Making time for yourself as a caregiver

Here are some evidence-based tips to help avoid burnout.

Caregiver stress and burden

The stress of caregiving is real. You may not even realize it’s happening until you’re overwhelmed, exhausted, or irritable.  Setting mindful intentions to take care of yourself can help mitigate the stress of caregiving. And remember, it's always ok to ask for help.

Here are some evidence-based tips to help avoid burnout:

  • Maintain your own health and wellness. Schedule your own healthcare appointments when you schedule appointments for the person you’re caring for, and build your own exercise schedule to make sure that you’re prioritizing activities that will keep you healthy.
  • Think of yourself as a member of the care team, and ask to be included in health conversations and decisions if the person you care for agrees to it. Having all the facts and details can make you feel empowered. Being in the know will allow you to identify ways you can get support from family, friends, and your community.
  • Ask for training and education from the care team to avoid feeling overwhelmed when you don’t know something. Save yourself time by learning as much as possible up front. 
  • Leverage technology like mobility monitoring, assistive devices, “help” buttons, and  online support groups to help reduce your overall effort.
  • Ask for referrals for assistance with care from the care team.
  • Make a concrete plan to take a break. Seek out respite care so you can rest and recharge. Invite a family member or friend over for an afternoon once a week so you can take a real break and do something you really enjoy. You can also find formal respite care resources in your community.

Sources:

Mayo Clinic - Signs of caregiver stress

From Evidence to Action: Caregiver Burden - A Clinical Review

... more insights