There’s no doubt that working in social care has its challenges. Owing to the nature of the industry, care professionals are increasingly expected to put in long hours whilst managing heavy workloads. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that this industry reportedly has the highest reported rates of workplace stress (86.4%).
However, as a carer, you shouldn’t neglect your own wellbeing for the sake of our job. Stress is closely connected to mental health and it seems that care workers are suffering, with over half (59.4%) experiencing low mood even after they leave work.
These top tips aim to guide you through what you can do to relieve workplace stress, ensuring it doesn’t have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.
Look after your body
Taking care of your body is a good place to begin. It’s important to remember how tiredness and exhaustion can affect our stress levels, causing us to snap at a moment’s notice. If you’re stressed, you might find yourself not caring about looking after yourself, or worse still, it could impact the level of care you’re giving to others.
This is when it’s more important than ever to take a step back to focus on your wellbeing. Get into healthy habits that will make you feel good from the inside. Drinking enough water and getting enough sleep should help you avoid those stress-induced headaches.
Don’t forget, you’ve got to look after yourself before you can look after others!
Make time for yourself
When you spend all day worrying about other people, it can be difficult to reign in your emotions after a shift is over. Take the time to do an activity which you really enjoy to calm your nerves and adjust your mindset.
In fact, your brain is constantly craving the best for you. Therefore, when you look after yourself by getting new information through reading, or doing physical activity, it will release dopamine – the ‘feel-good’ hormone. Why not try taking up a new hobby to get your dopamine fix?
A problem shared…
Is a problem halved. Unfortunately, many care professionals witness distressing scenes, but you don’t have to go through this alone.
There are plenty of care group support organisations for carers who need a little extra help to cope with their caring responsibilities. Some of these include:
- Princess Royal Trust for Carers
- Crossroads Caring for Carers
- Carers Direct
If you’re feeling stressed, but unable to share your thoughts with colleagues or loved ones, these organisations are devoted to helping you resolve your concerns.
With nearly half (47.4%) of care professionals claiming that work affects their private life, support networks play a crucial role in helping to leave your worries in the workplace.
Be optimistic, but realistic
Resist the urge to be a perfectionist. Working in care often means that no day is the same. Shifts will be varied and you’ll encounter people from all backgrounds, which can lead to an unpredictable personal life.
Acknowledge the aspects of your job which are out of your control and learn to accept them. If you get stressed out by not being able to plan, organise yourself as best you can. Set your alarm clock 10 minutes earlier in the morning or prepare a lunch for work the night before – these little things will help you to feel as if you have a little more control.
Above all, remind yourself why you chose to get into care work and the reasons why you love it. When your mindset is optimistic, you’ll be able to tackle stress more easily.
You’ve got this
Care work is one of the most rewarding vocations, but also one of the most stressful. To provide care to the best of your abilities, you need to look after number one. Use this guide to alleviate stressful symptoms and continue making a real difference in your career.