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Self-Care for Working Caregivers - Why Is It Important?

The Importance of Self-Care for Working Caregivers

Trying to balance work and another time-intensive activity can be difficult. Juggling work and caregiving responsibilities is on a whole other level. Finding the balance is not impossible but it can be a challenge. It is possible to find a healthy balance with the right strategies. In this article, we will break down and share some self-care tips and strategies on how working caregivers can find balance in their lives. 

Time Management Strategies

Any person or family that has to step into the role of home care, elderly home care, homecare giver, senior care, personalized home care, or some other home care service can benefit from following self-care tips and, most importantly, proper time management strategies. This includes:

  • Be organized. Create a schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This will help you stay on top of your work and caregiving responsibilities. Make sure to list your personal, professional, and caregiving duties and events on your schedule and calendar and give priority to the critical responsibilities. 
  • Delegate tasks. If possible, delegate tasks to others, such as family members, friends, or paid help. This will free up your time so you can focus on the most important things. This can be challenging because you have to ask for help and maybe even put faith and trust in others to take care of things that you can't do at the time
  • Take breaks. For working caregivers, self-care includes taking breaks throughout the day, even if it is just for a few minutes. This will help you stay refreshed and focused. Remember that you have to take care of yourself first. On airplanes, the flight staff always tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before you help others. Think about that for a second! 
  • Learn to say no. It is okay to say no to requests that will overextend you. This will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Setting Realistic Expectations

The first, and arguably the most important, expectation you need to set for yourself is to know that you are not superhuman and you cannot do everything or be everywhere at once. Acknowledge that you cannot do everything. It is important to set realistic expectations for yourself. You cannot be a perfect caregiver and a perfect employee at the same time.

Another important trait you will need to adapt or build on is being able to adapt to anything. Things will not always go according to plan. You can have a well-structured and organized schedule but being a caregiver and trying to live your life can be messy. Be prepared to be flexible! Adjust your schedule or responsibilities as needed. Give yourself some grace when things don't go according to your plan. 

Stemming from the time management section: don't be afraid to ask for help. If you are struggling, don't be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, or professionals. Delegate the tasks that you can so you don't get overwhelmed. Set this expectation early on so you don't face burnout. 

Utilizing Support Systems

To expand on the topic of asking for help, another important self-care tip for working caregivers is the use of a support system. Here are some common examples:  

  • Join a support group. Talking to other caregivers can help you feel less alone and learn new coping strategies.
  • Take advantage of government programs. Several government programs can help caregivers, such as the CDPAP program.

The CDPAP program (Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program) is a government program that provides financial assistance to help people with disabilities hire and manage their care assistants (PAs). PAs can provide a variety of services, such as help with bathing, dressing, eating, and transportation.

If you are a caregiver who is struggling to balance work and caregiving responsibilities, the CDPAP program may be a good option for you. The program can help you hire a PA to help you with your caregiving duties, freeing up your time so you can focus on your work and other responsibilities.

Prioritizing Self-Care

Remember you can't help others if you are not taking care of yourself. It is critical to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally. This means getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly.

Make sure to prioritize doing things that bring you joy. Make time for activities that you love, such as spending time with friends and family, reading, or taking a yoga class.

Sometimes, we forget that we are not professionals in the complexity of living a life and caregiving. If you are struggling to cope with the stress of caregiving, don't hesitate to seek professional help. 

New York State's Medicaid CDPAP program

We hope this article provides working caregivers like you with some helpful self-care tips for balancing work and caregiving responsibilities. Remember, you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you. With the right support, you can successfully balance your work and caregiving responsibilities.

Elite Choice offers many benefits for caregivers including flexible schedules! Contact us to learn more about how you can get paid to care for your loved one. With Elite Choice, you can find balance and earn with ease.

Written by: Leah Ganz
Director of Patient Services

Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain management and internal medicine. She oversees all patient services across Elite's departments.