Working carers face stress and challenges both in the workplace and at home. There can be a lot to balance as with working comes significant responsibilities and pressures. For carers it is critical to address workplace stresses to reduce the burden they carry.
17.9 million working days are lost due to work-related stress, with 828,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2019/20. With a tremendously difficult couple of years as a result of the pandemic, for carers it is now more essential than ever that they prioritise their happiness and reduce the strain of working.
It is important for carers as they care for others to also care for themselves. Here are some useful steps to help carers combat work related stress and reduce the burden working has when also caring for a vulnerable person.
Taking time to recharge
It is important to remember that taking time to recharge is productive too. Work can be draining and balancing that with being a carer can be a lot to cope with. You may feel prone to focus your time and efforts on others and your job but taking time for yourself can help protect your wellbeing and mental health.
Doing something to relax after work such as taking a warm bath, listening to music or baking a cake can be a great way to soothe your mind.
Practicing mindfulness can help you relax and manage stress. Mindfulness teaches people to manage their stress by paying attention to the present moment. Meditation in a span of six to nine months can reduce anxiety levels by 60% and so can help reduce the anxiety that can come with balancing being a carer and working.
Flexible working could help you to balance your work and caring responsibilities. If you have been with your employers for 6 months then you have the right to request flexible working. This could provide more flexible working hours, job sharing or teleworking which may be more suitable to your needs.
Being able to confide in a friend, family member or colleague means a problem shared can be a problem solved. Letting them know when you’re stressed regarding work and responsibilities can be an effective way to get advice and support.
We at Harrow Carers can provide a devoted support network to help when caring and working becomes stressful, through advice and support we aim to reduce the burden and increase the quality of your life.
Let go of mistakes
Letting go of mistakes and not being too hard on yourself can help reduce the potential stresses of working. Nobody is perfect and people make mistakes in the workplace, it is valuable to acknowledge that you are doing your best. You need to resist the urge to be a perfectionist, if you’re working as well as caring for someone, it can be a lot to handle at once so remember to give yourself credit for that.
By Tabitha Desmond
Working for Carers is a London-wide project that supports unpaid carers, aged 25 or over, to move closer to employment. The project is led by Carers Trust and delivered by its network of partners across London. Working for Carers is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.