Do you find yourself feeling exhausted and emotionally drained even when the day is over and done with? If any of these statements ring true for you, it’s possible that your stress levels have hit an all-time high. This is known as caregiver burnout, and it’s an unfortunate side effect of being a caregiver. As a caregiver your responsibilities require you to be always on your toes in case of emergency or unforeseen circumstances. But the pressures are mounting, and you can no longer keep up with them.
“The number of people who work as unpaid caregivers in Illinois and across the US rose sharply in recent years. Today, one in five Americans—about 53 million people, up from 43.5 million in 2015—is a caregiver. Unpaid caregivers, also known as family caregivers or informal caregivers, provide aid to at least one relative or friend who needs assistance due to a disease, disability, or other condition. Not surprisingly, in Illinois caregiver burnout—a feeling of emotional depletion—is also on the rise.” Source. www.forbes.com
If this sounds like you, we understand what you’re going through. After all, we’ve been there too! There are so many things about being a caregiver that are wonderful and fulfilling. The problem comes from how often these responsibilities take up most of our time and mental energy. This leaves us constantly on edge and generally exhausted by the end of the day.
However, many of us don’t have the option to “opt out” of caring for someone else. Whether it is for financial reasons, family, or personal reasons, it can easily begin to swallow us up and consume our lives. We want to make sure that you know how to handle the challenges ahead with grace and confidence. Below are some tips on how to prevent caregiver burnout at home or at work.
Be Aware of the Signs of Burnout
This may sound way too simple, but knowing what burnout looks like ahead of time can save you a lot of internal suffering. You might not be able to prevent burnout entirely, but if you know what it looks like, you’ll be able to step in and do something about it before you get too overwhelmed. The signs you’re experiencing burnout include feeling stressed and exhausted, having trouble sleeping, feeling disconnected from others, losing your sense of humor, and — in extreme cases — feeling like you might snap and lose your temper. A sense of hopelessness, A feeling of incompetence as a caregiver If any of these feelings sound familiar, take a step back and ask yourself if you’ve got too many responsibilities on your plate. If you do, take the time to evaluate where you can cut back so you don’t burn out completely.
Take Care of Yourself, Even When It Seems Impossible
One of the best ways to prevent caregiver burnout is to take care of yourself by setting boundaries and practicing self-care. This doesn’t mean that you’re being selfish, but rather that you’re making space for yourself to refuel and recharge. You need to take time out to take care of yourself, especially if you’re feeling exhausted or stressed and overwhelmed. However, it can be hard to find the time and energy to do this, especially if you’re in the thick of caring for someone else. There is often shame and guilt associated with feeling as though we need a break from caring for someone, or people in a professional setting. The truth is, being honest with yourself will prevent causing more long-term damage to your mind, body and soul. If this sounds like you, try finding ways to sneak in moments for yourself. Keep in mind, self-care, and time for you is not always about quantity but rather quality. Try stealing a few minutes away at the end of the day to read a book or listen to music. You can also try meditating or doing yoga to help you relax and de-stress. – Go for a walk, either alone or with a good friend who makes you laugh. or take. Taking a 30-minute time out to sit quietly in the park and observe your thoughts, ground yourself and absorb some much-needed vitamin D is also a great way to sneak in some self-care. Studies have shown that short walks can have a very positive impact on a person’s mood, energy, and overall health.
Set Boundaries for Yourself and Others
As we mentioned above, setting boundaries is one of the best ways to prevent caregiver burnout. It’s important that you don’t become a martyr for your loved one and their care. You need to be there for them, but you also need to take care of yourself. In fact, your mental health is just as important as your loved one’s physical health. Just because you’re a caregiver doesn’t mean you have to give up your hobbies, interests, and passions. In fact, it’s important to keep these aspects of your life alive. Have realistic expectations
It’s impossible to eliminate all stress, but you can minimize the effect it has on you.
Don’t let the fact that you’re feeling stressed cause you even more stress. Anytime you can put that load of stress down will help, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
Exercise and Move Your Body
Exercising and moving your body can help you to feel better both mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. It’s been shown that exercising regularly can relieve stress and make you feel calmer and more relaxed. It can also improve your sleep, help you to avoid depression, and increase your overall self-confidence and self-worth. All these things are crucial for preventing caregiver burnout. So, when you have time, try to fit in a workout of some sort. It doesn’t have to be a serious fitness regimen — it can be something as simple as going for a walk. It can be as simple as taking a nice long walk every day.
Make Time for Friends and Family
Caregivers are often isolated and can get caught up in the day-to-day of caring for their loved one. This can make you feel lonely and like you have no one to turn to. It can also contribute to feelings of stress and can lead to caregiver burnout further down the line. One of the best ways to prevent this is to make time for friends and family members. This doesn’t mean you have to see them every day, but you should try to make it a point to spend time with them as often as you can. You don’t have to talk about your day-to-day responsibilities too much but having someone to talk to and confide in can make a huge difference.
Being a caregiver is not an easy task, but it is a job that requires a lot of love and patience. In fact, it takes a special kind of person to do this kind of work, and we admire and respect anyone who steps into this role. If you’re experiencing caregiver burnout, don’t panic. Instead, try some of these tips to help prevent this from happening. Remember, you deserve to take care of yourself and love yourself as much as you love and care for your loved one. For more information on how Lyndsey Johnsen Holistic Therapy can help you prevent or manage Caregiver Burnout in the state of Illinois, please call or email.