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The Importance of Self-Care for Individuals in Personal Support Worker Careers

The Importance of Self-Care for Individuals in Personal Support Worker Careers

The Importance of Self-Care for Individuals in Personal Support Worker Careers

In a career so focussed on providing for others, Personal Support Workers (PSWs) often overlook the importance of taking care of themselves. While the desire to improve the lives of clients in need makes PSWs such compassionate caregivers, it can unfortunately have a negative impact on PSWs if they neglect their own physical and emotional needs. If you’re considering a career as a PSW, you’ll soon learn that self-care strategies will make all the difference in your future career.

Read on to learn more about how you can make time for yourself when you graduate from your PSW program.

Making Time for Self-Care is Essential during Your Personal Support Worker Career

Debra Gillard, RN, BScN is the Lead Theory Instructor at Saint Elizabeth Health Career College’s Barrie Campus, and is no stranger to the importance of self-care for individuals working in care giving roles. In an interview, Debra shared why she believes self-care is immensely important for PSWs and her ideas for how these professionals can take time out and focus on their own needs.

“It’s vital for PSWs to care for themselves as well as they care for others. They’re an invaluable part of the health care team, caring for clients and their families with competence and compassion,” Debra says. “Simple self-care strategies help PSWs refuel after a long day of caring. It’s important to remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. PSWs need to replenish the physical and emotional energy that they give to others on a regular basis,” she explains.

When self-care is put aside, PSWs may start to feel the impacts both emotionally and physically. “If PSWs aren’t making their self-care a priority, they may experience physical symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, immobilizing fatigue, poor nutrition, chronic pain, headaches, and other health issues,” Debra explains. Thus, taking some well deserved “me-time” is extremely importance once you graduate from PSW college.

Strategies for Avoiding and Overcoming Compassion Fatigue during Your Personal Support Worker Career

Self-care helps PSWs provide excellent care to their clients

Self-care helps PSWs provide excellent care to their clients

Compassionate care is exactly what PSWs provide to their clients. However, sometimes neglecting to provide compassionate care to oneself can lead to compassion fatigue. As Debra explains, “Compassion fatigue is a term that describes the emotional and physical exhaustion that can occur when a PSW is unable to refuel from the emotional and physical demands of the job. If a PSW is not making their self-care a priority, it can take its toll on the PSW’s health over time.”

Because self-care is crucial, it’s now highly recommended that PSWs to take time to focus on themselves. “Self-care is now considered a competency. It’s something that PSWs must attend to each day in order to create life balance and build resiliency to do the job required of them to the best of their ability. Self-care will help keep PSWs healthy and able to enjoy a long and satisfying professional career,” Debra explains.

Self-Care Ideas to Use during Your Personal Support Worker Career

To unwind after a day as a PSW, journaling is a great self-care activity

To unwind after a day as a PSW, journaling is a great self-care activity

There are plenty of ways you can focus on self-care throughout your Personal Support Worker career. The first step is to be aware of your mental and physical wellbeing. Debra explains, “A simple way of developing your reflective skills is to mentally scan your body and listen to what it’s telling you. How’s your energy level? What do you need to do to care for yourself in this moment? Maintaining clear, therapeutic boundaries, and working within the scope of practice is a way to demonstrate self-care.”

Taking time for self-care doesn’t have to be overly complicated. It can be as simple as reading a couple of chapters from a good book with a mug of tea. For self-care activities, Debra suggests, “Being in nature, exercising and stretching often, sleeping well, expressing gratitude, journaling, practicing mindfulness, drinking water, and laughing.”

Self-care is not only beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing, it will also help perform your role as a PSW more effectively and provide the best quality care possible to your future clients.

Do you want to enroll in Personal Support Worker courses in Ontario?

Contact Saint Elizabeth Health Career College to learn how you can get started.