There are over 4.5 million professional caregivers in the U.S., a number projected to rise over the next five years. Caregivers work in various settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living communities, and private residences. And although caregiving is highly gratifying, it can also be physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding. If you are currently working as a professional caregiver, here are five proven ways to enjoy a healthier work-life balance while delivering the quality care your clients deserve.
What Is Caregiver Fatigue?
Commonly experienced by informal caregivers, fatigue can also sneak up on paid caregivers when least expected. Some professional caregivers find themselves serving in both roles when an aged or disabled loved one needs help maintaining their independence.
These are the classic warning signs of caregiver fatigue:
- Sleep deprivation
- Anxiety and depression
- Difficulty performing simple tasks
- Rapid weight gain or weight loss
- Postponing or completely ignoring medical appointments
- Substance abuse
- Not exercising
- Poor eating habits
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Social isolation
Ignoring these symptoms won’t make them go away. If allowed to persist, caregiver fatigue will eventually impact your job performance and personal life.
Self-Care Tips for Tired Caregivers
Here’s how to enjoy a healthier, more fulfilling life while getting paid to care for others:
Accept your limitations
Using senior home care as an example, no matter how hard you try, your client’s condition will eventually worsen. Rather than allowing yourself to get frustrated and overwhelmed, prioritize your daily tasks, and focus on the most important ones — like getting them to eat everything on their dinner plate or try a new hobby.
Make healthier lifestyle choices
If you’re sick in bed (again) because you’re not taking care of yourself, start making some positive lifestyle changes. Eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, and avoid unhealthy habits like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol to excess. Get a complete physical every year, and don’t ignore your other medical appointments.
Pamper yourself (often)
Not everyone has what it takes to be a successful caregiver. Reward yourself for a job well done by doing something you enjoy every week. Use your scheduled downtime to learn a new hobby, go clothes shopping, or just spend a few hours curled up on the couch binge-watching your favorite TV shows. Whatever you decide to do, don’t feel guilty for taking a break from your caregiving duties.
Set aside some “me” time
Find time to participate each week in healthy stress-relieving activities like walking, swimming, Tai Chi, or Yoga three to five times per week. Treat yourself at least once a month to a spa day, shopping spree, or date night with your significant other.
Start a caregiving journal
Another way to emotionally decompress is by keeping a daily caregiving journal. Use it to record both positive and negative experiences you are going through — like the fact you were able to get your client out of the house for some much-needed exercise. When you’re having a bad day, go back and relive the good moments and focus on how your efforts are making a difference in the lives of others, including their families.
Take some time off
Even the most “battle-tested” caregivers need to take an occasional break. In addition to the emotional and mental demands, caregiving can be a physically strenuous job. Injuries such as pulled muscles, achy joints, and sore backs are common ailments for caregivers.
As a result, asking for help doesn’t make you a failure. Don’t hesitate to speak to your supervisor and request time off when caregiver fatigue is starting to limit your ability to provide the level of care your recipients and their families deserve.
Why Work for Senior1Care in Indianapolis, IN?
If self-care is a priority for you, home care – when working for the right employer – offers many advantages over other caregiving settings. If you live in the Indianapolis, IN, area, Senior1Care is now seeking qualified candidates to join our growing team. Senior1Care is a well-respected, professional, and fun company to work for – one that also operates with unequaled honesty and integrity.
Our philosophy is to hire the very best caregivers in the market and then allow them to shine while providing our clients with an exceptional experience that exceeds their expectations. As a local, family-owned, and operated agency, most of our caregivers are CNAs to ensure the highest level of care for those we serve. If you live in the Indianapolis, IN, area and want to learn more about working in the fast-paced home care industry, please visit Senior1Care now at www.senior1care.com!