No matter how strong and capable a carer is, they need regular time out to recharge their physical and mental batteries.
Just like someone with a demanding job is encouraged to take regular leave to ensure they are at the top of their game when they are on the job, so too do you need to ensure you are at your best when you step back into the role of carer. Burn out among caregivers can be a common occurrence if they don’t have time to rest and refresh.
Taking a break is not only beneficial to the carer; it also helps encourage the person being cared for to gain independence and build self-esteem, and also encourages social interaction. Even a short break – a couple of hours away or an afternoon out – can be enough to help you refocus.
There are a number of helpful resources about looking after carers, such as A Guide for Carers. Other websites that offer useful information for carers and the importance of taking a break include Carers New Zealand, Caring Families Aotearoa, and the Ministry of Social Development.