Supporting your wellbeing as a manager in homecare

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Posted by Pastora

As a manager leading teams it is essential for you to be able to take care of your own physical and emotional wellbeing. So what do you have in place to support you? Care-experienced coaches and trainers, Helen & Marilyn of Pastora, offer their guidance on how care managers and team leaders can support themselves, so that they can lead gracefully.

Your wellbeing is the foundation for a fulfilled life; to lead gracefully, to enjoy what you do, to be available for others.

In the care industry, burnout is alarmingly common. However, it can be prevented through the implementation of effective stress management strategies and the cultivation of a healthy work-life balance. Recognising the significance of self-care, you must embark on a journey of personal responsibility for your own wellbeing.

To nurture wellbeing, individuals must first identify their unique needs. Whether it's sufficient sleep, hydration, nourishing meals, exercise, or the assurance that loved ones are cared for, acknowledging these necessities forms the foundation of self-care. By gradually integrating these elements into a daily routine, individuals can reduce stress and enhance their resilience.

Furthermore, it's essential to identify triggers. When something upsets you, take some time to consider what triggered you. Why? What was your response? And how could you respond differently next time? Do you need to ask for support? Most likely you will not be able to do this immediately. So take a moment, write it down, add a voice note in your phone, whatever works for you. You need to remember what you thought, felt, heard and saw. Plan some time to come back to this later in the day and ask the above questions. This provides you with the knowledge and understanding of the situation. You can then consider how you would adapt your response when a similar situation arises.

Embracing mindfulness is another powerful tool. By actively engaging in the present moment rather than operating on autopilot, you gain clarity and self-esteem, enabling navigation of complexities with grace. Employ the "count to five" method: pause, breathe deeply, and reassess your response to challenging situations.

Setting boundaries is crucial. Prioritising your wellbeing lays the foundation for a fulfilling life - a life characterised by purpose, enjoyment in one's endeavours, and the capacity to support others with compassion. To set boundaries you need to understand your own needs, emotions and limits. Then you can determine what is acceptable and unacceptable in each area of your life. When expressing what your boundaries are, be clear and use “I need” and “I feel” statements. They may not be heard and respected by others immediately, but with time they will see and reap the benefits of you being heard and respected.

“The path to preventing and recovering from burnout in the care industry begins with individual commitment to self-care.”

Furthermore, understanding who you are is essential so that you can be resilient and lead gracefully. You may not have considered who you are before. We often accept who we are without considering that we have been influenced by our environment, personal experiences and the people we have met, seen, listened to and spent time with. But you can gain insights into what makes you unique through self-reflection. Ask yourself: What are my passions and interests? What do I value?  What do I believe? What and who matters to me and how do they influence my behaviour? 

Embracing your strengths, weaknesses and complexities will support you to develop a more balanced and realistic view of yourself. Being authentic involves being true to yourself, embracing your unique qualities and showing up as you every day. You need to regulate your behaviour to ensure it is acceptable, but that does not mean pretending all is well and not speaking up when needed. Consider how you can do that appropriately. This is why being resilient is essential as a leader.

Leadership is a huge responsibility and commitment. Your team expects you to inspire and empower them. At the same time you need to do this for yourself. Taking time to explore what kind of leader you are can be beneficial. You will get to know what qualities, values and beliefs you have and how you want to lead.

Communication is the key to being a good leader. As a role model your team looks to see how you approach all situations; the words you use, actions you take, how you show up and how you approach each individual and each task. When asking a question, look out for the way you communicate: is it an accusation or an enquiry? Coming from enquiry creates an environment of trust, respect, and transparency, which is crucial for collaboration and teamwork.

Conflicts and misunderstandings are inevitable in any group setting. However, open and honest communication can address conflicts promptly and effectively, preventing them from escalating and disrupting productivity.

The path to preventing and recovering from burnout in the care industry begins with individual commitment to self-care, underpinned by an understanding of personal needs, awareness of triggers, mindfulness, and the establishment of boundaries. This journey not only safeguards wellbeing but also empowers individuals to lead fulfilling lives and contribute meaningfully to the welfare of others. Remember that understanding who you are requires curiosity, willingness to explore and patience to lead gracefully. 

Marilyn Rixhon and Helen Gruber of PastoraPastora is a training and coaching consultancy for wellbeing in social care, that provides care and management teams with guidance and support to look after themselves to be dedicated, embracing challenges, and leading gracefully while caring for others.

When co-founders Helen & Marilyn met, they discovered they shared the same passion for inspiring, nurturing and engaging those working in care to understand and meet their needs so they can succeed in their demanding roles. Now, their in-person workshops and online training programmes support carers and managers to explore all aspects of their wellbeing.

For more advice and examples of supporting the wellbeing of a homecare team, download our Carer Wellbeing Report 2024.