When to Take a Break from Caregiving

Our jobs can be one of the most rewarding, fulfilling experiences that we have. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying: “If you enjoy what you do, then you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” However, no matter how much we enjoy our job, we can still become burnt out if we do not take some time to step away from our work and recharge every now and then. However, we may be so involved in our jobs as caregivers that we do not recognize how much we need a break. That’s why it’s important for caregivers to regularly have time scheduled to be by themselves to relax and recharge.

So, before you find yourself becoming irritated and perhaps saying or doing something that you wish you hadn’t, plan ahead to take some time off. Simply doing this can give you a much-needed boost of energy to get through your care-giving responsibilities and something to look forward to until you can finally get that break you’ve needed and deserve!

Another option you have is to look into getting help. The type of help you need depends upon your loved one’s needs, the amount of care you’re able to give them, and the length of time you’ll be away. Some options in this regard include: 

  • In-home care, such as other family members or paid, professional home care workers, meal providers, and many more.
  • Adult day services centers
  • Assisted living or skilled nursing facilities
  • Respite care Programs

Also, be sure to take whatever time away you can get as you need it. It may not be a lot of vacation, but any time away to recharge is better than none at all. You can, of course, still keep in touch (even daily if desired), but be sure to take that time for yourself as well. After all, the more that you can rest while you’re away, the more energy and ability you’ll have to devote time to the necessary care of your loved one(s).

Please be aware that you should not feel guilty for wanting some time away. While it’s natural for a caring person to feel a twinge of guilt when they are going to be away for a period of time, taking that time is an absolute necessity if you want to be your best self. Don’t feel bad about needing time to recharge, EVERYONE needs time to recharge and refocus, including you. The truth is, everyone will benefit by you taking some “you time.”

As much as your parents or other loved ones need you, it’s perfectly natural and completely okay to want some time for yourself now and then. Your parents are grown-ups; they’ll understand that sometimes you need a break, as everyone does. Chances are that they were in the same position themselves at one point in time.

So plan ahead, make the necessary preparations, and take that trip you’ve been looking forward to for months. You’ll come back rested and refreshed, with a renewed vigor for caring for your loved ones, and they’ll thank you for it. And you’ll thank yourself too.