Burnout refers to when an individual does not devote enough time for self care and therefore is not able to take the necessary steps to ensure they remain as healthy as possible. Burnout can come in many forms and is experienced differently by all, but it can be classified as either physical, mental or emotional. With the increased stress that can come along with being a primary caregiver, burnout can occur much more frequently and to a higher degree.
What is Burnout and What Causes it?
As some of you may know, TAMVOES like most great ideas stems from our co-founder's personal experience. Both her grandmother, Tina Tamming and her mother Yvonne DeVoest experienced many challenges within the healthcare system. When her mother Yvonne DeVoest was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, she stepped up to become her primary caregiver. Navigating life as a full-time caregiver and a mother with a full-time job became increasingly challenging as Yvonne’s health started to decline. She remembers being emotionally and physically exhausted as they would travel from doctor to doctor, needing to bring paper copies of prescriptions, blood work results, and diagnostics from other doctors. Similarly, her grandmother, Tina Tamming struggled in the health care system for many years battling bladder cancer and congestive heart failure before she too passed one year after Yvonne. These experiences highlighted struggles that many caregivers experience every day, not to mention the difficulties when informing family members of the most up to date information. The Tam in TAMVOES is for grandmother Tina Tamming and the Voes in TAMVOES is for mother Yvonne DeVoest. The name brings together two incredibly strong women and represents connecting individuals with their family members and providers.
What Steps Can a Caregiver Take To Prevent Burnout?
As a caregiver, there are many small techniques that you can incorporate into your day to day routine that can help reduce the chance of burnout. If you are someone who finds joy in little things such as making a to-do list or a schedule, try adding in some self-care time. Whether this be reading a chapter of your favourite book or doing some exercise, taking time for yourself is key to ensuring your mental and physical health continue to thrive. For those who love to write, don't be afraid to start journaling about your day to day activities as a caregiver, and share your thoughts and feelings surrounding the situations you find yourself in. Make sure that you are able to maintain contact with friends and family outside of caregiving, as this will provide you with external social stimulation and support. One of the most important things, however, is to know your limit. By being aware of what you are able to endure physically, mentally, and emotionally, you will know when it is time to take a small step back and take a breath.
What Steps Can You Take To Support The Caregivers in Your Life?
A common misconception is that caregivers do all of the caring, which is a myth that we're here to debunk. Although all caregivers have a heart made for giving, it is important that they receive the necessary support they need as well. As a relative or a friend the most important thing you can do for a caregiver is be there to act as a support. Whether that be stepping in and relieving them of their duties every once in a while, or being there to support them emotionally. Being an outlet for a caregiver will help ensure that they remain as happy and as healthy as possible. Some ways that you can support a caregiver in your life are by running errands for them, helping them develop a schedule, providing them with support resources, or by preparing meals. By being diligent, and present, we can all make sure the caregivers in our lives can continue to care for others in need.
We hope that you were able to gain some valuable insight from this article, and to all the caregivers, thank you for everything you do, it does not go unnoticed!
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