Maybe you are a paid caregiver with an agency. Maybe you are taking care of a loved one. But who is taking care of you?
Caregiver burnout is a real thing. Whether you have chosen this as your profession, or you find yourself in a situation that you are now taking care of a loved one. The following tips will help YOU as you navigate the responsibility of taking care of others.
Caregiver burnout is a state of emotional, mental or physical exhaustion. Taking care of another person can be a very rewarding responsibility. However, taking care of others can also be extremely overwhelming and stressful at times. It can be particularly hard when there is no hope that your family member will get better despite your best efforts.
If you don’t get the physical and emotional support you need, the stress of caregiving can leave you at risk for a range of problems. Depression, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, overreacting to minor issues, new or worsening health problems, and many more.
A Few Tips To Help
Sometimes we spend a lot of energy dwelling on things we cannot change. Sometimes there are no clear answers. We must accept that we are doing the best that we can. Try to avoid the emotional trap of feeling sorry for yourself or searching for someone to blame.
Focus on things that you control.
You cannot control time, or the illness your loved one is suffering from. You can control how you react to situations, and you can make the most out of the time that you have. Educate yourself. The more you know about the illness, the more effective you will be in caring for the person with the illness.
Embrace your choice.
Either you are the caregiver or you have found yourself hiring a caregiver. Embrace it. Focus on all the positive reasons behind that choice.
Look for a silver lining.
Think about how care giving makes you feel. Do you feel like you have HELPED someone? Has it brought you closer to the person you are caring for? Do you know that your loved one is getting the help they deserve?
Don’t let being a caregiver take over your life.
You need to make time for you! Invest some time in a favorite hobby, your family, church, or simply some time for YOU!
Find a way to pamper yourself.
Light some candles and take a bath. Get a manicure. Go for a walk. Read a book. Buy yourself some flowers. Do anything that makes you feel special and relaxed!
Take care of your personal health.
Be sure to keep on top of your own doctor visits and checkups. Sleep is important too! Aim for 8 hours of sleep per day.
Exercise has been a proven method in relieving stress. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes on most days. When you do this regularly you will find it boosts your energy level as well.
Fresh fruits, fresh veggies, lean proteins and healthy fats are the best things to eat. These types of food will help keep steady energy throughout the day.
Talk to a family member or friend.
Make sure you have someone you can vent to. Everyone needs a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on.
ASK FOR HELP!
When things get overwhelming, you need to ask for help. Don’t try to do everything alone. No one can accomplish that. Look into respite care from family, friends, or even an agency. You deserve a break too!
There are lots of different support groups out there too. Some are local, some are online. Support groups are important. You will see that you are not alone. You may even find someone who is going through a very similar situation. They may turn into your “person” that you talk to when you need shoulder to cry on.
What you do makes a difference. You are making someone else’s life a little easier. There are not enough “thank you’s” in the world to show the appreciation you deserve.