Why Your Mental Health is So Important as a Home Health Aide
September 24 2020
Plus Some Tips on Maintaining your Mental Health
As a healthcare worker that often does heavy lifting, we think of how important maintaining our physical health is. After all, it takes some real strength to lift and move multiple patients on a daily basis. The long hours that many home health aides put in not only makes it easy to ignore your own health needs, but it can also take a toll on your mental health. However, as a home health aide, it is very important to maintain not only your physical health but your mental health as well.
Why It is Important to Maintain Your Mental Health
Remember, you can’t take care of others to the best of your ability without first taking care of yourself. If you are stressed out, you won’t be as focused on your patients as you could and should be. So maintaining your mental health is key in how well you are able to care for your patients. By focusing on your mental health you can help reduce stress, anxiety and burnout, all of which can leave you feeling drained and even distract you while working.
For example, having a clear, sharp mind improves your reaction time when quick thinking is needed, like when you see a patient suddenly look unsteady on their own feet. A quick reaction can help prevent a patient from having a devastating fall. While it isn’t possible to fully eliminate stress, focusing on our own mental health can help us better manage it.
Maintaining good mental health can also help you keep your emotions steady. Being able to control your emotions better can help you feel calm and collected even during the most heated situations, which are bound to arise at work at some point, such as a patient being stubborn and disagreeable.
Beyond that, focusing on both aspects of our health, physical and mental, is a holistic approach because we are concerned with both our bodies and our minds. When we don’t focus on our mental health, it can have an effect on our physical health and vice versa. And while it isn’t possible to fully eliminate stress, focusing on our own mental health can help us better manage it.
Tips to Help You Maintain Your Mental Health
Focusing on your physical health is part of maintaining your mental health. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins which can lift our mood and boost our self-esteem. It can also help you get better sleep and improve your concentration. Try doing yoga, which can improve strength and balance as well as help quiet the mind.
Have a Healthy Diet
Eating nutrient rich foods not only makes for a healthier body but a healthier mind too. Be sure to eat a balanced diet full of fruits, veggies, whole grains and drink plenty of water. Oily fish is also good for our minds. Avoid sugary drinks and limit your alcohol and caffeine intake. Also, be sure to follow any specific advice your doctor has given you for your diet.
Do Some Puzzles
Give your brain some exercise with a puzzle like Sudoku, word puzzles or a jigsaw puzzle. These types of activities can keep our minds sharp and it can also help ward off dementia!
Do Something You Love
When we do something that we love or are good at, it helps to increase our happiness. Make sure you take some time each week to do something you love, whether it is gardening, watching a movie or going for a hike.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
Misery loves company so be sure to surround yourself with positive people. Limiting contact with or cutting toxic people out of your life can help reduce stress and anxiety and rid your life of unnecessary drama.
Have Some Quiet Time or Practice Mindful Breathing/Meditation
Doing something quiet such as reading, taking a hot bath or practicing mindful breathing or meditation can relax and calm the mind plus improve your outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation can enhance the effects of therapy.
Remember to treat yourself with kindness and respect and to avoid self-criticism. When you don’t, you only bring yourself down and lower your mood. Valuing yourself also means allowing yourself to do something that you love or even learning something new. Take dance lessons or learn a new language. When we value ourselves enough to improve ourselves, it can be a great self-esteem boost!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Over recent years, many have been working to lift the stigma surrounding mental health issues. It is important to understand that it is okay to not always feel 100% and it is okay to ask for help when you need it. Consider therapy or counseling to talk about your feelings because bottling everything up inside can be like a ticking time bomb.
Our mental health is an important piece of our whole-body health. Maintaining good mental health keeps us happier and healthier. While no one is expected to feel happy all the time, working on our mental health can help us to better deal with stress and negative emotions when they do occur. Most importantly, for home health aides, good mental health can improve how well we are able to care for patients.