Are You Experiencing Caregiver Burnout?
You’ve just bought a house plant for your home. You’re excited about the advantages it will provide: decor, fresh, clean and purified air, humidity, and more. But you must care for the plant to make sure it survives, so you can enjoy its benefits: you need to water the plant, place it in sunlight, prune leaves and blooms, and keep the soil clear of debris and dropped leaves. If you don’t do these things, soon you will see signs of the plant’s decline: it will begin to droop, discolor, and lose leaves.
By this point, you’re asking yourself, what does this have to do with caregiving?! If you have become a caregiver for a loved one, you have taken on a great privilege and challenge. Like a house plant, if you don’t take care of yourself, you too will begin to decline and be unable to fulfill your intended duties as a caregiver. Between keeping a loved one safe at home, preparing meals, running errands, going to doctor appointments and much, much more, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. If this goes on for any extended amount of time, you will experience caregiver burnout.
What is caregiver burnout?
Burnout is defined as, “to wear out or become exhausted by making excessive demands on energy, strength, or resources.” Burnout is a prolonged occupational stress.
What are the signs of burnout?
You will see both physical and mental effects of caregiver burnout.
Your physical health will be affected:
-Decreased immune function
-Abnormal eating patterns
-Weight loss or gain
-Stress-related symptoms: back pain, headaches, chronic fatigue
Your mental health will be affected:
-Withdrawal/Isolation: given up hobbies and activities you’ve enjoyed for years; not wanting to interact with friends/loved ones
-Lack of concentration or focus
-Feelings of anxiety or feeling overwhelmed
-Emotional rollercoaster experience: impatient, irritable, argumentative, or short temper with those who don’t deserve it
What can you do to prevent caregiver burnout?
If you have any of these physical or mental symptoms, there is still hope! Just as a drooping house plant can be revived with water or sunlight, you too can find the balance you need. Here are some things you can do to alleviate and prevent burnout:
-Talk to your doctor
-Get enough sleep (7-9 hours is recommended each night.)
-Eat healthy meals and snacks regularly
-Set aside ‘you’ time every day
-Find a support group (friends, coworkers, family, groups, neighbors, church members, Powerful Tools For Caregivers)
-Take a break. Have a trusted friend, family member, or company come in to your home, even if it’s for a few hours once a week, while you go out to run errands, grab lunch with a friend, anything!
How can Care to Continue® help?
Care to Continue® can provide the break that you deserve, by matching you and your loved one with a trained, licensed, bonded and insured caregiver. Care to Continue® is a company you can trust, and we are committed to providing excellent service. If you are a caregiver for a loved one, you will or already feel burnout effects if you don’t take care of yourself. Remember our house plant? How can you expect the plant to continue to thrive without giving it the care it needs? You have needs too! Imagine being able to run errands without feeling anxious while you’re gone. You’ll have the peace of mind that your loved one is safe and in good hands, so you can relax and focus on what you need to do to come back and continue caring for your loved one at full capacity.