Meaningful Ways to De-Stress as a Personal Support Worker

Being a personal support worker who cares for senior citizens can be an incredibly rewarding career. But as PSWs won’t hesitate to tell you, it’s far from easy.

Not only is being a PSW physically challenging (you’re always on your feet, often helping people move around), it can take a big mental toll as well.

Stresses of Being a Personal Support Worker

The complex responsibility of caring for another adult’s needs can lead to feelings of loneliness, loss of sleep, and other signs of caregiver stress. That’s why learning to de-stress is an important skill to learn as a personal support worker or other RAH home health care provider.

Here are a few meaningful ways to de-stress as a personal support worker:

  1. It’s not that you don’t get enough exercise on the job, but being on your feet at work is different from structured exercise. Exercise has a way of clearing your mind and putting stressful thoughts onto the backburner for a while. Plus, it’s a big part of maintaining your overall health and wellbeing. Find a physical activity you enjoy, whether it’s weightlifting, jogging, cycling, yoga, or a team sport.
  2. Join a support group. One of the best ways to cope with stress is to talk it out with people who you relate to. Your fellow PSWs and RAH health care providers are a great source of camaraderie, but it helps to have people to talk to outside of work as well. Find a group of caregivers locally or online you feel comfortable sharing with.
  3. Take time to be with your own thoughts (or just “be”). Between the constant activity on the job and responsibilities back home, it can be hard as a PSW to find time to take it all in. But self-reflection is important for mental health. Whenever possible seize the opportunity to be with your own thoughts — no work, no entertainment, just you and yourself. A bit of light yoga, deep breathing, or meditation can help you accomplish this.

Remember: there is absolutely no shame in seeking professional support for caregiver stress. It sounds cliché, but you really do have to take care of your own needs first. Only then can you put your best foot forward and give your clients the quality of

Swimming for Health

Do you know how to swim? It’s a popular sport, but one that has perhaps not been given its full due as a very healthy pursuit. Here are a few reasons why swimming can be an excellent addition to your health regimen:

Low Impact

People with certain debilitating physical conditions and senior citizens have trouble doing certain exercises. However, swimming is often an option for these individuals, thanks to the fact that it is low impact.

The buoyancy of water means that your bones, muscles, and joints don’t have to work as hard as they do when you are on land. Fortunately, these parts of your body still gain all of the exercise benefits in the process.

Blood Pressure Benefits

High blood pressure is a problem plaguing a distressingly large percentage of the population. There can be various reasons for this, but lack of exercise is a common component. Swimming allows people who find other exercises challenging to get in the amount of physical activity they require to keep their blood pressure at a manageable rate. Added bonus benefit: 90 minutes of swimming per week is a great at lowering your levels of the so-called “bad” cholesterol (LDL).

Cardio and Strength Training

Want to build muscle mass and increase your endurance? Swimming is great for those, too. While the buoyancy of water makes it possible to do certain exercises that would otherwise be prohibitive, it also makes exercising more challenging. Reason? It’s tougher to move through water than through air, so that resistance increases the amount of work (and benefits!).

Mental Health

One common component of depression is that the person largely stops doing things, including regular exercise. That is self-defeating because exercise generates serotonin, the brain’s “feel good” chemical, which helps to lessen the effects of depression. Swimming is also an enjoyable activity and less high pressure than some exercises, which may encourage people with depression to try it.




Feeling Unwanted? Don’t Give Up Hope

Do you consider yourself to be a solitary person? Introverted people often need to spend time alone because extended periods in crowds can leave them feeling quite uneasy. For them, being alone is not a curse, but a wholly desirable state of affairs.

However, for many others, being alone is not only undesirable, it can be downright depressing. It can lead to feelings of being unwanted and unloved. If these are not reduced/eliminated, mental health issues can follow.

Are you feeling lonely and unwanted? Not sure of what to do? Consider the following:

This Will Pass

Unless you are like Tom Hanks in CASTAWAY and stuck on a remote island with only a basketball for company, you will not be lonely forever. Think about times in the past when you felt this way. Now remember how these periods were only fleeting and, eventually, you felt better. Keep that at the front of your thoughts.

Try Journaling

Many therapists recommend journaling because it provides a way for you to put your thoughts and feelings down on paper. This not only makes them easy to revisit later, but also provides a way for you to let them out. Once those negative emotions have poured out on to the paper, you might be in a better position to deal with your current emotional state.

Ignore That Negative Inner Voice

Ever heard of an inner critic? This is that voice in your head that constantly dresses you down. It may seem logical at the time, but the “advice” given by this voice is almost always irrational and should be avoided. This is especially true when you are feeling down. Call up a friend or relative, and talk to a real person in a better position to offer the kind of supportive words you really need to hear.

Are We Turning a Corner in the Fight Against Sexual Harassment?

The past few weeks have seen a series of high profile Hollywood personalities accused of sexual harassment. In some cases, this behavior has occurred over a period of years. They were apparently able to carry on for so long because no one dared go up against a person with that degree of power. Denial of employment, threats of being blackballed, and other forms of coercion were used, and when those failed, hush money was offered.

Hollywood is certainly not the only industry where such criminal activity takes place, but because of its reputation for glamor, it often holds the spotlight. Now that spotlight is being shone on a part of the movies that everyone knows exists, but tinsel town would like to keep quiet. The big question is: will it make a difference?

You don’t have to do much research to find previous instances of harassment similar to that allegedly committed by figures like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Brett Ratner. Many people enter the movie industry based on the lure of money, glamor, and sex. The power dynamic can feed into a growing sense of entitlement that may occur when a person begins to find fame.

However, while scandals have broken out before, we have not seen so many at one time. Also, the penalties that the alleged perpetrators will likely end up paying seem far greater. What is clear is that these stories will not be going away overnight and that is a good thing.

There has been some worry expressed that this could lead to caution that might even impede some people’s careers, but this seems like much less of an issue than the thought that it will instead give pause to would-be predators. It will also likely lead to more and more victims coming out and making their stories known.

Managing Vet Bills Without Compromising Your Pet’s Health

For many of us, our pets are our children and the thought of compromising on their care can be quite distressing. However, the reality is that, depending on your financial circumstances, vet costs can take a substantial bite out of your savings. As with humans, there is no way to know for sure whether your pet will be healthy more often than not, though there are some things you can do to lower your vet bills:

Do your research

Vet costs can vary from clinic to clinic, just like any other service. Talk to friends about how satisfied they are with their vet care and the cost of that particular doctor. If you pet needs a major procedure, don’t be afraid to ask around for an estimate. It might take some time to find the right doctor who also offers the right price, but it is worth the effort for both that procedure and work that will be done in the future.

Put away money in advance

If you don’t have pet insurance, you can still plan ahead for future bills by putting a little money aside each month. Look at your budget and decide both how much you can put away and how much you typically spend at the vet in a year. You need to exceed that amount in order to help meet the cost of unexpected expenses on top of regular ones (eg. yearly shots).

Know when to stop treatment

It can be incredibly painful to stop treating your pet and ask for them to be put down, but you have to weigh the options honestly. If continuing with a treatment will prove to be a hardship for you and the benefits for the animal are not substantial, eventually you have to recognize when the time has come and be able to make that tough decision.

Is Online Shopping Becoming the New Normal?

How often do you shop online? We will wager that it is a lot more often than you thought you would, even just a few years ago. News sites are full of stories about how seemingly indestructible retail giants like Sears and Toys “R” Us have faltered badly recently. Changing shopping habits is not a new thing, but online shopping has created a major sea change when it comes to how people are buying not just rare or offbeat items, but even the basics of daily living.

For example, grocery delivery was something that was not so unusual in, say, small-town America. But now even people in major cities are buying their food online and having it delivered. Substantial benefits have occurred, but mostly for a handful of major retailers and a large swath of consumers. Competition is always beneficial when it comes to keeping prices down, and the fact that online retailers often do not have brick-and-mortar storefronts and much smaller employee rolls means that they can offer their goods for a lower price. Combine that with the remarkable convenience of shopping online and it becomes a proposition that is just too good to pass up for many consumers.

This has led to a dramatic drop in the number of people not only going to stores, but to shopping malls in general. Sears has filed for bankruptcy protection and many are predicting that the retail behemoth will never recover. Toys “R” Us managed to get an infusion of cash that will keep the lights on, but that is of little help to the various organizations owed money.

All things change, but it is tough to predict exactly how much online shopping will continue to affect the retail environment in the next five years. Over the long haul, we might actually be at the beginning of an unstoppable march into a time when brick-and-mortar stores become something that you only read about in history books.

The Joys of Productivity

Bosses everywhere strive to achieve a level of healthy productivity in their workplaces. By that, we mean that employees are healthy in a manner that is sustainable for both the company and their personal well-being. However, as you may have encountered in one of your employment roles over the years, it is possible to become far too busy to be effective as an employee or function well as a human being. However, going too far in the opposite direction is not good either as tempting as it may be at times.

Do what you can to find the right balance because being productive is very good for you on the whole. Here are a few reasons why:

You can learn many new things

Keeping busy means almost inevitably trying and learning new things. If you do not do very much, or you simply do the same things over and over, you pass up on a great chance to learn new skills. This will also help you become more open to trying new things.

It keeps your brain healthy and active

Have you ever heard the phrase “use it or lose it”? Well, it can apply to your brain as well. Learning to do new things and performing activities that keep your brain active and stimulated can help to maintain its health.

You can help you do better at work

Even in workplaces that do not have video cameras on at all times, supervisors notice whether employees are being active and productive. If you are simply sitting around and doing the bare minimum of work, it will be noticed whether you think it is or not. Employees who take the initiative and go above and beyond usually are the ones who get rewarded. That can mean either a raise or a promotion.

Don’t Forget to Relax

That probably seems like an odd title for an article. I mean, who forgets to relax? Well, you might be surprised to know that many of us are not taking the necessary time to relax each day. That can have consequences for both our physical and mental well-being. Here are just a few reasons why you need to set aside some time each day to do nothing but relax.

Heart health

We all know that high blood pressure is bad for your heart. There are many things that can cause this condition, including a lack of proper relaxation. So, sitting around and “doing nothing” can actually have some heart benefits. Just do not do it excessively because you still need a proper amount of exercise every day.

Brain health

Just like you can overdo it with your body, it is entirely possible to overwork your brain. That affects your decision-making skills and accuracy, and not in a positive way. Also, failure to properly relax can lead to such mental health conditions as depression and anxiety, as well as frequent and debilitating headaches.

Sleep health

Trying to sleep when your mind and body are not in a state of relaxation often results in substandard sleep or even no sleep at all. Not getting a proper rest at night negatively impacts both your mind and your body, and can have seriously negative effects on both.

Stomach health

You have probably heard the expression “my stomach is tied up in knots.” While that does not literally happen, prolonged tension is bad for your stomach because it can lead to conditions like ulcers. Prolonged anxiety can also make you feel sick to your stomach, which is certainly unpleasant. No one likes to feel ill, so take some time to relax and allow your inner systems to slow to a crawl.