Four tips to help care workers manage stress at work

| 11 Sep 2013
Tips to help care workers manage stress

This is a guest post contributed by James Browning, the Product Manager at Sisu Wellness in the UK, which specialises in online health assessments and health coaching for corporates and individuals.

Work-life balance is undoubtedly a challenge for all working individuals but when you’re part of an industry that is all about taking care of people, striking that balance becomes even tougher.

Working in the aged care industry is unlike any other profession – it requires a much deeper emotional involvement. The foundation of aged care comes down to the relationship between carers and the most vulnerable people within a community. Frankly, worrying about your resident’s or client’s condition is a lot more difficult to leave at the office than paperwork.

Dealing closely with tense situations such as health deterioration and residents passing away is emotionally burdening. The increased level of stress that comes as a result not only impacts care workers’ wellbeing but could also lead to mistakes, such as medication errors.

How to know if you are stressed

It is important to recognise the symptoms of being overly stressed so you are able to deal with these pressures early on.

  • Emotional cues: If you feel that you get easily irritated and overwhelmed or anxious, then you’re under unhealthy stress.
  • Physical indicators: Stress is not only a psychological and emotional condition; it physically affects us as stress hormones interrupt the normal processes in the body. The physical signs of stress are tense muscles, tiredness or increased blood pressure and pulse rates, skin conditions, hair falling out, etc.

These symptoms can potentially lead to more serious medical problems such as heart disease, diabetes and others if they are not identified and treated by appropriate medical means.

Manage stress with these four tips

‘Just relax’, ‘don’t worry about it’, ‘everything will work itself out’ are common phrases used by those who don’t understand and appreciate how much responsibility you have. Relaxing is easier said than done.

In order to reduce your stress levels you need to take into account all aspects of your life. These include:

1. Balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices. Getting enough sleep along with healthy eating habits are good places to begin. Your body needs its normal daily nutrition dosage. Not more, not less – so monitor your eating habits and try to stick to your normal eating routines.

2. Make time for yourself. Learning to relax is a skill which, when practiced regularly, will help you control your emotions and improve your physical wellbeing. Even if you work long hours, waking up half an hour early to have a peaceful breakfast provides a great platform to start your day.

3. Exercise. Being physically active is a great way to reduce your anxiety levels. Whether it’s swimming, yoga or your own made up dance, being active helps give your brain some time away from your busy daily schedule. It also triggers the release of mood-enhancing hormones, making you feel naturally happy and more in control.

4. Communicate. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what the exact stressor is. When you talk it out, it helps you better understand what stresses you out and why. It will relieve the tension that you feel, and if you talk to someone who would understand the type of pressure you are under, you may come to a solution together. Feeling overworked and under pressure is a serious matter that you don’t have to deal with it on your own.

If you, however, still find yourself feeling hopeless or the problem is much deeper and you find it difficult to manage the pressure, don’t hesitate to seek professional medical and psychological advice.

Please share you stress-relief tips with us in the comments section below.

(Image credit: David Castillo Dominici)

Tags: aged care, care worker, health, stress

James Browning

James Browning

UK Product Manager, Sisu Wellness

James Browning has been with Sisu Wellness for over a year, and has an interest in health and wellbeing as well as social media.

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