The responsibilities of caregiving can certainly be stressful and can take serious tolls on your mental and physical state. Although caring for a loved one can be very satisfying for the person, it can also create many stressful issues as well. The added work and finances can certainly cause someone to burn out and put their own health at risk.
Signs and Symptoms of Burn Out
Once someone takes on the responsibility of caregiving, they are also accepting the fact that their loved one might never get better. You cannot adequately take care of someone else if you are not taking care of yourself. Managing your own stress while learning when to take time for yourself is ultimately the best for who you are caring for as well. Neglecting your own needs and wants can cause a variety of different symptoms including anxiety, depression and irritability.
Listed below are some of the signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout:
- Becoming sick more frequently
- Impatience & irritability
- Feeling helpless & hopeless
- Neglecting your own needs
The first step in preventing yourself from burning out is seeking help. It is unhealthy and unnecessary to carry all the weight on your shoulders. Below are some tips to seek help with caregiving:
- Do not be afraid to ask friends and family members for help with errands.
- Involving other people can distribute the workload, giving you a chance to rest and take care of your needs.
- Start getting in the habit of saying ‘yes’ when someone offers to help. Not only will they feel good helping you, but it gives you a chance to distribute the smaller tasks, enabling more time for yourself.
- Most importantly, learn when to take a break and take care of yourself, even if that means setting aside 30 minutes so you can do whatever it is that you enjoy.
- Get out of the house and share your time with your friends! Interacting with others can help give your mind a break from the constant caregiving.
Take Care of Yourself
It is not uncommon for caregivers to struggle with their loved one’s situation. Try not to spend too much time dwelling on what you cannot control. It is so common to try and make sense of an unfortunate situation. If you do find yourself emotionally stressed from the situation, make sure to speak with your friends or a therapist about it. Join a support group in order to find people who are going through similar experiences as you.
Most importantly, when taking on the responsibility of caregiving, it is so important to take care of your own health. Remember to stay on top of your own doctor appointments, incorporate exercise into your routine, eat and sleep well. Find time in your busy schedule to do what you love to do, and ultimately, you will be the best caregiver you can be.