Home caregivers often have so much pressure on them that they experience burnout – a feeling that they’ve done all that they can do and just can’t do any more. Resentment and despair can arise from burnout, so it’s important that home caregivers take care of themselves and do what they can to prevent it.
Here are some signs that often accompany caregiver burnout:
- overwhelming stress and tension
- inappropriate anger toward your loved one
- feeling that you are all alone
- feelings of failure
- getting sick easily or often
- frequent use of alcohol or drugs
Stop burnout before it fully develops. Here are five simple steps that you can take.
We’re not talking going to the gym for two hours every day. Most home caregivers simply don’t have that kind of time. Instead, find several times during the day when you can do a few mini-workouts – ten minutes here, ten minutes there. Getting your blood flowing helps to keep your spirits up, and keeping your physical health up makes you feel better about yourself as well.
Boredom can be an enemy for many caregivers. Work hard to learn and try new things: a new recipe for lunch, a new route to the doctor’s office, or new information about your loved one’s favorite TV show.
Find the play in your work
This is easier said than done, but look for opportunities for you and your loved one to do something fun that you both enjoy, whether it’s a jigsaw puzzle, a game, or a walk on a pretty spring day. If you have an unusually long wait at the doctor’s office, bring along a crossword puzzle or read aloud from a book together.
Make time for yourself
Again, this can be challenging, but it’s worth it. Set aside thirty minutes every day just for you to be by yourself, doing something that you enjoy. Alternatively, consider asking relatives to help you make a schedule in which you get a whole day off on a regular basis.
Talk to others
Don’t try to go it alone all the time. Talk about your feelings to a good friend or relative. Consider joining a support group for home caregivers, either online or in-person.
Home caregivers are only human, despite the fact that they’re asked to do superhuman things. Recognize your limits and keep yourself far away from burnout. You and your loved one will be happy you did.