April marks the start of National Stress Awareness Month, which has been held every April since 1992 to increase public awareness about the causes of and cures for modern stress. According to the American Institute of Stress, about 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related disorders, ranging from stomach trouble to heart disease. Job stress is costly and carries a price tag for United States businesses estimated at more than $300 billion annually.
For home healthcare workers, providing care and compassion can be extremely rewarding, but can also come with various stressors based on the homes in which they are working. A caregiver’s role adds significant value to a client’s life, and it is important to ensure your caregivers take care of themselves in order to provide the best care possible to your clients.
These tips on managing stress can be beneficial to both you and your caregivers, enabling your organization to be more productive, positive and focused when caring for others.
Awareness of Compassion Fatigue
An important part of doing your job well and providing quality care requires you and your caregivers to care deeply for your clients on a personal level. Empathizing with their struggles can be overwhelming, emotional and sometimes so difficult it can affect your mood and health beyond work.
The first step to overcoming this is awareness. Be aware of how your caregivers are coping with the stress factors they face daily in the home and encourage them to step back when needed and clear their mind with breathing exercises, meditation or by focusing on happy thoughts to help reduce stress in the moment.
Provide Social Support
Knowing you’re not the only one dealing with stress at work can be relieving. Talking about these stress factors with other home healthcare workers can help balance out worries and negative thoughts.
Be available for your caregivers to talk through issues taking place in the home that might be adding to their stress. Encourage caregivers to come by the office and visit with your staff so they feel supported and set aside time each week to connect with them on something not specifically client-related so they know you care about their wellbeing.
Encourage Time for Self-Care
When your job is focused on caring for others, it can be difficult to prioritize time for yourself. It is important to make sure both you and your caregivers are practicing self-care on a regular basis to reduce stress levels and feel happier.
There are many ways to take time for self-care, even if you don’t take an extended vacation from work. Journal, read, go outside, take a bath, meditate or do anything else that feels relaxing to you.
Find Inspiration Away From Work
Another way to reduce stress and give your mind a break is to engage in hobbies or activities that have nothing to do with your professional life. Organize a fun run, volunteer for a local charity or host an outdoor exercise class and encourage your caregivers to join in on the fun. Any activity that allows you to engage in something unrelated to work will help reduce stress and help your team and caregivers enjoy life a little more.
Do you have stress-relieving tips or activities you practice on a regular basis? Share them with us on our LinkedIn page and help others reduce stress during Stress Awareness Month!