According to figures compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, over 3.4 million professional caregivers are currently employed in the home care industry. Although it’s a joyful and rewarding career, caregiving can be a complicated job that’s exhausting and frustrating. No paid caregiver breezes through the journey without feeling some degree of negativity and hopelessness creeping in. As a professional caregiver serving on the front lines, here are ten secrets to staying positive even on the worst of days.
10 Secrets to Being a Happy and Successful Professional Caregiver
Focus on the Good Things in Life
To keep negative thoughts at bay, try making a list each day of things that are going well in your life. When problems present, look for small bright spots in your life, like a warm, sunny day, binge-watching your favorite TV shows, or taking a well-deserved nap.
Speak Kindly to Yourself
One of the keys to positive thinking is never saying anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Turning off the negative dialogue in your head can be a powerful tool to harness optimism. For example, instead of thinking, “This will never work,” you might say to yourself, “I’ll try again later a different way.”
Lean on Positive People
Surrounding yourself with positive friends, family, and coworkers is helpful when trying to stay upbeat. Like the average person, you spend the most time with a close support group of roughly five people. Stay connected with those individuals regularly, either in person or online. If needed, join a supportive online community of fellow caregivers.
Seek Happiness Through Healthy Habits
A healthy diet and exercise program can go a long way in improving mood and overall wellness to counteract the rigors of caregiving. Regular exercise and good nutrition lower stress, increase energy and foster good sleep habits. Be sure to avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, overeating, and drinking alcohol to excess.
Take Time for Yourself
Whether it’s a quick walk around the block or meeting a friend for lunch, taking a break from caregiving duties to focus on self-care is essential for your health and wellbeing. Staying recharged and refreshed is also a reliable way to ensure that you continue to provide your client with the care they deserve.
You’ve probably heard that “Laughter is the best medicine.” Not only does laughter make you feel good, but its positive effects stay with you long after the chuckling subsides. Research has shown that regular laughter lowers stress hormones, relaxes tense muscles, improves mood, and eases anxiety.
Keep It Simple
Sometimes, only doing what immediately needs to be done, like dishes, laundry, and meals, can make the days less daunting. Don’t set unrealistic caregiving goals for yourself. Instead, keep it simple by picking one or two essential tasks to accomplish and then focusing on those.
Embrace Your Spiritual Side
The benefits of spirituality include improved mood and even physical health and longevity.
Experts recommend setting aside focused time each day for spiritual activities, including sharing prayers with loved ones, singing, or listening to spiritual music.
Keep a Gratitude Journal
Sometimes, life gets so busy that we can easily forget about all the good things. The best way to remind yourself of the pos