Caring for yourself when you’re a carer is a really important element for carers to be mindful of. The risk is if you don’t prepare for yourself, to try and make sure you don’t get overwhelmed, you can then become highly stressed and develop burnout.
So the first thing in caring for yourself as a carer is to recognise the risk that continuous caring is demanding and stressful and can cause burnout. Once you acknowledge that as a risk, then prevention is the most important tool. And that includes doing things such as regular exercise, talking to friends, getting professional help, and where you can do it, taking breaks from being the carer.
Finding structured breaks within your caring routine, where others ideally can step in on your behalf, even briefly, for an hour or two, one or two times a week. Having a regular routine that you can look forward to will alleviate a lot of the carer stress and carer burden, and ultimately prevent carer burnout.
Dr Matthew Cullen, Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney
If you think you’re experiencing, or may experience burnout, speak to your doctor.