If you’re a caregiver, be it for your own family or for people who are living in an assisted living facility that you work at, it can be hard to remain patient and empathetic with everything that happens during the day. But to offer the best possible care and not burden yourself with guilt for acting unfairly, it’s vital that you learn how to keep your cool, even amid the chaos of the day.
To help you in doing this, here are three ways to remain patient and empathetic when caring for others.
For most people, it’s easier to focus on what you’re thinking, feeling, and experiencing than to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. But when you’re able to do this, you’re able to be so much more empathetic.
One strategy that you can use to do this while caregiving is to get really curious about why the person you’re caring for is acting or responding in the way that they are. Ask yourself what they must be feeling or how what’s happening is impacting them. When you’re able to step outside of yourself for a moment, you may be able to better understand the person you’re caring for and give an answer or reaction that helps to keep the mood calm rather than ratchet it up another level.
Focus On Effective Communication
In almost all combative interactions, a failure of communication has likely made things worse. But in the moment, you may not realize that you were misunderstood or that you misunderstood someone else until you’re too far into your negative interaction.
To avoid these kinds of issues in the future, try to focus on having effective communication with whomever you’re caring for. Make sure you’re speaking at a level that they can understand, both physically and cognitively. Keep your tone calm and recognize how your body language might be adding to the conversation. Then, if necessary, ask them to repeat back to you what they heard you say. This way, you can see if anything got lost in translation.
Take A Moment Before Responding
Even for the most naturally patient person, something upsetting can trigger them to feel frustration, anger, and other unhelpful emotions when caring for someone else.
To give yourself a chance to process these feelings before responding to the person you’re caring for, try taking a moment before you respond to anything that brings up big emotions in you. If you can teach yourself how to take a breath or count to five before reacting, you might find that your reactions are a lot of reasoned and controlled.
If you’ve been having a hard time remaining patient and empathetic as a caregiver, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you in doing this.