Lesson 6 – Root Cause: Do You Get Enough Respite Breaks?

Respite means taking a temporary break to get short-term relief. 

Caregiving can be intense and last for years, making respite breaks essential. Yet you may be unaware of how to find others who can help. Or you may feel unentitled to step away or ask for help.

Many care partners put their own needs on the back burner and only agree to a temporary break when they reach their wits end. Without even realizing it, they may be following a family script, whether it’s a spoken motto or not, such as, “We take care of our own, no matter what,” or “We don’t air our dirty laundry.” In addition to upbringing, many people, especially women, get messages from their culture and society at large that they need to provide care for the youngest and oldest family members and asking for help is a weakness.

Ironically, you can be more patient and calmer by allowing yourself temporary respite breaks. Allowing yourself breaks can help enormously to turn the tide of frustration before meanness happens. A temporary respite break helps you blow off steam, release the pressure, balance the negativity, remind you of the world beyond your current caregiving experience, get fresh perspective, reconnect with other parts of your life, do something for your own wellbeing, and allow you to keep going when you return to the caregiving marathon.

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