Your boss yelled at you again yesterday for being late. You have no choice though – your mom needs you and you are the only caregiver for her. 

Sounds too familiar a situation?

Yes, many among our population juggles between work and caregiving responsibilities every day. It goes without saying that this poses a great challenge to many (if not all), as caregiving is itself a very tasking job, one that nobody is equipped to do it all alone. 

Naturally, this can lead to serious stresses that affect one’s performance abilities at work. In fact, turning down a promotion, taking leave of absence, taking time off during the day or even quitting is frequently observed. Working caregivers reporting health problems, depression and low productivity is nothing new anymore, so this is an issue not to be simply brushed aside. 

Here are three tips on how to balance work and caregiving so that you can hold it all together:

  1. Talk to Your Boss

Schedule a time to sit down with your immediate supervisor and let them know of your situation. Let them know that you value your job, but you have your caregiver commitments so discuss if you can come up with a certain arrangement that will work for both. 

Be honest, assertive and reasonable about what you can realistically handle. This way, your boss will be in the know if there is ever an emergency that suddenly pops up. You do need to let them know how you’ll manage your priorities, projects and deadlines though so that they can be assured that the company’s needs will be met. 

  1. Have A Contingency Plan

As a working caregiver, it would be wise to have a contingency plan because sudden emergencies will pop up. In order to not have your plans disrupted (or at the very least, minimise its impact), it’s worth exploring potential worst-case scenarios and be as prepared for them as possible. 

Come up with multiple backup plans and have your friends, family and co-workers enlisted to help in the case of emergencies.

  1. Take Care of Yourself

Perhaps the most important of it all is to take care of yourself. If you are not healthy yourself, you won’t be able to perform well in either your job or caregiving task. Engage caregivers in the form of in-home respite care so that you can share the responsibility and get support for yourself. 

By enlisting such help from caregiving professionals, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved one is in good hands while you take time off for yourself. Go out with friends, go to the gym, spend quality time with your spouse and kids etc. – anything that will ease your mind and help you relax so that you don’t get burned out. 

Remember, seeking support and maintaining your own health are key to managing your role as a caregiver as well as ensuring your efficiency at work. By no means you are selfish, so take care of yourself first.

By Manali