Caregiving is an epic journey, not because of its all inspiring stories, but because its ups and downs are full of valuable life lessons. The road to success in caregiving is rough and tough, but it is in this special role that we are taught some very important lessons in life.
Here are our top 10 life lessons for you as a caregiver:
1. Being organized is a lifesaver.
Caregiving is a taxing job with lots of physical exertion and time-consuming tasks. You need a system of doing things or you waste your time going from one place to another without being truly productive.
Disorganization leads to useless repetition and eventual exhaustion. You’re always pressed for time and end up with poor quality or unfinished work. The best way to survive your caregiving responsibilities is to continuously find ways to simplify your routine and genuinely connect with your patients.
2. Humor has a place in healthcare.
The best humor starts with a positive mindset and kind spirit. For it to be acceptable in a place where life can hang in the balance, it must be done with hope and acceptance. When sincere, humor is a powerful coping mechanism that allows someone to smile or laugh instead of cry, or get an instant boost of energy on tiring days.
3. In the end, health, family, love, and relationships are all that matter.
Hospice patients tend to choose these four pillars of human existence over material things when they are face-to-face with death. Their life regrets often come from choosing fleeting and temporary happiness over meaningful connections.
4. Self-care is a must.
In caregiving, you simply cannot give it all without leaving something for yourself. You risk losing yourself or giving up a rewarding job in the process. So, however pressed for time you feel or difficult your tasks, you need some me time without the guilt. The basics like proper nutrition, hydration, rest, and relaxation are critical to staying fit, focused, and uplifted.
Taking care of your mental health is just as important, and you can do this by keeping in touch with supportive family and friends and injecting your thoughts with inspiring messages. Fortunately, we have the technology to make this easy! With a simple tap on the screen, personal and group video calls can strengthen your relationships and be a source of support. You can also join social media groups and cope by discussing challenges and ways to overcome.
5. Compassion is the highest form of humanity.
In healthcare, the hustle and bustle of patient care can take its toll on workers so they focus on completing tasks and meeting deadlines instead of genuinely connecting with and understanding patients. Caregivers can become cold and uncaring, even though “care” is right in the job title. In caregiving, you simply cannot lose compassion. Being kind and sincere while dealing with patients is the only way to put “care” back in healthcare.
6. How you think drives your day.
Your mindset before you sleep at night and upon waking in the morning will determine your overall approach to the challenges of the coming day. If you have an I-can-do-this attitude, you’ll find it easier to let go of small annoyances and focus on your patients and tasks.
7. For patients, independence amidst limitations is gold.
Imagine a fully functioning and active adult faced with a debilitating disease that severely limits their function and movement. It can be a devastating truth to accept, let alone overcome.
It is important for these patients to do things on their own as long as they are safe. It may take much longer to perform an activity than if you do it for them, but enabling their independence helps them feel good about themselves.
8. Nothing is or will be perfect (and that’s ok).
Even if you carefully plan and organize your day, follow all instructions in the care plan, and efficiently perform your duties, something can go off track at any time and get even worse when you try to fix it. At this point, you need to keep calm and stay focused. Also, preparation will help prevent avoidable disasters.
9. You'll never know the power of song in healing and recovery until you hit “play.”
Music can reprogram a person’s inner disorder and anxiety. Whether you play or sing it, your favorite song can calm nerves, help blow off steam, and pump up happy hormones.
10. We all are simply transient beings.
Being amazed by health and life while constantly confronted with sickness and death seems to make the years on the job fly by. One of the greatest lessons of caregiving is realizing that life is a precious and fleeting gift. We’re all just passing by, so we have to make the most of the present moment while remembering the good of the past and hoping for a better tomorrow.
One of the rewards of caregiving is learning the lessons no book can teach you. In the process, you'll realize the job that challenged you has made you a stronger and more fulfilled individual. And this makes it all worth it in the end!
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