3 Tips for Caregivers to Deal with Emotional Stress on the Job
At Emerest we deeply appreciate how much caregivers give of their time and themselves to their patients; we also understand that such selfless work takes a toll on caregivers as they continuously work to provide excellent care. Here are some tips to deal with emotional difficulties that may occur:
1. Communication is key, especially in the consumer directed care model where the patient must verbally instruct the caregiver of their needs, and caregivers must respond accordingly. Some general tips for maintaining productive and open communication include:
- Strive for a mutually respectful relationship with the patient to prevent resentment from building; both the caregiver and patient deserve to have their needs voiced and heard.
- Actively look for non-verbal cues or tone changes for additional messages; it is often hard to fully verbalize things, and body language can convey useful information such as discomfort or frustration.
2. Stress is common, and it is important to identify the signs early before it can adversely affect the quality of your life or that of your patient’s. Some of these signs include, but are not limited to, loss of interest in social activities, feeling depressed or trapped, and ongoing irritation. Some ways to relieve these symptoms include:
- Join a caregiver support group to initiate an open dialogue and find a sense of camaraderie.
- Practice positive self-talk such as “I can do this,” or simply reminding yourself of a silver lining when situations seem tough or overwhelming.
- Allow yourself to release the negative thoughts through crying, exercising, venting, or whatever feels most natural to you. You are a priority!
- Don’t work until you drop – save some energy for yourself. Giving until your tank is empty is not what caregiving is about; caregivers should practice emotional balancing and self-care to ensure that they can continue to provide high quality care. Some ways to protect your mental health include:
3. Setting aside personal time each day to mentally recover and reset.
- Set emotional boundaries to follow on a daily basis.
- Pick a new activity each week to do for yourself, such as an exercise, a fun food to eat, or a movie you’ve been wanting to watch! It’s more fun to have something in your schedule to look forward to.
Emerest cares about you and is available to you to help with questions or concerns! Give us a call at (314) 279-4700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will answer quickly and with a positive attitude!
Source: Karpinski, Marion. The Home Care Companion’s Quick Tips for Caregivers. Medifecta Healthcare Training, 2000.