Advice & Support Dealing with Fatigue
Dealing with Caregiver Fatigue
CP Support Canada is a place where you can ask questions, connect with families facing similar challenges and gain insight to help a child with cerebral palsy thrive.
When your child has cerebral palsy, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed, hopeless or worrying about your child’s future. You may feel like you don’t have the support or resources that your child needs or that there is more to take on both physically and financially than you feel you can provide. Feeling this way can take a toll on your physical and mental health, leading to exhaustion and burnout, which can affect your relationships and ability to care for your child.
That’s why taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury but a necessity. Cultivating your own emotional and physical well-being is just as important as making sure your child gets the care and support he or she needs to thrive.
Do you have caregiver fatigue?
Caregiver fatigue arises from both internal and external factors. This can be caused by worrying about finances, the future, or feeling there is a lack of support or understanding from others. Unrealistic demands and expectations that you place on yourself or that are placed on you by others can also lead to caregiver fatigue. Further, parents often put the needs of their children ahead of their own, neglecting their own wellbeing. Caregiver fatigue can quickly lead to burnout, affecting your ability to care for both yourself and your child.
While fatigue and burnout tend to show up more often around transition periods such as after a recent diagnosis, following medical procedures or starting school, it can happen at any point over your caregiving journey.
Signs that you may be experiencing caregiver fatigue or burnout
- Constantly feeling exhausted and/or overwhelmed.
- Major changes in your sleep patterns, appetite and/or weight.
- Difficulty relaxing even when additional help is available.
- Less energy than you once had.
- Constantly feeling run down and getting sick.
- Long periods of neglecting your responsibilities or personal needs.
- Feeling helpless or hopeless.
- Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
- Withdrawing from friends, family and other loved ones.
- Increased anxiety, depression, irritability and/or impatience.
How to Avoid Burning Out
While caring for a child with cerebral palsy will never be completely stress-free, there are steps you can take to regain a sense of balance, joy and hope in your and your child’s life. Here are some steps to take to help alleviate caregiver fatigue and burnout:
The day to day demands of caring for your child can easily take over your life. However, prioritizing the other areas of your life that you find rewarding, be it your favourite hobby, sport or your career, will help you feel more joy and fulfillment in your life.
Looking to connect with other families who understand what you're going through?
Join the CP Support Canada Facebook Parent Group