#51: Managing Emotions in Aged Care

Season #4

Show notes:

Episode #5 – Special edition    


In the fifth episode of our 6-part special edition series of the Voice of Aged Care podcast, we look at emotions – our own emotions and those of others around us.

It’s such an important topic, understanding  what is going and how we can respond to emotional changes. At times it can feel scary or outside of our experience, so this episode will focus on psychological presence at work and what that means, individual strategies for wellbeing, identifying warning signs that our energy balance needs recalibration and practical strategies for keeping emotions in check.

Simon Sinek describes emotions in a very powerful way, saying, ‘The value of emotions comes from sharing them, not just having them.’ Often we want to share our emotions with others, and we do this both verbally and in how we present. Our communication is only 7% what we say, the remaining 93% is through our body language, tone of voice and eye contact. When we think about supporting our clients through emotional changes such as grief and loss, how do we present ourselves to those clients?

Being psychologically present at work means we are fully present. In helping professions such as ours, we need to really be fully there, not just physically, but psychologically switched on. This means noticing what might be going on for someone, even if they don’t articulate it. It’s really important how we present, how we interact with others, so being able to put aside anything that may have happened before work and being fully present to engage with your client. It’s also important to have that disconnection at the end of the day, where you can switch off and leave work behind. So it is about connection and disconnection.

Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s not always about solving a person’s problems, it’s more about being present and listening, reflecting and connecting. So you don’t need to have a psychology degree to listen to someone, it really is about being in tune and recognising what might be going on.

In doing this, we need to be mindful of warning signs that we might be taking on board the problems of others. Anticipating the emotional state of others by considering what they are going through can help us emotionally prepare as to how they may react. We can also tune into their non-verbal cues to further understand what might be going on. To protect ourselves from becoming emotionally involved, we can use instructional statements (e.g. ‘Although he’s angry, I’ll remain calm, breathe deeply and speak a little slower than usual) as a way of increasing our self-awareness.  We can also call up relaxing thoughts and images, or focus on our breath.

There’s no doubt that it can be challenging to keep emotions in check when you are under pressure and there is lots going on in your workplace. We mentioned before the importance of disconnecting from work at the end of the day, and it is really essential for your wellbeing, performance and creativity that you give yourself that chance to detach, refresh and recharge. Some strategies that can help you do this include simple things like changing your clothes when you get home, especially if you wear a uniform. Engaging in hobbies, or things you enjoy like cooking is beneficially, as is leaving work at work by turning off notifications. Having a self-check in, thinking about the best things that happened in the day can help too.

Be mindful that sometimes the exhaustion of everything that happens at work, can lead us to sweep the emotional impacts under the rug. By utilising the individual strategies that work for us, listening to the warning signs and keeping our emotions in check we can uncover ways to refresh ourselves and maintain that work life balance that ultimately leads to happier and more fulfilled lives. 



In this episode you will learn:

  • What is psychological presence at work and why is it important?
  • Some individual strategies to cultivate wellbeing during emotional changes
  • How to identify warning signs that your energy balance needs recalibration
  • Simple and practical strategies you can implement to keep emotions in check.



I will be running a workshop on resilience specific to aged care workforce. To register your interest sign up below.