7 Mental Health Tips For Home Care Workers
Being a home care worker can sometimes be exhausting work, which can take a toll on mental health and wellbeing. It can be difficult to do things to improve your mental health, especially when you’re feeling down. Remember that you are important and worthy of feeling better, regardless of your struggles.
As a home care worker, it’s important to realize that you first need to take care of yourself; then you can take care of others. If you take better care of yourself, it will reflect in your job and all other aspects of your life as well. In this blog, we’ll share some tips on how you can improve your mental health and overall wellbeing. These tips include:
- Taking breaks
- Eating well
- Doing something creative
- Talking to someone
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep
- Playing with animals
- Appreciating yourself
Remember to take a break
You could be so caught up in your job and trying to take care of others that you might forget about yourself or don’t consider yourself a priority. Every once in a while, remember to take a break. You can wind down for 10 to 20 minutes with a relaxing cup of tea or something else that you enjoy. Doing that can rejuvenate you and help you refresh yourself for the rest of the day, ready to get back to what you need to do.
If you can, try to have a change of scenery. Step outside and take in the sunshine and fresh air for a little while, this can do wonders for your mental health. When we break out of our monotony or repetitive cycle, our brain feels rewarded, which leads us to feeling more positive and boosting our moods.
This is key to our survival in general, and is vital to our mental health. Food makes us happier, especially foods that we enjoy. Eat nutritious foods to make sure you’re getting the right amount of things such as protein, iron and calcium. Take a moment to enjoy the food that you’re eating and try not to rush.
If this is something that you have trouble with, make sure to set specific times for when you will have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Being a home care worker can get quite busy, and scheduling can help with this. Eat at the time that you set for yourself, even if you’re not feeling hungry. This will make sure that you’re getting the energy you need to last throughout the day, and helps with mental health because you’re getting the nourishment that your mind and body need to function well.
If it’s necessary for you, make sure you are taking vitamins and any other supplements that you need, on time every day. Deficiencies can hinder your mental health, so it’s important to take them routinely. Set an alarm on your phone as a reminder.
Do something new or creative
This could be by yourself, with someone else, or even the people that you care for. Doing something new will help change your mindset and remove stressors. If you’re having trouble with this, schedule a time in the day or week and try to stick by that time as best you can.
Doing an activity will help get your brain running and take your mind off the things that may be causing you stress, anxiety or depression. This could be as simple as trying a new recipe, picking up a hobby like painting or drawing, or playing a puzzle game.
Talk to someone
Even though you’re around people and working with them most of the time, being a home care worker can be very lonely, especially now that we’re in a pandemic and things are uncertain all the time. If you’re feeling down, talk to someone you know and trust. This could be a family member, friend, a partner, a spouse. Let them know how you’re really doing, instead of avoiding your feelings.
It’s good to talk about other things as well, such as your interests, something that excites you, or even small accomplishments that you’ve had recently. Try to be social, while it’s hard with COVID, there are still virtual events you can attend to make the most of our situation. Make jokes with someone, have a few laughs, this can be very helpful in boosting your mood. Laughter can often be the best medicine.
When you wake up in the morning, do you still feel groggy and tired? While your job as a home care worker can be tiring, bad sleep habits can affect your mental health. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important aspects of our wellbeing. Take a look at your sleep schedule, is it uneven? Make small changes to your routine. Instead of looking at your phone at night, try reading a book. Start by getting an extra hour of sleep because it can really make a difference in how you feel.
On the other hand, you could be sleeping too much. Oversleeping can also be bad for your mental health, as it causes things like depression and headaches. The happy medium for getting enough sleep is around seven to nine hours for you to feel refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Play with animals
Especially dogs or cats. In high stress environments, people often keep them around for comfort and support. You can often find cats and dogs roaming around in hospitals or other care facilities, as well as colleges and universities during exam season. This might also be something that’s easily available to you, if a friend or client of yours has a pet. Simply petting a dog or another animal actually increases the brain’s serotonin levels, allowing you to relax and alleviating the negative mental health symptoms that you may be experiencing.
Often when mental health is low, one of the most common and immediate things that happens is self-criticism. While criticism can be good in small doses, it can lead to irrational thoughts about oneself that are far from the truth, causing negative traits and emotions. To combat this, acknowledge that you are a hard worker and say it out loud. Positive reassurances about yourself can greatly improve mental health. Being a home care worker isn’t easy, and yet you get through it every day. Take a moment to be proud of yourself.
Everyone’s mental health struggle is unique, so it’s important to try a variety of methods to improve it so you know what works or you. You can also read 5 Ways to Avoid the Impact of Coronavirus on Mental Health to learn about more ways you can improve your wellbeing