Caring for the Caregiver

As rewarding and fulfilling as home sharing can be, it can also be very challenging work at times. You have a responsibility to yourself and to the person you support to find a balance in your life and provide self-care.

People who work in helping professions such as nurses, doctors, social workers, and personal support workers may experience compassion fatigue. So may home sharing providers. Compassion fatigue is characterized by deep emotional and physical exhaustion. When in compassion fatigue, caregivers may also experience a shift in their sense of optimism about the future and the value of their work. Health, personal relationships, and working relationships can suffer as a result. In order to avoid compassion fatigue, self-care is essential.

Self-Care Tips

1) Take stock – Make a list of all the demands on your time and energy. Consider work, home, health, volunteering, and other areas of your life. Now list the main stressors. Which items on your main stressors list stand out? What’s making your plate too full? What would you like to change the most?

2) Start a self-care idea collection – Interview three friends on their favourite self-care strategies. Start making a list for yourself. Think big! Even if some of your initial ideas don’t seem feasible, new ideas might emerge. Pick three ideas that jump out at you. Make a commitment to implementing these three ideas into your life in the next month.

3) Find time for yourself every day – Do one self-nourishing activity each day. Examples include quiet time over a cup of tea, a bath, and a walk in nature.

4) Delegate - Are there things you do not need to do personally? If so, who could you ask to take over doing them?

5) Exercise – Do you need to release some stress? Exercise is one of the best ways. You don’t have to run a marathon; even daily walks are beneficial. Set realistic goals for yourself.

6) Take regular holidays – In order to recharge your battery, it’s important to get away from it all. This includes having time away from the individuals who share your home. You don’t have to go far, but plan a special vacation for yourself or with your family at least once a year.