Respecting Your Limits and Taking Care of Yourself

Helping support someone in difficulty can be deeply rewarding. But providing support over a period of months or years can lead to fatigue or even burnout. To remain available for another person, it’s important to take care of yourself and respect your own limits.

Keep in mind that if you need help to deal with the situation, suicide.ca has counsellors to provide you with support.


Burnout warning signs

It’s important to seek help if you have warning signs of burnout.

These include:
 

  • More tiredness than usual

  • Increased irritability or impatience

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Insomnia

  • Changes in appetite

  • Giving up activities you usually enjoy

  • Sense of being overwhelmed by tasks

  • Frequent feelings of guilt

What are the effects of burnout?

Burnout can affect your well-being and your relationship with the person you’ve been helping in a variety of ways.

Consequences burnout

Potential effects on your relationships with the person you’ve been helping


  • Downplaying their situation (e.g., not believing them when they say they need help or feel in danger, accepting that they want to commit suicide)

  • Stepping back from your relationship with them (e.g., seeing them less often, cutting ties)
 

Potential effects on your well-being


  • Developing a mental health problem like depression or an anxiety disorder

  • Having suicidal thoughts

How to take care of yourself

Everyone has needs that must be met to maintain good physical and mental health. Sometimes this means setting limits on the person you’re helping. Here are some tips on how to take care of yourself:

A tool to take stock of your situation

The self-assessment tool can help you take stock of your mental health.