will notice. You need to accept that you have made a mistake, learn from it, and move on. It will improve your skills as a caregiver.
3. Write Down Your Feelings
Writing down your feelings will only help you learn and accept them. It only takes a few minutes, and they can be good or bad feelings. You want to be honest with these feelings and connect them to different situations while working with your elder. You need to be aware of your emotions and their source; this is a great way to accept and learn from them
4. Coping with Negative Emotions
The top emotions that caregivers feel are Anger, Frustration, Jealousy, and Depression. There are ways to handle them in positive ways. Holding onto these emotions will only cause damage to your career and mental health. Here are a few reasons and how to handle these feelings:
- Anger: Anger can come from a situation with work, or maybe a family member accepts your career, etc. The offense doesn’t have to go from only work; it can come from your personal life and end up showing signs while at work. You need to ding the source and handle the emotion in a non-harmful way. For example, punching a pillow or keeping busy with various hobbies you are interested in. It needs to be handled constructively and replacing the negative energy with positive energy. You could have thoughts of lashing out on a family member or maybe yelling at your client, but these are things that can harm your career. This is a normal feeling but should be refrained from and handled differently.
- Jealousy: Jealousy is common when friends and family members are supportive of your career at first but end up going on with their own lives. You could become jealous of their freedom, of being able to enjoy their family, friends, nights out, etc. This is felt especially as a traveling home caregiver. When you are not home, and around the people you love, you can become jealous of their lives. You may need time to go home and enjoy your personal life. Talking to your agency about some downtime at home or maybe an assignment closer to home can help the emotion feel controlled.
- Depression: As a caregiver, especially if you travel, your life changes dramatically. This can cause depression due to missing your old life or seeing people enjoying a life you once had. Talking to your agency, a trusted friend, or a counselor can help with this emotion.
- Frustration: As a caregiver, your job can be very stressful and frustrating. A client isn’t listening to you, or their family member is giving your responsibilities that you are not sure that you can handle the large number of duties you already have. Talking to a consoler, or your agency can help with this emotion.
5. Quality Time
You have to remember that there are other people to help you; you are not alone. Other employees may work for the same agency in the area that you can associate with having the same emotions or issues. This can help with the loneliness of traveling and enable collect your feelings to ensure that you are performing correctly.
6. Focus on the Positive
You want to focus on the positive emotions and situations in your life. How to do this is to get a journal to write down all the optimistic and damaging problems you’ve experienced.
- You want to ask yourself what you are feeling; sad, agency, happy, content, etc.
- Who or what is responsible for these emotions.
- What are you telling yourself? Listen to what you are saying. Be sure to write down honest feelings.
7. Make a Personal Declaration
Think about the following statements that should be essential to your daily life:
- Taking care of yourself is necessary if I am to care for others.
- I know my limitations and strengths. I seek help when needed.
- I have the right to feel what I feel and calmly express those feelings.
- I maintain the right to my own life outside of caregiving.
- I take pride in my accomplishments and in the courage to perform these tasks.
- I realize that I cannot control the happenings of others. I cannot fulfill their needs.
- I have the right of choice to decide what I will or will not do. This includes the right not to be manipulated by my elder’s anger, fear, or guilt.
8. Learn to Relax
This is probably the most challenging part for many traveling caregivers. Relaxing is not in their vocabulary, but it is essential. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Keep a journal.
- Listen to your favorite music or artist.
- Think back to happy memories of when you were a child.
- Start a new hobby.
- Read a good book.
- Indulge in anything that makes you feel happy and calm.
- Take a vacation.
- Utilize respite services.
Coping as a caregiver doesn’t mean that you must push down all your emotions. As you care for loved ones, you need to care for yourself too. It is an essential part of the job. The following tips will help you positively cope with your emotions. TLC Home Care is an excellent agency that provides its employees with time and resources to handle their emotions while on the road. They understand that it is a difficult job, and they appreciate their talent for taking on the challenges.