Taking a break from caregiving can be one of the best things you can do to continue to be an effective caregiver. Maintaining your own mental and physical health is crucial in avoiding burnout or compassion fatigue. Whether you’re planning a week-long vacation to recharge, or are looking to bring in support weekly basis, respite care can provide short-term, temporary care.
It’s completely normal for you to need a periodic break from your caregiving duties. Caregiving can be challenging, time-consuming, and stressful.
Many times your beliefs form barriers that keep you from caring for yourself. Perhaps you have a lifelong pattern of taking care of others and neglecting your own needs, consequently taking on tasks you’re not equipped to handle. Maybe you have trouble asking for help when you need it, or you feel selfish when you put your needs first.
Whatever it is, if you can identify it and let it go you will be able to be a more successful caregiver. Take a moment to see if you have any thoughts that act as barriers to you accepting help. How we behave is based on our thoughts and beliefs. Ask yourself what might be getting in the way of you taking care of you.
There are also a number of positives that will come out of you accepting respite care. Knowing these can help in processing guilt you feel for utilizing respite care.
For you, the caregiver, it will provide the chance to refresh your mind and come back to care duties with a better outlook. Taking a break will help you connect with friends and family, and as a result, lessen social isolation. When you care for someone you can start to neglect your own health; taking time to sleep and eat some healthy meals will allow you to keep yourself healthy.
There are also positives for the patient when you take respite care.
They are given the chance to develop a relationship with someone new. As a result, they can have fresh conversations and feel a greater connection to the world. The patient will continue to get their needs met, and will not be neglected. Similarly, there is a chance that the patient could use a break from your relationship. They can also take advantage of the break to recharge mentally and emotionally.
You want to get respite care guilt out of the way before your leave so that you can enjoy taking your break. Here are a couple final thoughts that you can take with you:
Firstly, your loved one has likely experienced the same thing.
There is a strong likelihood that the person you are caring for has lived a similar experience. Maybe there was guilt about leaving their child with a babysitter or at daycare, or they had to care for an ailing parent. You can remind yourself that they’ve likely been in a similar situation to you and can relate to how you’re feeling.
Secondly, you want to prioritize quality care over quantity.
You can be with your loved one at all times, but if you’re dealing with stress or burnout what is the quality of your care? Taking time to take care of yourself will allow you to be a better caregiver when you’re with them.
Above all, when you invest in respite care you give yourself a well-deserved break. You are able to avoid burnout and be the best carer possible.