It’s incredibly altruistic to live a life in the service of other people. Not many individuals can devote their entire lives to building a career around the act of caring for strangers in need, so you should feel proud that you’re one of the passionate few who does. But it also shouldn’t come at the cost of your health.
Understandably, working as a caregiver at a nursing home can be both fulfilling and exhausting at the same time. On the one hand, you’ll be providing companionship and assistance to the elderly who can no longer perform their daily tasks alone. But on the other, caregiving is a manually laborious job that can take a lot of energy to do.
Wanting to focus on your needs from time to time won’t make you selfish. It can make you feel more satisfied and fulfilled with your life because you don’t feel like you’re lacking in any aspect. That said, here are three ways you can achieve work-life balance despite your demanding job:
Remember the Value of Me Time
As a caregiver, you’ll have people directly under your care. They’ll be depending on you to help them eat, bathe, get dressed, and perform their other activities throughout the day. However, you must remember that it isn’t all up to you because you have coworkers that you can depend on for help.
So, as much as possible, try not to sacrifice what little time you have to yourself for your job. Having time to yourself is especially important because that’s how you can de-stress from your woes at work and get back to the activities that make you happy. This is the perfect time to care about you, for a change.
That’s why you should always remember to take time for yourself. And keep in mind that your personal time doesn’t have to be productive. You can spend your rest days lounging in bed or hiking in the great outdoors, as long as you’re doing something that can heal your soul. Plus, it’s also the best time to recuperate and prepare yourself for another week of working.
Say No to the Sedentary Lifestyle
Since caregiving can be a manually laborious job, you must be fit and healthy because otherwise, you might not have the ability to perform your role. This is not to say that you should get into bodybuilding or extreme sports, but at the very least, you should say no to the sedentary lifestyle.
Reasonably, you might want to spend all your downtime being immobile, but that won’t do you any good. Of course, you’re entitled to your rest; however, there’s a fine line between catching up on your rest and refusing to be anything but sedentary. Even doing the slightest of physical activities is better than not being active at all.
A sedentary lifestyle isn’t recommended for anyone because it increases the possibility of developing chronic illnesses and serious health conditions as people age. So, if you don’t want to do it for yourself, then you should at least do it for the sake of the people you’re taking care of. This way, you’ll be able to help more people longer.
Maintain Your Social Life and Relationships
When you’re a caregiver, you’re always surrounded by other people. You’ll constantly be in the presence of people who will engage you with casual conversation and small talk. But that’s exactly why it’s harder to see that you still need to socialize with your friends and family outside of your work.
You need to have a life outside of work because you are more than your job. Wanting to maintain a social life won’t make you selfish because it’s necessary for your sanity. It’s important to have a persona that isn’t tied to your job as a caregiver because that’s the only time you can break free from your job.
So try not to reject all dinner invites and spontaneous hangouts that come your way. Of course, you don’t have to go to every social event you get invited to, but make it a point to meet your friends and family regularly. This way, you can take a breather from taking care of everyone else and just focus on your social needs.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to do your job to the best of your abilities, it also shouldn’t hinder you from providing for your own needs. After all, it would be difficult to keep giving when you have nothing left to give, so there always has to be a balance between your personal life and your work as a caregiver.