Blog Post: So Not the Eveready Bunny Anymore!

Seniors 1

By Catherine Bryson


“You can’t pour from an empty cup,” said Dr. Melanie Badali, during her presentation of the 2023 NSCR workshop ‘Clarifying and Communicating Healthy Boundaries.’


Wise words indeed, and sage advice, for any caregiver on the caregiving ‘roller coaster ride.’ This shortish post aims to deal with the topic of Caregiver Burnout. It is actually a topic near and dear to my heart, as I suffer from fatigue myself. My wish is that by writing this, you, the reader, will recognize your symptoms and get help. If you suspect you or someone you love has Caregiver Burnout, then read on. (Of course, see your doctor if the fatigue is more intense, or is accompanied by other symptoms.)


Let me tell you a story to illustrate my point.


When I was a little girl, I lived in a French village in the Dordogne region of France: famous for, among other things, fois gras (goose liver pâté, with or without truffles) and wine. Yes, it was a special time in my life, I have to admit (beautiful and romantic castles, great food, lovely weather…) Anyway, in the village where we lived there was a well at the top of the hill. You know what I mean, like in medieval times. Sometimes we’d just drop a stone in so we could hear the echo sound from a distance, which was cool.


The point I’d like to make is that your wellness is like that well. When it is full, you can draw from it whenever you need to: for work, relationships, recreation, etc. (Speaking of recreation, when your internal ‘well’ is full, you can do great artwork, because the well is where all creative inspiration lives, in the ‘chi’, which means ‘energy’ in the Chinese language.)


However, after many, many years of drawing from the well, or if there’s a drought and suddenly large amounts of water were used, then maybe, eventually, that well would run dry and you’d be out of luck. Like walking in a desert, and no water anywhere. (‘Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink’). Whenever you are caregiving, you draw from that well. If you are not mindful of your own self-care, eventually you can end up like the Eveready Bunny with no batteries.


Remember the cute Eveready Bunny ads on TV? I think that before I used to be like that, but now, no longer, hence the title of this post. But despair not, I’m going to list some tips that might help, and then some resources for you. And of course, a great photo of the Château de Monbazillac (Monbazillac Castle) also the site of the eponymous dessert wine of that name. (If you ever come across it, buy it, for it is truly delicious!)


But if your batteries do run out, then what? As Dr. Badali said: ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup.’ And you can’t draw water from the well, either. If you notice you’ve become more grouchy, or you are sleeping badly, or you are getting sick a lot—consider the following coping strategies that I learned at this workshop I recently I attended, free and online, hosted by the Alzheimer Society of Toronto (they have excellent online workshops, all free). While they are not the panacea, (nothing is, short of winning the lottery, and even that, studies say, is not a guarantee of happiness), they do help.


Some Useful Coping Strategies Before Pressing the Panic Button:


  • Accept, work through, and share your feelings with one other
  • Be realistic (e.g. we are all human and therefore imperfect!)
  • Humour is helpful
  • Have a good cry/vent/laugh
  • Take time for yourself (though I know this is ‘easier said than done’)
  • Get help (no one, but no one, can do this alone. Reach out and attend the free NSCR online Caregiver Support Group, email Vic Gailiunas (for details, see resources below)
  • Sometimes it helps to write out your feelings (e.g, a journal, but you can always do it on your phone using the Notes app)
  • Prioritize your health (I cannot emphasize this enough). Avoid skipping medical or dental appointments because your caregiving schedule is so full. Take advantage of telemedicine if this is the case.


So, take good care (cliché though that may be) and ‘Ring the bells that still can ring’ (as Leonard Cohen wrote).




NSCR Caregiver Support Program:

‘Overcoming Emotional Burnout’ by Allyson Hodge, 2020

‘The Conscious Caregiver’ by Linda Abbit (pictured above),  2017.

The Alzheimer’s Society of BC,

(See, in particular the free webinar recordings. See also the free Infolink helpline, I found it helpful during

my caregiving journey.)

Alzheimer Society of Toronto,