Welcome to the family, parenting and caregiving section.
Here you will find information on a variety of caregiving roles. Topics include information for new parents such as adjusting to change, post-partum depression, single parenting and transient parenting (e.g.; part-time parenting due to travelling for work). There is also information on the positive and negative impacts of caregiving on our mental and physical wellbeing. When we are caring for others, it is very important that we also care for ourselves. Additional information about self-care can be found in the get inspired section of this app.
I enjoy being a caregiver but sometimes I feel so tired and overwhelmed. How can I take care of myself while caring for others?
Caregiving can feel rewarding and give one a sense of purpose and fulfillment, but it can also be demanding and stressful. In order to avoid burnout, caregivers need to make their own wellness a priority. Caregivers may feel overwhelmed and their mental and physical wellbeing may be negatively impacted; especially, when trying to balance caregiving, work and family responsibilities. Remember you are not alone and help is available. Reach out to family members, friends, community groups, or a health care provider who can provide assistance. Other tips to help you manage your health while caregiving include; asking for help, sharing the caregiver responsibilities, exercise, eat well, get lots of rest, meditate, join a support group, get involved in an activity or hobby you enjoy, and make time for yourself every day. When you balance your own needs along with those you are caring for, you are more likely to function at your best and be an effective caregiver.
I have been told that becoming a new parent is supposed to be an exciting and rewarding experience. Why then do I feel sad and frustrated?
Think back to another life event you awaited and planned for at length. After the event was over, how did you feel? Did you have all positive or negative feelings about the event, or was it a combination of both? Becoming a new parent, is a major life event associated with both positive and negative emotions. Although you may look forward to being a parent, you may not have thought about the number of adjustments required to your personal, family and work lives. New parents have to adjust to changes in routines, sleep and eating patterns as well as expanded roles and responsibilities. These changes can cause stress and leave new parents feeling sad, frustrated and both physically and mentally exhausted. When experiencing high levels of stress, the importance of healthy eating and physical activity can be forgotten. Eating well, staying active and getting enough rest contributes to reduced stress levels. As parents, you are constantly learning about your new baby and his/her needs and about your role as a parent. This can be a very exciting, but challenging time given the number of changes occurring. Mild depression and mood swings, sometimes called ‘baby blues’ can be common after having a baby. But if symptoms last longer than a few weeks or get worse, you may be experiencing post-partum depression. Post-partum depression can prevent you from taking care of yourself and your child so it’s important to seek support right away. Reach out to a health care provider and family and friends for support. Remember, be kind to yourself, and take time to adjust, stay active, eat well and reach out for help when needed. You are not alone. Visit the Find Support page of this app for a listing of services in your area.
#1. Are you a part-time single parent due to your partner travelling for work purposes? Many families due to employment availability have partners who travel regularly for work. This is challenging for every family member for a variety of reasons. Children experience missing their parent who is travelling and may have difficulty adjusting to changes in routines based on the parent’s travel schedule. The parent travelling experiences loss due to missing family milestones and events such as Christmas concerts and birthdays. Additionally, the parent who is left at home experiences increasing demands due to changes in household routines, work schedules and parenting responsibilities. It is important to consider how your mental and physical health and wellness is impacted by all of these changes and seek assistance when needed. Visit the Find Support page of this app for a listing of services in your area. #2. Are you a full-time single parent? Being a full-time single parent requires excellent time management and organizational skills, resourcefulness, patience and a whole lot of love! Practicing self-care when you are a single parent is very important. Some single parents feel isolated and have few opportunities for a break from parenting responsibilities. Do not be ashamed to ask for help or feel like you have to do it all on your own. There are many resources available for single parents, visit the Find Support page to find services near you. #3. Are you a full-time or part-time single parent due to divorce or other life circumstances? You may be a part-time or full-time single parent due to circumstances beyond your control. The changes may create loneliness and isolation. You may become so busy balancing schedules and responsibilities; you do not realize the impact on your mental and physical health and wellness. Everyone needs time for themselves to maintain physical and mental wellness to be a good parent and caregiver. Reach out to people who you believe are supportive like family and friends and seek professional support when needed.
I am providing end of life care to my loved one. How can I ensure that both my loved one’s mental health needs and my own are being met?
Caring for a family member who is at the end of life can generate many emotions and feelings. As caregivers, the experience can provide you with a sense of purpose and fulfillment, but it may also challenge you in ways you were not anticipating and leave you feeling both physically and mentally exhausted. Self-care is a crucial aspect of this type of caregiving because of the high demands it places on physical and mental health. In order to provide care for your loved one, you also have to care for yourself during this difficult time. This means making a conscious effort to keep your own routine of meals, sleep and exercise to lessen the challenges of caregiving. Having supportive friends and family can also increase your ability to cope with the emotional aspects of this type of care. To ensure you and your loved one’s physical and mental health needs are met, the community or hospital-based palliative care programs can help. Palliative care is a type of health care for patients and families facing life-threatening illness. Palliative care helps patients to achieve the best possible quality of life from disease management right up until the end of life. This type of service can also assist with end of life care such as dealing with feeling of grief and loss. There are services and supports available to help you through this challenging time. Visit the Find Support page of this app for a listing of services in your area.
- You are a parent caring for a child with an eating disorder.
- You are the child of a parent dealing with an addiction.
- You think your neighbour has depression and you know of a great community resource, but you aren’t sure how to share that information.
- You can’t seem to find the right words when you observe your friend gambling excessively.
Supporting someone with a mental illness or addiction can be difficult, especially if your loved one is acutely ill and having trouble moving forward in their recovery. You want to help but you can’t do it for them. In some instances you’re afraid you’ll do something wrong and make things worse or will cause your relationship to break down. Your own energy can be drained by the experience of caring for someone as well as yourself. The fear and worry of what might happen is relentless. That’s why it is so important to take care of yourself when you are caring for a loved one.
- Remember, you don’t need all the answers.
- Take time for you, especially if you are the primary support, such as when caring for a child, a spouse or a parent.
- Look for caregiver supports near you. Many communities have caregiver networks and counseling support groups.
- Master the basics: exercise, proper sleep and a nutritious diet, as well as time away from the stresses of caregiving to ensure your mental health permits you to support others.
Talking to your kids about mental health is one of the most challenging discussions for families in Newfoundland and Labrador. You may be starting the conversation with your teen about signs and symptoms you have observed in them. Or, you may be teaching children about the need to support their sibling, parent, grandparent, or friend from school. If you’re talking to your kids about their own mental illness and learning to support them, start here:
- Teens worry about being judged; the teenage and growing mind has different needs than their adult peers.
- Find your son or daughter resources built for the growing mind and body, which are judgment free and developed by leaders experienced in youth care in the field of mental illness. This is one powerful way to start the conversation with your child about their mental health!
Finding the Facts:
Make the click to start the conversation with your kids.
The Canadian Alliance for Mental Illness and Mental Health:
This site offers information on a range of mental illnesses as well as general mental health information useful for families talking to kids about mental health: camimh.ca
Dr. Stanley Kutcher:
An expert in adolescent mental health, Dr. Stanley Kutcher knows all about the teen brain, youth mental health developing and coping strategies for all—his work is here: teenmentalhealth.org/about-us/dr.-stanley-kutcher-md-frcpc
The Jack Project:
The period from high school to college or independent living and adulthood is tough for youth, especially those living with mental illness. This resource offers trusted information to help youth make the transition successfully and focuses on the needs of 15-24 year old youth: jack.org
Do it for Daron (DIFD):
For youth connecting to other youth who have had similar experiences is a part of the healing process. This site is devoted to inspiring positive changes on how we talk about youth mental health; it is a youth friendly site and a useful resource for parents, guardians and teachers too: www.difd.com
The Kids Help Phone:
The Kids Help Phone offers children and youth free 24-hour telephone access to a counsellor from any location. Counselling services are also available online. Sometimes children and youth just need to talk to someone who isn’t a friend or family member, so make sure your children know they can get completely confidential help and advice over the phone at 1-800-668-6868 or online at kidshelpphone.ca