Caring for someone is hard work. To keep going, you have to take good care of yourself too. Can you still do the things that are important to you? For example, do you still have enough time for your own household, your hobbies or perhaps your job? Caring for someone while leading your own life can be a lot. Do you feel that caring for your loved one is becoming too much? You might be overburdened. You can detect overburdening in yourself or in someone else by recognising one or more of the following symptoms:
- Physical complaints: headache or stomach ache, hyperventilation, pain in neck, shoulders or back, dizziness, fatigue.
- You may also lose your appetite or instead feel hungry all the time.
- Psychological complaints: feelings of guilt, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, listlessness, sleeping problems, worrying.
- You may also feel tense and become easily emotional.
- Other behaviour: restlessness, intolerance, feelings of aggression, neglect of appearance, increase in smoking and drinking, use of sedatives or stimulants.
Do you recognise these symptoms in yourself or someone else? Check out our tips below.
Sometimes caring for someone else might involve doing things you don’t want to do. Like giving them a bath or cooking every day. Then the care can become too much for you. Say from the start what you will and won’t do. Then everyone knows where they stand. Together with a doctor, case manager, home care, an informal care agent or an aid agency, you can work out who takes on what tasks. You do not have to do everything by yourself.
Every day, take a look at the tasks that cost (a lot of) energy and the activities that energise you. Such activities as having a cup of coffee in the sun, meeting a friend, going for a walk, exercising or doing yoga can give you an energy boost. Afterwards, you will be more capable of tackling the tasks that cost energy.
Do you need some time for yourself? To go on holiday, or simply to sleep undisturbed for a few nights? Find out whether you can temporarily hand the care over to someone else. This alternative care is known as respite care.