A MSW (Institute of Mental Health)
& Rotary Club of Northam Initiative

About Caregivers' Stress

Coping with Caregivers' Stress

Caregivers' Self-Care

Caregivers' Self-Care

The demands of caregiving can be stressful. Hence it is very important to maintain your own emotional health to prevent burnout. Below are some ways to help you stay healthy while providing support to your loved one.

1. Care for yourself first
To be an effective caregiver, you need to look after yourself first before you can care for others.

  1. Work difficulties
    1. Physical (food and rest)
    2. Emotional
    3. Spiritual or philosophical beliefs – gaining strength and a fresh perspective
  2. Make time for yourself on a weekly basis e.g. half a day to rest; to relax alone or with friends
  3. Make time to participate in activities that you enjoy.

2. Set realistic expectations of yourself

  1. Be reasonable and honest about how much you can do it.
  2. Recognise that you cannot always prevent something ‘bad’ or unexpected from happening
  3. Acknowledge when a situation is beyond your control and you can’t do anything to change it.
  4. Give yourself credit for the work and effort you have put in.

3. Balance your loved one’s needs with your family’s and your own needs

  1. Develop a sense of balance regarding your needs, your loved one’s needs and the family’s needs

4. Prioritise your responsibilities and commitments

  1. Assess the level of urgency and importance of each task.
  2. Decide on an action plan according to the urgency and importance of each task.

5. Share your care-giving responsibilities with others (family members)

  1. Limit the number of things you are in charge of. You do not have to be the only person responsible, even though you are the main caregiver.
  2. Have family discussions on a regular basis to update each other on your loved one’s progress and needs

6. Keep a ‘Care Organiser’ – to access important information easily

  1. It is useful to have healthcare information of your loved one readily available. A 'Care Organiser' should contain information like:
    1. Medication information e.g. drug allergies, current and past medications taken.
    2. Appointment dates.
    3. Health care services and professionals’ contact details.

7. Acknowledge your feelings

  1. Be honest with how you have been feeling. It gives you a better idea on how you have been coping.
  2. Share your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one.
  3. Speak to a counsellor if you prefer to receive confidential professional advice.

8. Attend psychoeducation and supportive group sessions for Caregivers

  1.  Participating in psychoeducation and support groups for caregivers is a good way to manage your stress levels. You are likely to meet others who are in a similar situation as you, and you can share and find ways to overcome your problems together.

9. Keep up-to-date with knowledge about psychosis

  1. Keeping yourself updated with the latest information about psychosis can enable you to be an active participant in your loved one’s treatment. Speak to your loved one’s doctor or medical social worker for more information.