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Dealing with unfairness


Question: How do I cope with feeling that my client is being unfair with the hours she divides between three caregivers? I feel it is unfair for me to have to work overtime and one of the other caregivers gets her hours handed to her free! How can I deal with this stress? I feel taken advantage of because my client won't stand up to her. This caregiver is very disrespectful of my client and often doesn't do what my client wants her to do! This caregiver rips up any notes I leave telling her about the clients wishes! I want to make my client's life a better one, but feel like I am doing all the work.

Dr. Amy: If you work for an agency, I encourage you to talk to your supervisor about what's happening and, if you do not get the result you are looking for, perhaps you can ask to work for another client. If you are working for yourself, you need to make a decision: is the frustration worth it, all facts considered, or should you look for another client? It’s very hard to give your best if you are stressed out and unhappy, and prolonged stress is very bad for your health. You need to think carefully about what to do.

When considering options, I find I can see things more clearly if I write everything down. You might like to try this: draw three circles—a large one, a smaller one inside the large one, and a third even smaller circle inside that. Make the circles big enough so you can write in them. In the outer circle write down things about this situation that cause you concern but that you do not control. The other caregiver's behaviour is an example. In the middle circle, write down things about the situation you might be able to influence. And in the inner circle, write down things you actually have the power to change.

In life, we may be concerned about a lot of things, but we have direct control over far less. What does your picture tell you? What do you have the power to influence and change? I encourage you to focus on those things and let go of things over which you have no control. Too much worry about things over which we have no control is unhealthy.

We all have the power to change our outlook and manage our stress—more than we might realize. Mindfulness and meditation have become much more mainstream and they offer proven techniques to help us stay focused and avoid dwelling on things we can't control. It takes time to build these techniques into our everyday lives, but it is worth it.

I send you strength!


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