The last handful of months have been tough, to say the least – but no one is bearing the brunt more than frontline healthcare workers. Battling through waves of COVID-fatigue, these care providers are continuously putting others’ needs before their own. Months of fighting this pandemic are finally taking their toll.
A recent survey revealed that 64 percent of family caregivers reported feeling depressed due to the stresses of caregiving. And while these unpaid caregivers are often juggling other responsibilities, such as other jobs and families, undoubtedly contributing to their stress, it’s not a stretch to extend that to the professional caregivers as well when 76 percent of all healthcare workers have reported burnout and exhaustion during this pandemic.
Vaccine news from Pfizer and Moderna brings some relief in the form of a promise that things will begin to look better in the near future. But, with the highest spikes in cases we’ve seen to date, it’s clear that we still have several months to go before we begin to see real improvements.
Add the holiday season to the mix and you’ve got a perfect storm. It’s more important than ever to encourage your caregivers – who are always putting their patients first – to practice some self-care. Here are six tips you can share with your caregiving workforce to help them recharge:
- Prioritize health – We know that caregivers often put their client’s needs ahead of their own. Now is the time for them to check in on their own health. Sometimes simply staying hydrated and eating healthily goes a long way. Make sure they are not putting off their own doctor’s appointments either.
- Keep moving – Do your caregivers take the time to move and get some exercise? Everybody has a different regimen that works for them, be sure they are taking the time to get that exercise.
- Sleep– These are very demanding times and it’s easy to get caught up in the work. Make sure your caregivers have the time and space to get the rest they need.
- Reserve personal time – Saving even 30 minutes on a Sunday night to do something for oneself is incredibly important. Puzzles are a great way to relax and clear your mind, but anything will work
- Leverage your support system – whether it’s your employer or a loved one, know that they’re there to listen and help when they can.
- Arm yourself with knowledge – we’re continuing to learn more about this virus daily making it stressful to feel up to date. Lean on the CDC website and other trusted sources for reliable updates and tips.
Looking for some more ways to support your home care workers right now? Consider a dinner delivery, spot bonus or even an extra day off. A small gesture can go a long way in offering emotional relief during this difficult time.
I’m a firm believer that the right support can help caregivers feel secure and confident in their roles, despite its inherent stresses. Caregivers are essential to the broader healthcare ecosystem, and it’s time we treat them as such. Join me in taking a moment to recognize these superheroes this holiday season – they certainly deserve it!