6 Self-Care Tips to Avoid Burnout as a Home Care Agency Owner

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Running a home care agency is no easy feat. It’s important that you’re not only taking care of your caregivers and clients but also caring for yourself. 

Like it the old fashioned way?

Burnout is very real problem amongst home care agency owners and it’s often something that isn’t talked about enough throughout the industry.

Whether you’ve been working in the home care for 10+ years or are just getting started, knowing your limits and investing in yourself more intentionally is important.

Here are some self-care ideas every home care agency owner should be implementing into their routine.

#1: Schedule regular clarity breaks

You’ve probably already found ways to limit the amount of work on your plate; however, as a home care agency owner, we know the number of new tasks and responsibilities you have coming in never actually ends.

Consistently overworking yourself can catch up to you really fast. It’s likely that your weeks are going to be much longer than 40 hours– and while that’s okay, it’s important that you’re taking time for yourself and not neglecting your personal life.

Even if you’re not willing to fully let loose and take a week off for a beach vacation (although, we highly recommend it) sometimes taking a day off and extending your weekend can give you the clarity that you need to come back even stronger.

Another thing that we recommend on a more business-minded level is implementing clarity breaks into your monthly or even weekly routine. Here at Home Care Pulse, we follow an Entrepreneurial Operating Systems (EOS) that encourages all staff – including the CEO and management – to schedule a couple of hours here and there to reflect on the work they’re doing. It’s a time set aside for ideas, without the distractions – simply you, a pen and notepad, and your thoughts.

In addition to these shorter, more regular clarity breaks, we also recommend taking half a day off at least once a month to put things into perspective. It’s easy to get wrapped up spending time IN the business. These clarity breaks will help you to focus ON the business.

Taking a short, or sometimes long, break from the hustle and bustle of business can be one of the best ways to fight any stagnation or stress that has built up over the weeks, months, or even years.

#2: Learn to delegate

You can’t do everything, even though you might wish you could.

There are just some things you’re not going to have the time for. It’s important to prioritize your schedule and know what you can and can’t handle. It’s fully acceptable to delegate tasks to other team members that you see fit for the job.

As an entrepreneur, business owner, CEO, founder – you name it – you might be a workaholic as some might call it, or perhaps just a results/performance-based individual. With new opportunities and tasks continually coming in, it’s crucial to recognize the fact that you don’t always have to be the one to save the day, at least… not every day.

#3: Schedule your day

Taking charge of your calendar isn’t always an easy thing to do, especially with the uncertainties of home care; however, time blocking can be a great tool for managing what your day will most likely look like.

The most important thing isn’t that your day is set in stone, but more so that you are taking time to plan and add some “me time” into the mix.

You should start by gauging how many hours you’re currently working and deciding if that’s the necessary amount. After that, you can plan the workday hour-by-hour and finish up by scheduling time to unwind and focus on your personal life.

If you’re already a type-A personality, this might be pretty easy for you. If not, here are some tips and tools that might help:

  • Invest in a new planner or use an electronic tool like Google Calendar which helps you set recurring tasks or color code.  

  • Evaluate when you’re most productive and block out the abundance of your most difficult tasks during that time.  

  • Focus on one task at a time. Don’t have multiple priorities at once.

  • Maintain consistency by having a standard schedule every week. Obviously, it’s going to change slightly based on priorities and other meetings, but the general template should stay the same.  

  • Work in intervals. It’s completely up to you how you want to schedule your day but one option could be working for an hour and then taking a 15-minute break, and so on.  

  • Actually take the time to have lunch, and preferably, not while working at your desk.

We know this is a lot, and there’s much more where that came from, but the general idea is that you should be prepared in advance to reduce any last-minute stress. Having a plan for each day will give you a stronger vision without being turned around every two minutes.  

#4: Unplug

At the end of the workday – whatever time that might be – it’s important to unplug and invest in the activities that make you the happiest.  

For some, “unplugging” might mean leaving your phone and computer in another room while eating dinner or sleeping, for others, this could look like setting “do not disturb” for specific hours in the evening.  

While some home care agency owners may not be able to truly unplug or disconnect from technology completely, there are many ways that you can schedule some time for yourself to recharge. If you offer 24-hour care and manage a small agency with minimal support staff, for instance, you might always be on call to some degree. In these situations, you’ll still need to figure out how to provide yourself with opportunities to unwind or you’ll eventually burn out.

During this time of unplugging from any technology-based social distractions, you could exercise, read a book, go for a hike, watch a movie with the family, or try out a new recipe. The options are endless, and the only requirement is that you’re not sitting around answering work emails or waiting for that next phone call.  

#5: Ask for help and connect with other home care agency owners

No matter what area of life, we should never have to walk alone. As a home care agency owner, you’re probably facing challenges that no one else but home care agency owners would understand.  

To find support, reach out to other owners in the area. You could simply meet for coffee to talk about agency life or meet frequently to discuss what is and isn’t working for them.  

It’s good to have a community of supporters that fully understands what you’re going through. And no, you don’t have to spill your industry secrets with each other, but having someone to talk to, even if it’s not home care related, can make all the difference in how you approach your work 

If you’re looking for other home care agency owners to connect with, we highly recommend checking out these Facebook groups:  

#6: Invest in your health  

When you’re in the zone working, it’s easy to forget about the small things like exercise, eating nutritious meals, and getting some fresh air. 

While these might not seem like priorities, those small things actually play a big role in your health, wellness, mood, and behavior. It’s important to make your personal health a priority because, without it, you won’t be able to do your job effectively.  

Here are a few things you should be considering when scheduling time for your health:  

  • Set aside time for exercise. Whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, moving your body will help you to feel refreshed.  

  • Eat good, nutritious meals. It’s tempting to snack throughout the day on a busy schedule but being mindful of your intake will fuel how you operate. “You are what you eat,” after all.  

  • Plan time to be outside to clear your head. This could simply be escaping the office for lunch and eating on a park bench or taking a short walk at the beginning or end of the day.   

  • Get enough sleep. As we’ve discussed, business owners usually don’t have the luxury of clocking out like their employees do, but this only makes it more important that you do what it takes to arrange your schedule in a way that allows you to get sufficient rest.

Your health is extremely important and if you’re not taking the time to focus on it, you could have some serious impacts on your mental wellbeing. In fact, studies across the internet are noting the connection between healthy/unhealthy lifestyles and mood. An NPR article stated, “There’s fresh evidence that eating a healthy diet, one that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and limits highly processed foods, can help reduce symptoms of depression.”  

Investing in yourself

Running a business is no easy feat and overworking yourself doesn’t just affect you – it can impact your teammates, how smoothly business operations run, and client/caregiver satisfaction. Investing in yourself and taking time to focus on your mental, emotional, and physical state will be beneficial in helping you move forward.  

As time goes on, tension is going to continue to build up if not addressed. Make sure you’re giving yourself the time and energy you need to help your business be the best it can be. You can’t produce your best work if you’re not happy.  

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