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Four Tips For Maintaining Caregiver Mental Health

We are a major one of the helping professions. As caregivers, we work one-on-one with people who really need us. It’s important to maintain our mental as well as our physical health.

Breathe. The best thing you can do, not just for yourself, but for your clients, too, is to stay calm, in both routine and unexpected situations. Breathing deeply helps make sure this happens. Proper breathing helps with clear thinking, too, and prevents panicking. It’s impossible to panic and breathe deeply at the same time.

Communicate. A whole lot has been written about accurately getting a message across. Few people, even professionals, even think about learning better ways to receive info. Effective communication involves both these skills. The quickest and easiest way to improve these skills is to incorporate not interrupting and paying attention into all our interactions with others. Having accurate knowledge of what’s really going on helps us maintain an accurate picture of a situation with a client, family, or colleague.

Don’t take it personally. Anything anyone else ever says or does is a reflection of them, not you. Keeping this in mind helps minimize worry, anxiety, hurt feelings, and suspicion that you may have said or done the wrong thing.

Vent. This may or may not involve a mental health professional. For the most part, clients and their families give us feedback that reinforces the rewarding nature of what we do. Once in a while, though, something comes up that we need to express. This can include talking about the incident with a colleague, engaging in some kind of physical activity, or simply appropriately retreating from the conflict zone. If more than venting is needed, and you can tell by how much you go over an incident in your mind, let someone know. The sooner you address an issue that’s bothering you, the sooner you can resolve it.

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