SELF-CARE TO REDUCE CAREGIVER BURNOUT AND STRESS
While the caregiver’s priority is the patient, s/he also needs to practice self-care to avoid caregiver burnout and stress. Much like on an airplane when the flight attendant explains that if the oxygen masks are deployed, you need to put yours on first, and then put one on your child. You cannot take care of your loved one if you are not taking care of yourself. Below are some actions you can take to maintain your own emotional health.
- Make time for activities that de-stress you: whether that’s exercising, gardening, or other activities, make room in your schedule for things that normally bring you joy. These activities are helpful, particularly when they force a break from the caregiving routine or involve a change of venue. You may need to force yourself to do them at first, but remember that self-care is important, so that you can be the best version of yourself for your loved one
- Look for signs that you are overly stressed or burning out: you may want to have a close friend looking out for these signs or enlist the help of your healthcare provider to monitor for any issues
- Consider seeking professional help: finding a trusted mental health professional can be key during this journey
- Find the humor in things: a positive correlation has been found between humor and comfort levels in patients with cancer. If you and your loved one can find ways to laugh together, it can be de-stressing for both of you.