Caring for an elderly loved one is a stressful undertaking for anyone. It not only is physically stressful, but also emotionally. This stress can build up over time and can even become worse as your loved one becomes harder and harder to care for. At this point, caregivers can easily become burnt out and feel helpless as to what they can do to rectify the situation and return to a healthy life balance. With that in mind, we have gathered some tips below to help you recognize and cope with caregiver burnout.
Common Indicators of Caregiver Burnout
– Reflect on how others have been interacting with you. Have close friends and family members expressed concern that you look tired or just your general well-being? Sometimes it takes someone close to you for you to realize that there might be a problem. Caregivers when they are close to burnout tend to be too involved in the care of their loved one to take note of their own wellness.
– Reflect on the health of your current relationships. Have things seemed tense between you and your spouse? Or your close friends and families? One way that stress can be unhealthily expressed is through taking said stress out on others rather than addressing the root issue. If you are witnessing this behavior in yourself you might be experiencing burnout.
– Reflect on your own health. Have you had trouble sleeping? Have you noticed a decrease or increase in appetite? Have you had irregular weight gain or loss? Do you constantly feel worn out? Do you have trouble concentrating? Are you more irritable then normal? All of these physical and mental symptoms may be signs of increased stress levels that are not being dealt with productively. Abnormal amounts of stress can negatively affect your daily habits that help you maintain a healthy life balance.
Steps to Help Mediate Burnout
– Find your tribe. Search out other caregivers and find a supportive community who can empathize and help you cope with what you are experiencing. Local caregiver support groups can especially helpful as they allow a safe space to discuss sensitive issues and allow you to come up with effective and productive coping strategies. Support groups also run on a consistent schedule, which will ensure that you are getting regular time to decompress with an empathetic audience.
– Stay positive. Try to be aware of how you think and speak about yourself and others. Are you more positive or negative? What words seem to keep being used? Be kind not only to others, but also yourself in the way you speak. It can make a world of difference.
– Be mindful of the positive in your life. At the end of the day, reflect on what has happened and pick one thing that made you happy. It could be the cup of coffee your co-worker brought you or that you got to have a nice chat with a friend. Then at the end of the week, take some time to think about what you have done to change your outlook. Make a list of what you have done and what you would still like to do to bring more positivity into your life.
– Accept your limitations. This step is perhaps the hardest. Remember that you are only one person who has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Make realistic plans and goals for yourself that are manageable and attainable. Remember it is better to do a few things well than to undertake many good works and leave them half done.