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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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