A good caregiver

An employee who works in the healthcare industry is reported to Mariska Harders for coaching.


Another goes for

In the introductory interview, she says she has difficulty shielding herself from all the stimuli and influences she receives from the residents. She soaks up everything like a sponge and thinks she is a bad caregiver if she is not committed to the residents. But it costs her energy and she finds that she is bordering on overworked because she can no longer oversee it all.

I discuss with her what "a good caregiver" means. What does she mean by that? She also says she is always busy, she has no brakes and is busy with 10 things at once. She doesn't say no or set priorities for herself. In fact, everyone else comes first. She does relax, but she sleeps badly, worries a lot and takes the residents' emotions home with her.

A bad caregiver?

On these points we pick up further. "Being the good caregiver" for her means listening to the residents, making time for them and, above all, empathizing with the residents' feelings. And thus imposing on herself that she must feel what the residents are feeling because of what they are experiencing.

Interesting point, because that would mean that if you don't feel that, therefore you would be a bad caregiver? We'll look at it in more detail. Can she change what these people are going through? How can she feel at all what these people are feeling? What do her thoughts do to her? And what does she put on herself if she thus goes home leaden with this ballast and mulls it over further at home. Does that solve anything?

The choice to do things differently

By actually mirroring what she does in these situations, she learns to look at herself. And especially to analyze the thoughts and assumptions she makes. She also learns that brooding is mostly focused on the past or the future and is never about the NOW. And she learns to see that all the ballast she carries is created by herself, namely in her thoughts. It is impossible for her to feel what these people feel, but it is possible to deal with it differently. Compassion is 1, taking it home and living through it yourself is 2 and has no added value. So I teach her to limit herself in this, by constantly asking herself the question: do I have influence on this situation, am I in the now or in the past or future and especially: are these emotions mine or the other's?

So by being more aware of this, she has influence to change it, and a choice to do it differently. During our sessions, she eventually calls in sick, slightly under duress from the supervisor, but she stays home. Only then does she experience how tired she is and that this is the result of her pleasuring behavior, always being there for everyone and soaking up all those emotions from the residents at work.

Listening to your body

But the insight is there: so step by step we will work on relaxing, walking, taking time for herself, setting boundaries and priorities and learning to listen to her body. By the way, that body is much smarter than your head, because the signals that things were not going well have long since been indicated by her body. This too is a lesson.

The motivation to do things differently was great, so she started working on all the assignments. After a month she slowly started drinking coffee again at work, of course with the necessary learning points, because she immediately wanted to arrange everything again, but through our conversations she was able to recognize this. Then she started building up again and noticed that she was able to put the assignments into practice. The result was obvious: for the first time she could let go of emotions because of the tricks. Saying no became easier (and she felt when it was necessary), priorities were set and she was able to relax much better, for example by walking or biking home from work and clearing her head on the way.

Putting yourself first

Again, we have been working on both physical and mental issues, as the 2 are connected. The downtime has been short-lived, a total of 2.5 months. She is more comfortable in her skin, feels happy, no longer takes emotions home, and should this be the case for a while, she can recognize it and then let it go.

We had agreed on 6 sessions together, but she managed to change course within 5 sessions. She approached the conversations and assignments actively and confidently, with this as a result. Her contract was renewed and she does her work with equal passion, but now puts herself first.

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