Being a caregiver to a person with special needs has its’ own stresses and pressures. The pressure of making sure that the person(s) you are caring for are safe and receiving the things they need can be daunting. I often ask myself, “how can I best help the person I am serving, what can I do better to enrich their lives and the lives of everyone around them.” That is a question that we as caregivers will always ask. It is our primary job to meet the physical and/or emotional needs of the people we serve. People in this field know how rewarding making a difference in someone’s life can be. We also know how challenging and exhausting caring for people with special needs can be.
Being a person who cares for individuals with special needs can be taxing as we look at increased workloads, stressful environments and individuals who may demonstrate challenging behaviors. C. R. Figley described what is called “Compassion Fatigue” which is the “cost of caring” for others who cannot care for themselves. This can lead to emotional exhaustion, decreased empathy for the people in your care and in some cases… physical abuse. For you, it can eventually turn into depression and other stress related illnesses.
Signs of Compassion Fatigue are but not limited to:
- Decrease ability to feel sympathy or empathy for the person we care about
- Poor decision making
- Inability to separate work from home
- Reduced desire to come to work and help those around you
So how can we prevent the stressors or “Compassion Fatigue?” The best way to take care of others is to make sure you take care of yourself.
- Find outlets or hobbies you can do to help reduce the pressures of the job or caring for that special person
- Recognize your needs
- Take a break when you start feeling overwhelmed
- Make plans to get away or just hang out with some friends for a laugh
- Know what you have and do not have control over
- Work out or even try meditation, yoga or breathing exercises
- Find a balance between taking care of yourself and others to make sure you don’t forget your needs
Make sure you take a few minutes each day to do your own personal inventory of what you need to keep you balanced and ready to meet the challenges of caring for the people in our charge. Give yourself a pat on the back and know that you make a difference in someone’s life. Most importantly… know that you make a difference in your own life. Remember to be good to yourselves and the rest will take care of itself.
Wishing you every happiness this Holiday Season and prosperity in the New Year. Thank you for being our customer. We look forward to continuing our relationship in the coming year.
All the best to you and your family,
Communication A to Z