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Stress Management in Healthcare Assistants

Feeling burnt out, overwhelmed & over-worked?


It’s no joke being a healthcare assistant is among the toughest jobs in today’s world. It’s also no joke that the stress that comes with being a carer is mountainous. From the strenuous, physical activities carried out on a daily basis, to the difficult & taxing mental challenges. Caregivers are dealt with some of the hardest hands in their role. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that they're helped mentally and physically We take a look into stress management for caregivers, how to cope with stress, little activities carers can try during their breaks, and external help.


 

What is stress? Stress is known as the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. A study done by RED C research conveys that over 1/3 of all adults (36%) in Ireland regularly suffer from stress, which is higher than the global average of 31%. This is an alarming percentage. Imagine how much stress is placed on healthcare assistants. They are expected to provide every form of care and activity the clients need, and according to a research done by the NCI carers feel the work they do is unnoticed. Daily, they go through quite a lot. Some signs of stress include:

  • Irritable

  • Depressed

  • Low-spirited

  • Afraid

  • Angry

Physical signs of stress:

  • Headaches

  • Sweating

  • Hyperventilating

  • Dizziness

  • Fatigue

Behavioral signs of stress:

  • Prone to being upset

  • Smoking, consumption of alcohol or taking drugs more often

  • Difficulty in sleeping or over-sleeping

  • Lacking in self-confidence

  • Withdrawal from social groups

While we can’t remove stress completely, there are ways to cope with them. Let’s find out a few ways to manage stress. How can stress be managed? A great tip that goes a long way for many situations is to breathe. Deep breaths are good for your health. Start by closing your eyes, inhale through your nose and hold that breath in your stomach. Exhale through your mouth. You can rinse and repeat these steps until you feel more aware or “in the moment”. You can even try these techniques while counting to 10. Developing an encouraging self-talk pattern is extremely important. Let’s say recently you’ve made a simple mistake. Instead of talking down at yourself, try to give yourself sympathy. Optimistic and compassionate conversation can help you supervise your emotions and take positive measures. Mistakes happen all the time. We’re only human. Another method to managing stress is to speak to someone. The importance of reaching out to a friend or family cannot be overstated. If our carers prefer to speak to an anonymous party, in complete confidentiality we encourage them to avail of our EAP. We partnered with Health Assured to curate the “Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)”. This is a resource our employees can avail of anytime. Please know that you are not alone. There is always someone to listen. Ways to take little breaks for Healthcare Assistants

  1. Meditation Really! You don’t have to do a long thirty minute meditation. A quick 5 minute meditation is fine to keep you in the present. When your day is getting chaotic and your schedule seems to be getting busier, it becomes even more important for a quick 5 minute meditation during your break for yourself. To meditate, you will need to:

    • Find a quiet place.

    • Get comfortable (sitting is effective).

    • Give your attention on a word, phrase, object, or even your breath.

    • Allow your thoughts to come and go without judgement.


  1. Stay hydrated Water is essential to be functional and staying energised. If you’re dehydrated you’re prone to being fatigued, headaches and feeling irritated or cranky.

  2. Watch something funny If you have a video or a meme that’s quick to give you a giggle, go and have a look at it. The purpose of this quick activity is to give you a warm smile and to shut off from everything else and just enjoy the content you’re viewing. Who doesn’t love a good laugh?

  3. Have a bite Got something gorgeous for lunch? Or perhaps you have some sweet snacks you can’t wait to have a nibble on? It does wonders to savour the bites and be grateful for the foods you’re eating.

  4. A quick stretch A 2 minute stretch whilst you’re sitting down is sure to get your blood flowing all over your body. Here is a brilliant video, demonstrating a 2 minute stretch.

  5. Cup of tea or coffee You can’t ever go wrong with having a smooth and hot tea. Perhaps, you prefer coffee. Either way you can’t go wrong. Produce your hot drink and bask in the glory of it.

  6. Listen to music Music is a gem. It helps if you have earphones or headphones. If you don’t, that’s okay too. Give yourself and your ears a treat by listening to upbeat songs that gets you grooving and vibing.

  7. Walk a scenic route If you’ve gone for a walk, why not try a different way compared to your usual routes? Literally, you can take a new path. You might surprise yourself at the different things you see and the change of thoughts in your mind.

  8. Learn something new It could be a different language you want to get a grips of or it could be a new dish you want to cook. One of the finest ways to spend your breaks is to do something new. You’ll give yourself a new challenge while feeling even more rewarded since you’re already making a difference in people’s lives.

  9. Try for 5 Try 5 lunges, 5 squats and 5 jumping jacks. You can do these until your body gets a jolt of energy.

We hope this month’s topic helps you in any way. Being a carer is an extremely stressful role. While it’s challenging, many of our carers are complimentary of the rewarding emotions they feel knowing they’re helping people immensely. Perhaps, you have your own activities that help you to stay grounded and sharp? Let us know on our Facebook or Instagram what little quirks or breaks that you take to keep going despite the tough routine work.

Articles:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/stress#:~:text=Stress%20is%20the%20feeling%20of,with%20mental%20or%20emotional%20pressure.

https://www.redcresearch.ie/world-health-survey-over-half-of-all-young-adults-in-ireland-feeling-regularly-stressed/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/unplug-recharge_b_1333126

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/caregiver-stress/art-20044784

http://norma.ncirl.ie/3919/1/meghannoreilly.pdf

https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-to-reduce-stress-3145195

https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-use-positive-self-talk-for-stress-relief-3144816

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