Refill Your Cup: Understanding and Managing Stress for Care Professionals

It’s said that you can’t pour from an empty cup, and this is certainly true when you have a role in care. Learn tips and tricks on how to 'fill your cup' and manage stress.

Working as a Care Professional is a job with many highs, such as those countless feel-good moments you have just that knowing you’ve made someone’s day. But there are also lows, times when you can feel overwhelmed or experience stress because of the job.

  1. You might feel stress when: A cherished client passes away or deteriorates. The loss of a client can be difficult for a Care Professional who might have enjoyed a close relationship with them for many years. We know that it is part of the job, but it doesn’t make it easier to cope with.
  2. You might feel stress when: You have a difficult client who you find hard to bond with, or who is going through a difficult phase. On occasion, a client and their Care Professional don’t match up as we hope, and this can cause stress. Sometimes this can be worked through, but if a relationship really isn’t working out, speak to your Client Care Manager who can help you find a resolution.
  3. Stress can be identified by: A lack of enthusiasm when working with certain clients, or with your job in general. If you’re having a hard time, it might be a sign that you need to make a change with your schedule or workload to relieve stress in your life.
  4. Stress can be identified by: Irritability (both at work and in your personal life), feelings of resentment or anger. It could also manifest as weight loss/gain, trouble sleeping, as well as withdrawal or lack of interest in things you previously liked. If any of these sound familiar, please reach out to us.

 How to Cope with Stress

We all deal with stress in different ways, but here are some ideas to try if you’re not sure where to start.

  1. Get support. The team at Home Instead Wimbledon and Kingston are always on hand to talk with you, whether you have a specific problem or just need to have a friendly face to chat to – we’re a lovely bunch! The support team can help you find ways to tackle any stress related issues you might have, and make sure that your workload is at the right level.
  2. Set boundaries. Working as a Care Professional, we know that our amazing employees go above and beyond, but you can’t pour from an empty cup. Give yourself time to recharge to enable yourself to deliver your best to your clients. While it might bring you joy to do small work-related tasks in your own time (like baking some cakes to share with your clients), remember to set reasonable boundaries and be kind to yourself.
  3. The Home Instead Wimbledon and Kingston team have been busy behind the scenes putting together our brand new ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions. This week in March, we held our, ‘Understanding and Managing Stress for Care Professionals’ workshop, led by seasoned Psychotherapist, Jackie Iremonger. It was full of excellent tips and tricks to support you. If you missed it, keep an eye out for our next session.

Quick Tips for Relieving Stress

Need an in-the-moment idea for how to cut down stress? See which of these would work for you:

  1. Get outside. Whether it’s a quick walk around the park or just having your morning cuppa in the garden, the fresh air, vitamin D, and change of scenery will do you the world of good, not to mention the endorphins if you get a bit of exercise.
  2. Reflect in the moment. If you’re feeling stressed about something you can identify, don’t push it down and forget about how you feel. It might be helpful to make a note about how you’re feeling. Just jot it down quickly; you can come back to your notes later and see how you feel about it in hindsight. This might also help you identify patterns – do you frequently get irritated when visiting a certain client, and is this a sign that you might not be the best match for them? Do you find that your mood dips on the days when you have less time for yourself, and how can you address that?
  3. Pick up the phone. When you’re stressed, it can help to talk about it. Stress can feel isolating, and in a lone working environment, we know it is especially important to make connections. Whether it’s having a chat with a friend or colleague, or talking to someone in the office, don’t keep worries to yourself.
  4. Make time for yourself. If you’re a Care Professional with a busy schedule or with some clients who require long care calls, you can feel like your own time is limited. It’s important to have set times each week where you can have quiet moments to yourself, to reflect, recharge and just get some headspace. Where you find this is up to you: a yoga class, swimming session, quiet walk in the park, book club, solo coffee shop visit… find quality time for yourself.
  5. Have a treat. If you suffer from persistent stress, a slice of chocolate cake each time you are overwhelmed will be a problem in the long run, but we all know how the occasional self-kindness can improve our mood. It doesn’t have to be a sweet treat – a new pair of earrings or an unexpected find in a charity shop will lift your mood just as easily as cake! Your treat can also be something to look forward to – how about calling up an old friend and arranging a lunch date for your next weekend off work? Currently, The Fork Festival is taking place across eateries in Wimbledon meaning there are some fantastic discounts on local restaurants and bars. Take a look and enjoy!

In order to take great care of their clients, Care Professionals first need to look after themselves. If you’re feeling like you’re under pressure (relating to work or something else entirely), reach out and find support to get yourself on the right track. All Care Professionals feel stress at some point, there’s no shame in it, and we’ll always be on hand to listen to you.