Top 10 Wellbeing Tips for Care Assistants

Wellbeing

Care Assistant jobs can be amazing. It’s flexible work, no two days are the same, and you get to make a huge difference to people’s lives. But, as all care workers know, it can also be hard – and you need to take care of your own wellbeing too.

Why it’s important to keep on top of your wellbeing

When you’re a Care Assistant, other people rely on you. It can be a very physically and mentally taxing job, and your body and mind both need time to rest.

Lots of people suffer from back, knee and other strain-related injuries. In your Care Assistant job, you probably do lots of walking, lifting and carrying. This is hard on your body and puts you at risk of injury.

Your mental health can be affected too. Carer fatigue or carer burnout is a problem for lots of Care Assistants and family carers.

You need to take care of yourself so that you can continue helping your service users, but also for yourself. You deserve to be happy and enjoy life!

We’ve put together a list of our top 10 wellbeing tips for Care Assistants.

Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep

Sleeping well can be a challenge as a Care Assistant, especially if you’re working varying shifts or irregular hours. However, getting a regular 6-8 hours of sleep a night can work wonders for your physical and mental health.

If you’re struggling to sleep, you could try these top sleep tips:

  • Drink less caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening (or the hours before you go to bed, if you’re on a different schedule)
  • Avoid using your phone straight before bed, as the blue light from the screen can suppress one of the key sleep hormones
  • Make sure your room is dark and you’re not disturbed by noise, whatever time you sleep. This might mean installing blackout curtains or using a sleep mask, and using white noise or a fan to block out any noise.

Drink plenty

And we don’t just mean coffee! Drinking the right amount of water each day can make a huge difference to your physical health.

Physical activity (such as Care Assistant jobs) can easily dehydrate you, so you might need to drink more water than some of your friends or family.

Drinking plenty can improve your digestive health, reduces the risk of kidney and bladder infections and cystitis, and may even help your memory.

Eat healthily

Healthy eating isn’t just good for losing weight. Choosing the right foods can help your energy levels, mood and physical health.

This doesn’t mean that you should never have any treats – but try to make sure it’s as part of a balanced diet!

Stay active

As Care Assistants, we’re on our feet for most of the working day. So it can be tempting to crash on the sofa as soon as we get home. But exercise can actually make us feel less tired in the long run!

If you take up running or join a dance class, you’ll increase your endurance and find that soon you tire less easily.

Stretching exercises such as yoga and pilates are especially important for protecting your back and joints against injury.

And, of course, exercise helps release endorphins – the happy hormone!

Keep up with hobbies

Life should never be all about work. You need to have something to look forward to at the end of the day, whether that’s going to the cinema, baking or being part of a sports team.

Spend time with friends and family

A series of lockdowns and social distancing have shown us the important of keeping in touch. Even if you can’t meet up with friends and family in person, try to arrange regular chats online or over the phone.

Talk about your challenges

Care Assistant jobs have some particular challenges. Many Care Assistants have experienced loss when a service user dies, which can be debilitating – especially if you were very close, or it’s your first experience of grief.

While working, you may see, hear and experience things that are traumatic for you. Service users who are anxious or in pain may get angry. It’s natural and completely normal to be affected by this.

But you aren’t alone. Many of your colleagues and managers will have been through similar bad days. Take the time to talk about the negative experiences you’ve had.

In addition to your colleagues, consider talking to friends, family or a counsellor. It’s important to process your feelings.

Try something new

If you feel like you’re in a bit of a rut and aren’t looking forward to anything much, why not try something new? Have you always wanted to take a ballet class, try painting or learn to play the guitar?

More and more adults are taking classes to learn new skills, either online or in person. You won’t be the only beginner, and you’ll probably meet some new people and have a lot of fun.

Take time to relax

Whether this means chilling out in front of the TV or going on a five-mile run, it’s important to have downtime. Relaxation looks different for everyone, but try to set aside some time each week where you’re not working, doing housework or providing childcare.

See your GP if it gets too much

If you feel like you’re struggling with your physical or mental health, it’s important to ask for help. Whether that’s because your back hurts, you think you’re drinking more alcohol than normal or you’re feeling extra anxious, there is treatment and support available.

See your GP as soon as possible if you’re worried, because usually the earlier you treat a problem, the better.

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