Burnout. Exhaustion. Stress. Depression. As a caregiver, you’re probably familiar with these states of being, and particularly so at this stretch of the summer, when the hot weather and long days have sapped us of all energy.
Respite. Vacation. Relaxation. Peace. How about these states of being? If you can’t remember the last time you embraced any of these, it’s time to take a break: even the most committed, most vibrant caregiver will eventually run out of steam.
It’s one thing to acknowledge you need a break, but how do you make it happen? Here are a few possibilities for taking a break as a caregiver:
- Look into short-term stays/respite care in assisted living.
- Consider bringing in home care help for just a few hours a week (or even a month) to start, and gradually increase or decrease as needed.
- Contract with a cleaning service. Imagine how your stress level might subside if you didn’t have to do the dishes, laundry, or any housework once or twice a week? Or even once or twice a month?
- Delegate tasks. It may be easier said than done, but you need to ask for help. You’ll probably find that many are willing if they just know what’s needed.
- Take mini breaks wherever and whenever you can, for example: take a bath instead of a rushed shower when your sister takes Mom to the doctor.
Your turn: Caregivers, how do you take a break?