Tips to Avoid Caregiver Burnout
Posted: Oct 23 2017
You're doing a wonderful thing by caring for a loved one through an illness or injury. Being a caregiver is a rewarding experience and one that's surely appreciated. However, there are steps you need to take in order to avoid suffering from burnout.
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Understand the Symptoms of Burnout
Your life is undoubtedly busy while you're caring for a loved one and you might not realize that you're showing the symptoms of burnout. These include change of sleeping patterns, weight gain or loss, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, withdrawal from friends and family, and irritability or hopelessness. If you recognize any of these warning signs, it's crucial that you take the needed steps to avoid burnout, depression, or other serious issues.
Understand Your Limits
You know what you can reasonably do in a day, but your love for the person you're caring for might push you to go above and beyond the scope of your limits to care for them. When you push yourself too hard, you could push yourself to exhaustion, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Know your limits, understand them, and come up with a plan to implement when you've met your limits.
Take Care of Yourself
You're probably familiar with the flight attendant's instructions to secure your own oxygen mask before you tend to others. The same goes for your caregiving situation. You must eat healthily, get exercise, take breaks, get enough sleep, and follow other health measures. If you're too tired or too weak to care for yourself, taking care of somebody else might feel impossible. Come up with a routine to nurture your body during this time.
Use Respite Care
Check with your loved one's insurance company to see if he or she qualifies for respite care. They might be able to spend a few days in an assisted living facility or nursing home while you recoup. Or they might qualify to have an at-home health aide or nurse visit a few times a week to help with bathing, medical needs, and other routines. This is the time when you can take a break.
You might believe that the responsibility to care for your loved one falls solely on you. While you certainly might take on this responsibility, when somebody offers to help, accept it. You won't be construed as weak or uncaring. Allow them to help with laundry, cooking, or whatever else they have offered. Delegate what you can to others so that you can focus more on the things you need to tend to.
SocializeIf somebody offers to bring dinner, you can invite them to stay and enjoy their company and companionship. Or if somebody has offered to take you out to lunch, find somebody to stay with your loved one so you can enjoy a few hours with a dear friend. Friendship is just as important to your physical health as it is to your emotional health!
For more about how to be a good caregiver, see Willowgreen's resources for caregivers. Shop today!