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If you are caring for a loved one and at the same time need to return to work full-time, you might be at your wit’s end. HW Staffing provides insights on how to avoid burnout while providing elderly care.

Managing stress at work can be nearly impossible when dealing with the added drama of a loved one’s health or senior care. But while you provide care for others, it’s important to take care of yourself so you don’t burn out.  

This article will discuss how to handle stress in the workplace while caring for the elderly.

Stop Bringing Your Stress Home  

Stress doesn’t just pop up in your life; it creeps up on you little by little until one day you realize that you can’t handle anything else. Whether you work at a fancy office downtown or attend zoom meetings in your sweatpants at home, any job brings a certain amount of stress.  

Here are some ideas on how to manage your work-related stressors and keep them from affecting your home life:  

Leave Work At Work  

  • Create a barrier between your home life and work life by not bringing work home with you. If your jobs involve a lot of paperwork and excel sheets, you should start working around your schedule to ensure all work is finished during your work hours. 

Remind yourself that rushing through work when you’ve clocked out only makes you work unpaid hours and could affect your productivity the following day.

But what if you’re already working from home? The same advice applies.  

Log in and out of work at the same time you would at an office, and create a distraction-free area where you can work with minimal interruptions.  

Take A Break Every Couple of Hours 

  • Everyone needs a break. Make sure you take a few minutes to stretch your legs and relax your mind, even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes. You can accomplish a few self-care tasks in this short time frame, such as resting your eyes, getting a sip of water, or maybe getting a few steps in for your Fitbit. 

To remind yourself to take breaks, you can use the Pomodoro technique, where you divide your workday into 25-minute chunks and take five-minute breaks in between. You can use this Pomodoro timer to keep track. 

Learn To Say No  

  • The average workday is roughly 8.8 hours. It’s a significant amount of time at first glance, but when you factor in the meetings, recurring reports, breaks, and even simply replying to emails, the shift is just about over. 

Many employees are time-blind and tend to overcommit to projects beyond their bandwidth. If you do this, you should practice saying no.  

The over-eagerness to accept projects can stem from the desire to stand out, job insecurity, FOMO (fear of missing out), and even just plain helpfulness. But you have to remind yourself that the most important thing in your life at the moment is your time.  

Saying no to additional work doesn’t mean you’re no longer a team player. You just need this time to care for your team at home.

Develop Office Friendships And Socialize With Colleagues 

It seems counterintuitive to make friends when you don’t always have the time to socialize, but befriending office colleagues or getting comfortable enough with them has its long-term benefits.  

Good relationships with your coworkers can significantly improve your working environment and alleviate stress. Take the time during the workday to have a little “water cooler” chat, chime in on team meetings, compliment someone’s new haircut, check in on someone who was recently ill, thank the person who brought breakfast bagels – even these simple, genuine gestures could win you over a friend.  

Workplace friends also provide a different companionship than your relationships with family. Maintaining these relationships keeps you from feeling isolated and alone while you’re caring for your loved ones. And should you ever need to take time off work, your work friends will be more inclined to cover for you while you’re away.  

Talk To Your Boss/Employer About The Situation 

It can be scary bringing up the situation to your boss, but this is the best way to ensure that your job, loved ones, and mental well-being are all kept in check.  

Discuss if there are options available such as flextime, a temporary change of role, so you have less responsibility for a while, or a hybrid working arrangement. If you ever need to take significant time off from work, ask if you can also take extended family leave or even a sabbatical.  

Being proactive with your work arrangement lets your boss know your commitment to working with them while going through a rough patch and helps them prepare for days you won’t be working.  

Automate The Little Things, Delegate What You Can’t Handle 

As a working caregiver, your job is 24/7. Therefore, it would be best if you started to be more selective about where your time is spent outside of work. There are two ways you can save time and help reduce at-home stressors.

The first one is automation. 

Automation is easier than most of us think, it’s simply setting up a single recurring process. Here are some areas you can start automating:

Bill Payments  

Most banks, credit card companies, and utility providers allow you to set up automatic payments. You can even sign up for automatic bill pay online through your bank account, automatically sending the payment through your checking account every month. This way, you don’t have to worry about paying bills on time each month. 

Groceries 

Get your groceries sent to you! Many local supermarkets and online delivery apps have features that let you set up automatic delivery of items.

If the service fees don’t appeal to you, take a moment to think about the time you’ll spend driving, the fuel you’ll consume, and the spur-of-the-moment purchases you’ll end up buying at local stores. Having groceries sent to you regularly will ensure that only the essentials are included in your shopping list.  

The second time saver you can utilize is delegation.  

Everybody needs help, and it doesn’t make sense for you to do everything yourself. If there are tasks that are too much to handle or are just repetitive that you’d rather not do, you should start delegating them.  

Ask around; maybe a family member is willing to pitch in to do chores like laundry, washing dishes, general home cleaning, and other errands for your household now and then.  

If a relative isn’t available, search the web for licensed support professionals to help with tasks. Of course, this comes at a cost, but if it means saving you 3 hours of work, plus a professional who can do it better and faster, that’s money well spent toward your well-being. 

One of the most important lessons that caregivers can learn is to take care of themselves, both physically and mentally. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your loved ones properly.”

HW Staffing Solutions is ready to help you with your next job search or your next great hire. Contact Us Today!