Taking care of your loved one can be a rewarding experience, but the demands of caregiving can also be overwhelming. If the stress of caregiving is left unchecked, it can take a toll on your own health, relationships, and state of mind — eventually leading to caregiver burnout. Some signs that you may be getting close to burnout include:
- You find yourself withdrawing from your friends and family.
- You lose interest in activities you used to enjoy.
- You feel blue, irritable, or hopeless.
- You notice you’re losing or gaining weight.
- Your sleep patterns are changing.
- You get sick more often.
When you’re burned out, it’s difficult to do anything, let alone look after someone else’s needs. Here are some tips on how to take care of yourself in the midst of taking care of another.
1. Take time for yourself
Taking time for yourself every day — even just a few minutes — is one way to help you recharge. Some examples to try: do some gentle stretching or yoga before breakfast, go for a 20-minute walk or nap, see a movie with a friend, or pursue any hobby you love. Taking time for yourself will help reduce your stress, recharge your batteries, and ultimately make you a better caregiver.
2. Know your limits
You cannot provide good care if you are exhausted and stressed out. Learn when to say no to others (and to yourself!) Practice limit setting on small things. It’s OK to say no to contributing to the school bake sale or dog-sitting for your neighbour. Listen to your body and pay attention to the physical messages it sends you (e.g. difficulty sleeping, weakened immune system, changes in appetite, etc.)
3. Develop your own support network and don’t be afraid to ask for help
Find someone you can trust – whether it’s a friend, co-worker or neighbor – and talk to them about your feelings and frustrations. Make a list of people you can call when you need a break or help with day-to-day needs. Joining a caregiver support group can help you manage stress, locate helpful resources and stay connected with others. Look into different resources that are covered by MSP or your own extended health care. There are a variety of resources and organizations in place to support caregivers that may include:
- Private care aides
- Home Health services (Fraser Health)
- Adult day care
- Respite care
- Support groups
Remember, taking care of yourself is not a luxury, it’s a necessity! Avoiding caregiver burnout depends on it!
Some Local Resources:
Delta Caregivers’ Education and Support Network
The Centre for Supportive Care
4631 Clarence Taylor Cres.,
Ladner, BC V4K 4L8
Contact: 604-948-0660 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Adult Day Centres
Fraser Health – Home and Community Care
Home Health Service Line: 1-855-412-2121
Let us help!
If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, or just need a helping hand, we’d love to talk to you. Kristin Beare, our Occupational Therapist and the author of this post is available to meet with you to assess the situation and help you find ways to manage your stress and continue your caring!
Give Kristin a call at 604-283-7827 or send her a message using our contact form!