Are you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, or just tired? You may be experiencing caregiver burnout. This is common, but also deadly for your overall health and wellness, as well as for the one you are caring for.
It is absolutely vital to recognize the signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout. This will help you understand it, overcome it, and eventually prevent future caregiver burnout from happening again.
Let’s take a closer look at what caregiver burnout is, and how to prevent it.
What is Caregiver Burnout?
Caregiver burnout is when a caregiver is stressed physically and emotionally. It is a state that can cause health and wellness issues that affect attitude. Caregiver burnout can also lead to depression, anxiety, a feeling of being overwhelmed, and contribute to negative feelings. Caregivers may also begin to feel guilty about spending time on them, instead of those they care for.
What Are Caregiver Burnout Signs and Symptoms?
- Not enjoying favorite activities and hobbies
- Irritability and helplessness
- Change in sleep habits (insomnia or oversleeping)
- Not spending time with friends or family (introversion)
- Weight loss, weight gain, or changes in appetite
- Sickness happens more often
- Depression and suicidal thoughts
- Physical and mental exhaustion
- Turning to drugs and alcohol to cope
If you are experiencing any of the above caregiver burnout signs and symptoms, it is vital to speak to someone. You can first confide in a friend or family member. You should also seek medical advice from a doctor or mental health professional.
There is hope! There are ways you can prevent or begin to alleviate the signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout.
How Can I Prevent Caregiver Burnout?
Preventing or alleviating caregiver burnout is a must. You may not realize the mental and physical harm you are doing to yourself. Here are a few important ways you can prevent burnout.
- Talk to Someone You Trust: This can be a family member, close friend, or even a coworker. The most important thing is to talk about how you feel and get those frustrations out in a productive way.
- Be Realistic About Your Loved One’s Diagnosis: In most cases, caregivers are supporting loved ones and patients with progressive diseases, like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease. Being realistic about outcomes can help prevent potential burnout.
- Have an Attainable Schedule: Caregivers are thoughtful and wonderful people. This also makes them prone to setting challenging schedules for themselves. It is important to have a schedule that works for you and the one you care for. Never be afraid to lean on support channels to keep goals attainable.
- Take Care of Yourself: Yes, this is very hard for many caregivers to do, but it is vital. You are caring for another person, so you need to be at the top of your game. Taking some time for you will help you reset and be the best caregiver when needed.
- Educate Yourself: Knowing more about your loved one or patient’s illness can reduce stress and anxiety about the disease he or she may have. You should also educate yourself on caregiver stress to ensure you get the tools you need to prevent burnout.
- Make Your Health and Wellness a Priority: Be sure to get plenty of exercise and eat a well-balanced diet to keep you sharp and full of energy. Since this benefits both you and the one you care for, think of it as part of your caregiver duties.
- Talk to a Doctor: This is a very important part of being a caregiver. In fact, caregivers should have regular discussions about their lives and daily on-goings with a doctor or mental health professional. Remember, you are never alone. Take steps to get professional support.
Are You Ready to Prevent Caregiver Burnout?
There are a number of ways to prevent caregiver burnout. The first step is always the most difficult. Identifying you may be at risk for burnout and taking action is essential. To help support caregivers, we are offering our Caregiver Watch for 33% off for those who need a little extra peace of mind. Stay together 24/7 and be the best caregiver you can be.