In this article, Birdie’s promoting Care Professionals mental health and well-being. It’s important for us to remember that those who are devoted to caring for others also need support. We’ll dive into what well-being may look like for care professionals, why it’s important, and some tips for improving well-being and mental health.
What is Well-Being for Care Professionals?
Well-being can look like many different things to many people, but at its core, it’s about taking care of one's own mental, physical and spiritual needs. For Care Professionals, although caring for a loved one can provide great satisfaction, it can also create a personal set of challenges. This is why Birdie wanted to dig deeper into what well-being may look like, to provide Care Professionals with some helpful resources and reminders to put themselves first.
Well-being for Care Professionals can look different for each individual. It might mean running a hot bubble bath and putting on a relaxing playlist, sitting somewhere green in nature and being quiet for a few minutes, or it could look like someone taking just 5 minutes out of their day to listen to their favourite podcast. As well-being is subjective, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what’s needed. That’s why Birdie’s put together 6 tips to improve well-being and mental health as a Care Professional.
Why is Well-Being important for Care Professionals?
Well-being is as essential for Care Professionals as it is for individuals in any other career. However, we know that 72% of carers did not have any breaks during the pandemic and that 61% of carers said that they were worried about the impact of caring on their relationships with friends and family. It’s why the focus on well-being for people specifically in the Care Profession is more important than ever. Care Professionals are often so busy caring for others, that they tend to neglect their own emotional and physical needs. Many can also be frustrated by a lack of money, resources and skills to effectively organise a loved one's care.
Studies have shown that promoting one's own well-being can help minimise stress levels, reduce anxiety and improve one's sleep. This is specifically important for Care Professionals as they can better support the ones they care for, and reduce frustration and fatigue at work leading to a safer, happier environment.
6 Tips to Improve Well-Being and Mental Health as a Care Professional.
- Practise mindfulness.
When you’re a Care Professional, other people rely on you, it can be a very mentally and physically demanding job, and both the body and mind need time to rest. Although this may be easier said than done, getting enough sleep and being able to relax is crucial for maintaining physical and emotional well-being. Mindfulness has been proven to help decrease blood pressure, improve relaxation and reduce anxiety. Sometimes, as a Care Professional, it can be very hard to ‘switch off’, which is why Birdie recommends watching a short mindfulness video as a part of an evening routine. (We specifically found this one to be pretty relaxing). We also recommend Headspace, where there’s access to hundreds of mood-boosting meditations and, relaxing sleep exercises.
- Check-in with yourself.
It’s important to note, and be aware of how you feel throughout the day. Have you had enough to eat? Are you drinking enough? Are you perhaps feeling rundown? Being able to consistently check in with ourselves, allows for the opportunity to pinpoint what it might be that needs our attention. No one knows you better than you know yourself, which is why it’s so important to ‘check in’ to ensure you can monitor how you’re feeling as a Care Professional. A good example of experimenting with this would be a ‘body scan’, which we’ve linked here.
- Take 10 minutes.
The life of a Care Professional can come with a busy schedule, so being able to take regular breaks is vital for caring for one’s own well-being. This doesn’t have to look like taking hours away from work, but taking frequent, consistent breaks throughout the day to feel recharged and connected with your own well-being. We’ve included 45 simple self-care practises here that can be done in 10 minutes to help with your well-being throughout the day.
- Remember that it’s OK to take some time for yourself.
With all of the hustle and bustle that’s happening in the world right now, sometimes we all could use a reminder that it’s OK to take time for yourself. (It’s actually needed, and it comes with plenty of benefits that will allow you to be the best version of yourself when caring for other people.).
- Talk to someone for support.
To have a clear and focused mind, we recommend talking to someone about how you may feel. Whether that’s a friend, a colleague or a support group; spaces that are able to provide support and a listening ear can be invaluable when Care Professionals get overwhelmed.
Our final tip revolves around exercise. Being able to include exercise in a weekly routine has many benefits. For one, exercise reduces the levels of stress hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol) in the body. Exercise also boosts the body's production of endorphins, which are natural painkillers and mood elevators. Even taking a brisk walk for 20 minutes has been shown to have huge benefits to both our physical and mental well-being.
An Extra Birdie tip!
There are many wonderful organisations out there that offer support to Care Professionals. The Care Workers’ Charity launched a ‘Mental Health Support Programme’ which you can read more about by clicking on the link. The programme provides up to 10 sessions with a qualified therapist through Red Umbrella, an accredited mental health organisation. The cost of all of these sessions are fully paid for by The Care Workers’ Charity. Their main goal is to provide Care Professionals with the support they need to better cope with the challenges they’re facing.
As a final note, each Care Professional’s idea of well-being and what they may need is subjective. Although we hope these tips have been informative and helpful, there are plenty of other ways to help with one’s own well-being that haven’t been listed in this article.
We love celebrating Care Professionals and all that they do. Here’s a short video from our partner Alina Homecare showcasing their Care Professionals and how Birdie has helped them:
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