5 Ways to Prevent Caregiver Burnout
Caregiver burnout is a problem that affects many of those responsible for another person's care. If you are providing home care assistance to someone due to an illness, old age, accident, or disability, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or exhausted by your duties. In that case, you might agree that finding the right balance between providing care and caring for yourself can be challenging.
The physical demands of caregiving are obvious, but there is also a mental strain that should not be ignored. Preventing Caregiver burnout can be difficult if you lack the time to rest and restore your emotional batteries. According to the US National Library of Medicine, the experience of caregiving reduces the chance of a caregiver living a "fully active" lifestyle, which includes daily life activities, such as eating, sleeping, and regular social interactions.
Domilia has listed five effective ways to prevent caregiver burnout and minimize the harmful effect on your mind and body so that you can stay healthy and happy.
5 Tips to keep you from burning out as a caregiver
1. Identifying The Main Source of Stress
Caregiving comes with solely concentrating on your patients such that you might not notice how your mental health and wellness are being affected. The first step to preventing caregiver burnout is finding the cause of your stress. This enables you to take rapid measures to avoid deteriorating conditions and enhance situations for you and the people you are caring for. You should watch out for these signs:
- Feeling anxious or frequently worried.
- Feeling tired, belittled, or sad.
- Experiencing anxiety, depression, or mood swings.
- Having trouble sleeping.
- Gaining/losing weight.
- Losing interest in your favorite activities or hobbies.
- Headaches, body pain, or other physical conditions.
- Drug/alcohol abuse; could also include prescribed medications.
- Ignoring responsibilities.
- Having trouble relaxing even during your free time.
- Feeling hopeless.
Excessive stress can largely influence your physical activity and diet, putting you at risk of health issues.
2. Embrace your duties and prioritize what you can control
As a caregiver, you might be confronted with a patient’s illness or the pressure of home care assistance, which makes you want to question many things. It is normal to feel that way at first but putting too much energy on things you can’t control or situations with vague answers can leave you trapped in your emotions.
Try to evade the mental trap of feeling responsible for others’ conditions and happiness. Instead, try to accept the situation, think of better possibilities rather than negatives; it is no fault of yours. You also need to understand that you can’t get more hours in a day, nor can you provide constant physical assistance to your patients. This will make it easier to face more demanding/challenging situations, concentrating on how best you can handle them.
3. Reminisce about the course of your career
On your low days, or when you feel burdened, always remember that you made a wise choice to give people love and care. Concentrate on the positive motive behind that choice. It could be to provide home care assistance out of love, as a moral obligation to give back for all the things your parents gave you, or to set great values for your children.
These profound, relevant motivations can give you comfort in tough times, and remind you of the beauty of your career. You can also make a list of all the fulfilling and rewarding aspects of your job and focus on these during critical times.
4. Allow yourself a break
“Me time” may seem like a luxury, yet you deserve some time off regardless of your busy schedule as a caregiver. Take breaks to do things you enjoy and get some rest. Rest will not only prevent caregiving burnout but will also make you a better caregiver.
Allow yourself to be at leisure at regular periods to blow off some steam. After recess, you will feel more energetic and refreshed, which is good for your physical and mental health. Also, make efforts to maintain healthy relationships with friends and family. Despite the chaos of your tight schedule, spending time with loved ones is rewarding and therapeutic.
The simple act of expressing your feelings can help you prevent caregiver burnouts and relieve the emotional burden; always make time to treat yourself. You can reduce stress by taking a long bath after a tiring day, getting a new haircut or manicure, anything to make you feel special because you are exceptional. Enjoy every single moment as you deserve all the love and care!
5. Ask For Help
Bear in mind that you do not have to do everything. It is okay to ask friends and family to assist with some of your caregiving duties. If, for example, a colleague offers to take the person you care for to a garden/for a walk a few times a week or offers to help you run some errands, do not turn it down. It is okay to ask and accept help from people you trust.
A caregiver support group is another option you can consider. It is a great avenue that will help you share your problems and experiences. You will most likely find people with similar problems/experiences; you can rely on each other for emotional support or learn from other’s experiences.
Most communities have some sort of respite care available, like; in-home respite, adult care centers/programs, and short-term nursing homes. You should check them out; remember you are not alone. To find a community support group, feel free to ask your doctors/hospitals, contact a local organization that handles your loved ones’ health issues, or checks online for more information.
Caregiving is not an easy task. You must put your emotions aside and take care of the people who need you. But the stress and anxiety that comes with being a caregiver can, in the long run, cause a burnout.
It is essential to take care of yourself to prevent caregiver burnout. Try to organize your time to keep a balance between your job, your personal life, and your family. Remember to take breaks, to exercise and to do activities that make you happy.
If you feel overwhelmed or burned out, do not overburden yourself or hesitate to reach out for help. Make sure your employer knows how you are feeling, get support from friends and family and remember that you are not alone; you are loved, and your work is essential.