Being a caregiver can be an exhausting and challenging task. It’s important to recognize caregiver burnout and cope healthily. Understanding caregiver burnout symptoms and coping mechanisms can help make caregiving more enjoyable and fulfilling. About 1 in 3 adults serves as an informal caregiver to another adult, like an aging parent or disabled relative. Although many find the opportunity to care for a loved one to be a privilege, it can also be demanding. Here is how to cope effectively. (WebMD)
Signs Of Caregiver Burnout
Caregiver burnout is a state of exhaustion that may result in a change of attitude. The exhaustion can be physical, emotional, and/or mental.
Common Signs Of Burnout Include:
Lack of energy
Sleeping too little or too much
A sense of hopelessness, despair
Weight loss or gain
Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
Neglecting one’s own needs
Feeling like one’s life revolves around caregiving
Growing impatient or irritable with loved ones
Worrying excessively about the future
Mood swings or depression
Challenges coping with everyday tasks or problems
Headaches, stomach aches, and other physical signs of stress
Getting sick easily (Vitas)
Tips For Coping With Caregiver Burnout
Burnout doesn’t have to be a permanent condition. Use these tips to prevent and cope with caregiver burnout.
Ask For and Accept Help: Others may desire to or be willing to help with caregiving tasks, even if only temporarily.
Set Realistic Goals: Understand that not all tasks can be done all of the time. Consider saying “no” to additional requests and demands.
Connect with Others: Find a support group, talk to a friend regularly, and connect with others who can listen and understand.
Avoid Common Causes of Burnout: Caregiving for too many hours, not having space to process emotions, lack of sleep, and other issues are common causes of burnout. Avoid these to recover and prevent further exhaustion.
Home Care Tip
There are many options for caregiving. Caregivers should not feel they are the only ones who can help their loved ones because the pressure will cause or exacerbate burnout. Involve other loved ones in caregiving, find an adult daycare, or consider a private aide.