Everyone knows that caring for the elderly, the sick, or the disabled is not an easy thing to do.
That’s just one of the many reasons why the millions of caregivers looking after them deserve the gratitude of many for taking on such a challenging job.
However, it’s a fact that caregiving tends to become stressful over time.
It may be true that many caregivers, especially those who look after a loved one, see what they do as rewarding.
Still, the demands and the frustrations that come with the job can get so overwhelming that they end up feeling burned out over time.
Caregiver burnout is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Once it sets in, it will adversely affect the caregiver, even to the point where they lose interest in caring for their charge or even for themselves.
If you’re one of the many family caregivers and home care professionals working out there, you need to be on the lookout for signs that you are already feeling overwhelmed by the job, so you can take the appropriate action before it’s too late.
Signs & Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout
You may be an incredibly patient and resilient person, but the rigors of caregiving can still get to you and affect your overall health and your life in general.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms that you’re experiencing caregiver burnout include:
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Difficulty sleeping
- Overwhelming physical fatigue
- Neglecting personal needs, both physical and emotional
- Worsening health problems
- Isolating from friends and loved ones
- Increased irritability and impatience
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feelings of resentment towards the person you’re looking after
- Disinterest in activities you used to enjoy
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Changes in eating habits
- Evident lack of energy
- Feeling like caregiving is taking over your life
- Increased arguing with care receiver
- Neglecting or abusing care receiver
- Depression or mood swings
Taking Care of Yourself
If you see yourself exhibiting signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout, you will need to take a step back and do what you can to take better care of yourself. Some of the things you can do include:
- Minding your own health—Keep in mind that you need to care for yourself before you can even think about taking care of somebody else. With caregiving being such a stressful job, you will need to eat well, get more exercise and adequate sleep, and visit your physician for regular checkups and screenings
- Taking mini-breaks—Taking short breaks from caregiving would also do wonders for you. Instead of keeping yourself occupied with nothing but caregiving stuff, go out and meet with friends, chat with them online, or simply take 30-minute walks in the park every day. These breaks may be short, but they can already provide a bit of the respite you need from all that exhausting and draining caregiver work
- Joining support groups—There’s a support group for just about anything these days, and those experiencing caregiver burnout are no exception. If you enter a support group for caregivers, you will have an outlet for all your feelings, frustrations, and resentments, and the people listening are all in the same boat. Check with local hospitals and churches to see if they have such support groups in place
- Talking to a therapist—With the help of a therapist, you can work through all the issues you face when providing care for someone else. You can also develop ways to cope with the stresses of caregiving under a therapist’s guidance.
Upon recognizing the signs of caregiver burnout in you, you need to take action right away before things get worse. By taking care of yourself, you improve not only your situation but that of your charge as well.
About the Author
Sarah Keller is the Content Marketing Strategist of A To Z Home Care, a team of professional home care providers based in Phoenix, Arizona that specializes in long-term care for your loved ones. She enjoys riding horses and camping with her friends and family in her spare time.
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