Thrive Through Self-Care

According to Statistics Canada, “in 2012, slightly more than 8 million Canadians, or 28% of people aged 15 and over, had provided help or care to a relative or
friend with a chronic health problem (help for short-term sickness is excluded).” I imagine that with the aging population, these numbers have only increased.
I am part of these statistics.

Living life with a sick parent (in my case, with the other one already deceased) is not something I chose for myself. Obviously, no one would choose that for themselves... But if I could change it, lord knows I would! My father has been sick for just over 5 years now. A year and a half ago, when my sisters and I found out that my dad had ALS - a terminal illness, underfunded and far from curable - we had mixed emotions.

Relief: We finally knew what was wrong! The mysterious problem now had a name.

Defeat: We finally knew without question that we would not be coming out of this with a happy ending.

Being a caregiver, though rewarding, is super stressful. Particularly when paired with a full time job, or parenting, or both. I may not be a parent but I have seen the toll it takes on the sandwich generation. Personally, balancing caregiving with a full time job, a side business, and a quite lacking social life rendered me stressed, exhausted and ready to quit.

I burned myself out. Not because I made the decision to be my father's primary caregiver but because I didn’t take care of myself while doing so. Caring for someone, without first caring for yourself is like trying to drive a car that has no gas in it. That expression – “running on fumes” – that’s what it makes me think of. You may be able to handle it all for a little while. But, when the adrenaline disappears, you’ll be worse for the wear.

The turning point in my journey was actually during my burnout. I sought help from a psychologist who helped me to understand that self care isn’t selfish. That although I may feel guilty (which I shouldn’t!), it did not mean that doing so was wrong. 

Another common issue for caregivers is that they do not self-identify as caregivers. This means they don’t recognize that they are taking on a whole other role in addition to their regular lives. Once a caregiver realizes that they are a caregiver, it is easier to ask for help and to find resources in the community. Doing so can lessen the burden on and reduce stress for caregivers.

This risk for burnout, and my experience with it, is what led me to write Thrive Through Self Care. The e-book is a guide to kicking stress, depression and burnout to the curb by using self care and is available exclusively through Amazon. Please join me to celebrate its release on February 3rd, from 5-8pm at the Crowley Centre in NDG. All net proceeds from the evening will be donated to the ALS Society of Quebec. Guests can experience an evening of self care with many complementary perks!

For all the details and to purchase tickets, click here.

Mitzi is the primary caregiver to her father who has ALS. She is also a certified personal trainer, 200-hour registered yoga teacher and a self care advocate. Drawing on this unique mix of experiences and skills, she has written a guide that outlines 7 self care strategies that can help YOU out of burnout, out of depression and into a thriving and healthy state of being.


Joy Rodgers January 29, 2018 4:17 pm

Awesome post! Looking forward to this weekend’s launch! Xo