Caregiving is demanding.
The stress and responsibility of caregiving takes a toll on any experienced or inexperienced caregiver, especially when dealing with situations that are out of your control. All these factors, when gone unchecked can lead to burnout. Burning out can take many different forms such as depression, anxiety, addiction or lack of interest and overall unhappiness. It’s important to recognize the warning signs and get help when the onset of a burnout is near.
According to helpguide.org, caregivers have an increased tendency to experience burnout because of the emotional and physical nature of their job. Also, with the high demands of caregiving, many caregivers neglect their own well-being in the process.
Here are the top warning signs of caregiver burnout according to helpguide.com:
- You have much less energy than you once had
- It seems like you catch every cold or flu that’s going around
- You’re constantly exhausted, even after sleeping or taking a break
- You neglect your own needs, either because you’re too busy or you don’t care anymore
- Your life revolves around caregiving, but it gives you little satisfaction
- You have trouble relaxing, even when help is available
- You’re increasingly impatient and irritable with the person you’re caring for
- You feel helpless and hopeless
If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these signs, it’s important to get help right away. Once you’re burnt out, caregiving isn’t a healthy option for you or your loved one.
As inevitable as burnout may seem, here are some ways to get help:
Force yourself to take a step back and look after your health. Limit your commitments for a period of time. Give yourself a chance to slow down, reflect and heal.
Talk to someone
Never feel ashamed of how you’re feeling. Many people have a tendency to fight with their feelings of fatigue or lack of interest. Some may take on more tasks, while others withdraw completely. Speak to someone about how you’re feeling. Release some stress by expressing yourself and establish a support network to support you. Resources like online forums, support groups, meet-ups are great ways to meet people who can relate to what you’re experiencing.
Re-evaluate your priorities
It’s common to bite off more than we can chew. Take some time and evaluate your priorities. Analyze where you’re spending your time and energy and see if some things can be put on hold.
Master your ability to give up control
The need to be in control can cause a lot of stress and extra burden. Learn when to ask for help and delegate some work load to the ones your trust.
It’s never too late to invest in yourself. Be mindful of your stress levels because part of being a good support for someone else, is being able to support yourself as well. Rest, recharge and regain yourself.
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