More than 65 million people in the United States are taking care of a loved one, offering this “free” service that can take a toll on their mental and physical health. By taking the right precautions to care for yourself as well as your loved one, you can avoid caregiver’s burn out.
Warning Signs Of Caregiver’s Burnout
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Losing interesting in activities you used to enjoy
- Feeling irritable, depressed, and hopeless
- Change in weight
- Getting sick more often
- Change in sleep pattern
- Having thoughts of harming yourself or the one you’re caring for
1. Ask For Help
You might feel like all of the weight has fallen on you, but you shouldn’t be doing this alone. If you have siblings or other family members who are close by, they need to step up. Even if it’s just bringing a meal you don’t have to cook, or sending money so you can hire someone to take over for a day, your family needs to do this together. Not just you.
2. Set Reasonable Goals
Some diseases will get worse over time, and you need to prepare yourself for that. Set goals that both you and your loved one can achieve so you can feel a sense of accomplishment. Feeling like you’re not making any progress can make you feel hopeless, but remember that small victories are victories nonetheless. Even if it’s just getting them to go for a short walk with you or eating their entire meal, it will feel good that you both had such a successful day together.
2. Know Your Limits
You can’t expect to do this job all day every day. If you find yourself feeling guilty for wanting some free time, you shouldn’t. You deserve to take care of yourself, otherwise, how would you be able to care for them? Neglecting your needs for someone else’s can cause a build-up of resentment, which can lead to a toxic relationship.
3. Join A Support Group
Talking with others who are going through the same thing as you can help you hash out any feelings you might be keeping down. The sense of being surrounded by people who understand you can make the job a lot easier. You might even find someone who has found a better or easier way to do something for their loved one and themselves.
4. Read Up
The more you know about their condition, the better you can care for them. It can get frustrating when nothing is working but tailoring the day and activities to their specific illness can make it more effective for the both of you.
Are you a caregiver who has gone through caregiver’s burnout? How did you overcome your struggles? We’d love to hear all about it in the comment section below!