Let’s be honest, being a caregiver is hard work. When someone around you relies completely or even partially on you to fulfill their needs, it can become overwhelming. Caregivers have taken on a rewarding task by providing for their loved ones, but the stress of being responsible for yourself and someone else is exhausting at times. It’s important to understand what “caregiver burnout” looks like and learn how to prevent it from happening. Caregivers can take care of themselves and those that depend on them without over-straining themselves, but they need to be mindful of warning signs and have a plan to prevent burnout.
There are warning signs of mental and emotional exhaustion that, if recognized, can help caregivers realize when they’ve pushed themselves beyond their limit. Often caregivers are so focused on their loved one they can neglect their own needs. Some warning signs can include:
- Losing interest in hobbies
- Feeling irritable or angry
- Withdrawing from family or friends
- Sleeping more or being unable to sleep
- Eating more or losing their appetite
- Feeling a lack of motivation
Feelings of hopeless and/or having trouble getting out of bed in the morning can indicate a major problem for caregivers. When caregivers take so much out of themselves to give to others, the job no longer seems rewarding and becomes increasingly challenging. This can be prevented before it happens.
How To Prevent Burnout
Taking preventative measures isn’t something people do just to maintain their physical health. Preventative actions can help people maintain their emotional and mental health before feelings of exhaustion or depression set in. Here are some preventative steps that can help caregivers prevent burnout from happening before it begins:
- Take Care Of Yourself – Before anyone can take care of another person effectively, they need to take care of themselves. Burnout can depress the immune system and cause illness to occur more often.
- Find Support – There are support groups for caregivers that can help. Support groups offer suggestions, advice, resources and a sense of community. Talking to other people who are going through the same thing can help people feel less isolated and alone.
- Talk To A Professional – Professional services can sometimes help more than a support group. Talking to someone that is trained in support and guidance can help you manage emotional and mental issues that need to be addressed.
- Hire A Professional – Hire someone to help take the load off. Maybe the amount of time it takes to care for a loved one is just too much for one person. A professional caregiver can take off a few responsibilities, if not all of them.
Remember to stay healthy and think positive. Sometimes people tend to focus on their troubles and forget about the good things. Drink a lot of water, get enough sleep every night, and make sure you are eating right. These three easy steps can help you re-energize and recharge so that it is easier to think and focus. Lack of sleep and not eating right can make people confused and upset.
Don’t forget that you are never alone. Ask doctor’s and advocates for resources and other support services for help. Educate yourself on what you can do to help yourself. There are so many programs and support services available to you and that want to help. Contact someone you can trust and take each step a day at a time or call us at 877-432-2692 for help in your area.