By Roz Jones
As we spring into May, Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re covering ways you can declutter and better your mental health as a Caregiver. We’re also providing you with methods on how to use your circle of technology to your Client or Loved One’s advantage.
If you’re feeling isolated working as a Caregiver, feeling mental fatigue, lack of support, or are overwhelmed from day to day, you may find yourself struggling with your mental health.
This is understandable, as just seeing others can brighten your day. Very few want to be stuck in the home all day, let alone have to work in the home every day. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.
Consider these ways to look after your mental health while working in the home as a caregiver.
1. Try to Get into a Routine
Yes, it can be a challenge and isolating working as a Caregiver in the home. Often, you may find your attention wandering, or you may find yourself missing Loved One’s and/or work colleagues.
A routine can help you focus on your tasks.
Use these strategies:
- Have a space for work that is free of any distractions.
- Set a routine to get up and get started, take regular breaks including lunch, and finish work at a reasonable time.
- Avoid working in your pajamas.
- Set clear tasks for the day and prioritize them. Do the most important tasks first.
- When you finish working, clean up as you would in an office.
- If you’re homeschooling your children, it may be a good idea to let your employer know. You’ll want to set up a routine of when you can work and when you can give your children the attention they need too.
2. Keeping In Touch With Loved Ones and/or Colleagues
To avoid feeling isolated while working as a Caregiver, keep in touch with your Loved Ones and/or colleagues, both in a formal fashion and a more social one.
Try these techniques:
- Discuss with your Loved Ones and/or colleagues when it is best to contact you and try to remain available during these times.
- Use video calling software for formal discussions.
- Follow up any video calls with a quick note to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding actions that need to be taken moving forward if needed.
- You can also use video calling for more informal chats or use other messenger services if it is more appropriate.
- Check-in with your work colleagues at the end of the workday to receive updates. These updates might be work-related, or you might use this time for personal updates.
Try to keep your work and social life separate. When working from home, it is easy for your work and social life to merge.
Not all of your colleagues will appreciate you sharing everything with them, so respect their boundaries, just as you expect them to respect yours.
3. Use Any Support Available
Working as a Caregiver in the home can be challenging, so if there is support available, make the most of it:
- Many employers will have support available for their employees, with dedicated apps and websites offering support.
- If you are currently struggling with a physical or mental health condition, your employer may be able to make reasonable adjustments to your work schedule, offer additional support from managers or other colleagues, and provide equipment if needed.
- Look at the self-care techniques you’ve used in the past that have worked for you. You will have to be flexible sometimes, especially if you are stuck in the home. For example, if you usually walk around to meditate, to relieve your stress, you could try finding a quiet space and begin deep breathing to clear your mind.
- Work with Roz Jones, an experienced Caregiver, who can provide fellow caregivers with support and further assist with planning.
Working as a Caregiver is not for everyone. Some people will thrive in this environment while others will struggle. Keep these tips in mind, especially if you’re struggling. They can help you remain a productive caregiver.