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The caregiver’s role
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Caregivers of the "sandwich generation": how to avoid burnout during back-to-school season

Commonly referred to as the "sandwich generation", adult caregivers who are caring for both their parents and children pile on responsibilities and sometimes even sources of stress, which can lead to a burnout. In the context of back-to-school season where everything goes faster, it can be particularly difficult to maintain balance between work, family life and last-minute incidents (hospitalizations, illnesses, falls, etc.).

Do you recognize yourself in any of this? Here are a few tips to help you survive back-to-school with peace of mind.


Maintaining a comforting routine

Back-to-school can be synonymous with high levels of stress – that’s why it is important to have and maintain a healthy and comforting routine for both adults and children. If left unchecked, anxiety, feelings of personal and family failure, a significant increase in tension, and even symptoms of depression and burn-out, can quickly take hold of your daily life.

To avoid this, Genevieve Gravel, Caregiver Support Coordinator, advises to "keep healthy sleeping habits, eat balanced meals, exercise often and enjoy your hobbies".

Limiting your stress

The Caregiver Support Coordinator suggests: "when you're overwhelmed by stress, remember the stressful and demanding situations you've experienced in the past and recall the actions you took to better manage your fears".

Another good strategy is to limit your exposure to the media and other social networks to avoid constant news and false rumours that can contribute to anxiety.

Take time to disconnect every day. Get back in the moment with a simple breathing exercise or by giving yourself a break – you deserve it. This will help you recharge and ensure that you have a life outside of parenting and caregiving.

The Caregiver Support professional insists that "focusing on what feels good (listening to music, meditating, walking, dancing, knitting, chatting, watching a movie, etc.) is essential for a successful back-to-school".

Reorganizing daily life

New schedules sometimes require a reorganization of your daily life. Why not involve your family members in the planning process? Even if you are the primary caregiver for your parents, talking with your loved ones can help you come up with new and creative solutions and avoid having to make decisions alone, without feedback or support. You will share the mental burden of feeling responsible.

Since the COVID pandemic, many services are now offered online, making it easier to access them. It is therefore useful to check out all of the available options before leaving home. Some health professionals, banking services and administrative procedures now offer remote consultation... many solutions are available from your computer or mobile phone screen to help you save time!

Don't hesitate to ask for help

If you are having a hard time, turning to those around you for comfort is a good way to relieve the pressure. But when this isn't enough, you should not hesitate to turn to professional services. These services are there to support you and lift you up.

This is the case with Caregiver Support, our professional, confidential, and free telephone listening, information, and referral service. Spearheaded by l'Appui, this service can guide you to resources tailored to your needs.

To contact Caregiver Support
By phone: 1 855 852-7784
E-mail: [email protected]
Available everyday from 8 am to 8 pm


Sources

Geneviève Gravel, Clinical coordinator, Caregiver Support. Thanks Geneviève!