Updated: Mar 29
Caregivers are important people in our society as they make the lives of patients or those they care for easier and more manageable. The sad part is, this job looks so simple to the eyes that most people don’t realize that caregivers do get burnout. Also, caregivers are generally very selfless and take care of everyone around them to the extent that they forget to take care of themselves. And when this happens, they get burnout. So, what are the signs of burnout and how can it be prevented? This article will tackle these two questions.
Signs of caregiver burnout
Below are some common signs of burnout
Energy levels going below what you usually have
Feeling excessively tired
Having sleeping issues(either too much or too little)
Having changes in your eating habits(either you eat too much or too little)
Losing interest in activities that you once enjoyed
Being negligent of your physical and emotional needs
Becoming unusually irritable or impatient and argumentative
Having mood swings or depression
Challenges dealing with daily activities
Being anxious about the future
Having constant headaches, stomach aches, and other physical issues
Having reduced resistance to illness
How to prevent caregiver burnout
Now that you know what signs to look out for when you are experiencing burnout, now let us learn how you can prevent it.
Ask for help- when you try to handle issues alone, you tend to get burnout. Asking for help doesn’t mean that you are not capable as a caregiver, it means you understand that you can’t make it alone and appreciate the importance of working as a team.
Learn to take breaks- some caregivers work throughout and hardly take breaks. It’s essential to learn to take breaks to prevent you from getting burnout. On your off days, try and stay relaxed, visit your friends or do activities that relax your mind and body like going for a massage or working out.
Document your daily activities- this is essential in helping you identify redundant activities and activities that you can delegate to other people such as family members. This means you will only be left with activities you feel you can handle without fatigue.
Plan your daily activities with the patient/loved one- this prevents you from having random or irrelevant activities which can end up draining your energy leaving you tired and unable to focus on what's important. Having a proper daily and weekly plan enables you to also distribute activities evenly depending on your energy levels. Also, planning helps you create time to rest during the day thus helping you conserve more energy.
Take good care of yourself- including having healthy meals, keeping up with your appointments, and regularly exercising. sometimes, caregivers take care of everyone around them except themselves. And this usually has a negative impact on their lives. Try and have some time for yourself either in the morning before you start your day(if you are an early riser) or in the evening. And on your off days, you can try and do activities that help you improve yourself like exercises or going to see a therapist if you are feeling stressed.
Being a caregiver is rewarding. However, it’s also easy to provide care for those around you that you forget to take care of yourself. It’s important to remember that caregiving is long-term, not short-term hence you need to take care of yourself if you are to last the whole journey. I hope the tips above will help you learn how to take better care of yourself so you can always enjoy doing the job.
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