Being a professional caregiver is a rewarding job, but it also comes with its share of challenges. A personal care aide is in the unique position to enhance the quality of life for the patients they care for. Aside from providing physical care for patients who need varying levels of assistance, they also play an important role in their mental and emotional well-being. That position can provide personal and professional satisfaction—knowing you are making a difference in another person’s life—but on tough days, that can also be a source of exhaustion. To be the best version of yourself on the clock, you need to prioritize your own self care when you punch out.
Self care is a set of planned and deliberate actions that you do to refresh yourself, manage your stress, and find balance in your life. It’s especially crucial for those in healthcare to prioritize self care. When you spend the majority of your day caring for others, it’s easy to forget about the importance of caring for yourself too. When you invest in your own personal well-being, everyone benefits, even your patients.
What’s A PCA?
A Personal Care Aide, often referred to as a PCA, assists people with chronic diseases, physical disabilities and mental ailments. If you did a search for “what’s a PCA,” you’d find the scope of this role to include helping patients prepare meals, ambulating, and performing activities of daily living (ADL). Common ADLs include toilet hygiene, bathing/showering, personal grooming, dental hygiene, and dressing.
The most important characteristic of a PCA is compassion. The role of a PCA can be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. As patients grow older and/or their conditions worsen and health begins to deteriorate, the job can begin to drain your energy. It’s critical that you are intentional about self care so you can continue to provide solid support and quality patient-centered care to those who rely on you in your job. Below is a list of the top 4 ways you can renew your body and mind to prevent burnout and continue to be an exceptional personal care aide.
1: Proper Diet and Nutrition
Food is the best medicine. Eating well nourishes your body and allows it to function optimally. It has the power to reverse disease and improve energy levels. Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables to tap into the best source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. When it comes to fruits and veggies, the more colorful your plate, the better. Staples in your diet should include things like leafy greens for cardiovascular health, blueberries for improved immune function, and sweet potatoes for blood sugar control. For a healthy digestive system, incorporate gut-friendly foods like yogurt, fermented foods like kimchi, and olives. Pack in protein with healthy options like eggs, beans, and chicken.
2: Regular Physical Exercise
All experts agree on one thing—exercise improves mood. Science proves that physical activity releases dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals make you feel happier and reduce stress. Exercise also boosts energy levels. When you are physically active, your cardiovascular system works more efficiently, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your muscles for improved circulatory health. Exercise also helps maintain a healthy weight and body image, which can be a significant confidence booster.
3: Sufficient Sleep
Sleep is restorative. Our bodies need proper amounts of quality sleep to function properly. Being well-rested elevates mood and improves cognitive function. Taking the time out of your day to unwind is an important part of self care. Experts agree that a relaxing nighttime routine is essential to reaping the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep. Common practices to promote relaxation involve soft music, warm baths, dim lighting, aromatherapy, and more.
4: Appropriate Support
While there is a lot you can do on your own, there is a very important component to self care that often gets overlooked—the social aspect. We are not meant to do life alone. Making connections and creating meaningful relationships promotes better overall health. Research shows that having a strong network of support fosters both emotional and physical well-being. So seek out community with friends, family, coworkers, or neighbors to build a solid support system.
Self Care For A Personal Care Aide
At CynaMed, we believe it’s important for our healthcare professionals to prioritize self care. We have resources available to help. Our practice emphasis is on placing Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Certified Nurse Assistants (CNA), and Certified Med Techs with proven success. Our process is simple–we take the time to get to know you, then use our experience and knowledge to find you the best possible match.
If you are just starting a job hunt or are looking to make a change in your work scenery, you’ve come to the right place. With over 18 years in the healthcare staffing industry, CynaMed is one of the oldest and most experienced agencies in Pennsylvania. Simply put, we’ll put you right where you’re meant to be. From providing resources to connecting you with your dream nursing job, CynaMed can help you on your way. Reach out to us today.