Caregiver Compassion – 6 Tips For Looking After Yourself as a Disability Caretaker
Being a disability caretaker is an extremely rewarding career. Helping someone live the best life they possibly can is challenging, but being part of the disability services offered to many people is a wonderful feeling. While a rewarding career is what some people dream of their whole lives, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t be difficult, frustrating, tedious and uncomfortable at times.
It’s important to know all of this before embarking on the rewarding journey of working in disability services. When it comes to taking care of other people, you might be the best person for the job. Knowing how to take care of yourself when coping with the trials and tribulations of this career path is essential, so we’ve put together a few tips to help out.
Your physical needs are just as important as those of your charges, and you mustn’t do things that are likely to permanently injure yourself or neglect your physical health. You need to eat three meals a day, you need to drink plenty of water and rest when you are exhausted.
Taking on extra shifts to cover for other people isn’t you responsibility, and should only be undertaken when you feel up to it, not when you feel guilted into it. Don’t overexert yourself or work when fully exhausted, because you stand a greater chance of injuring yourself or not properly caring for your charge for the day.
Mentally, keeping yourself on the straight and narrow is as important as taking care of yourself physically. Disability work can be mentally draining, as it can require a lot more forethought and planning than just spending time with friends or family.
Therapy is recommended for people in many stressful or frustrating professions, and starting before you start your disability work is a good idea, because it will allow your mental health care professional to track your mental health before and during your time working in disability services.
Becoming frustrated at frustrating situations is natural. However, it’s important to remember that the people in your care aren’t responsible for the things that are frustrating you.
It’s all too easy to lump blame onto another person, but in truth, you are likely frustrated at the situation more than the person in the situation. Learning to read yourself is a key self-care skill, and will go a long way to improving your emotional health throughout the course of the job.
Getting out of the house is important for the people in your care, and it’s important for you as well. Seeing friends and socializing on your days off helps to improve your emotional and mental health. This, in turn, helps to improve your physical health, so your social interactions are just as important as your other needs.
Try to get out of the house and meet people at least a couple of times a month as an absolute base minimum, and take yourself out alone every once in a while for a day away from familiar surroundings.
Having fun, both by yourself and with the people you’re taking care of, is hugely important. Laughing aloud or losing yourself in the enjoyment of something is one of the best human experiences we have, and a lack of that can become suffocating over time.
Find something you absolutely love doing, and do that often. Not only that; find something your charge loves and do that with them regularly as well. Spending time together builds a bond and understanding, which is part of the reason people get into this line of work. Brightening other’s lives with fun and laughter is good for the soul, but never forget that you need that by yourself as well.
Finally, just kicking back and relaxing regularly is good for you, because it gives you a way to release all of the built-up tension in your shoulders, back, legs and neck that accumulates over the course of the work week. Have a bath, spend an evening watching your favorite TV show, sit in the sun on a Saturday afternoon, and just generally enjoy doing nothing every now and then.
With these tips, you have the blueprints to get the most enjoyment out of your career as possible, and the only thing keeping you from living your best life is you, so stop worrying so much and start relaxing, having fun, and treating yourself right.