Protect Yourself From Caregiver Burnout
Caregivers are individuals who care about the physical and emotion well-being of another person. Whether that is a family member, friend or stranger, caregivers are there to nurture those who are unable to do so themselves. It is a selfless act to care for those as they begin to show signs of decline. Taking on this task may not be easy and may lead to burnout, but the satisfaction that happens in taking care of others is worth the hard work. Prolonged exhaustion and stress that happen in this job can cause burnout. Taking the necessary steps to keep yourself physically and mentally aware, will allow you to prevent burnout early on.
Caregiver burnout is when you’re physical, mentally, and emotionally exhausted as a result of not focusing on yourself while giving care to another. Putting yourself in a situation where you’re taking on too many responsibilities without giving yourself some time to recoup can impact your mental state in a negative way. If you find yourself in a situation where you realize that you have been consistently experiencing fatigue, stress, anxiety, and possibly depression, then you may have reached a point of burnout. If you’re going to take on caregiving responsibilities, being aware of the signs of burnout and how to prevent it are critical.
There are many things that can cause this burnout to occur, meaning you’re going to need to be prepared to look at situations objectively. Role confusion and unreasonable demand can create personal disappointment and lack of confidence within a caregiver. When you’re trying to establish how to be both a caregiver and daughter/son, the lines could become blurred leaving the opportunity for stress to creep in. Ensuring you have taken the proper steps to lay out how you’re going to tackle the role while still being the loved one’s family member at the same time is important. As humans, we’re prone to get ahead of ourselves by overloading schedules and trying to fit in everything without taking a second to breathe. Setting unrealistic demands and expectations for yourself can lead to an easy failure. The other side of this narrative includes the loved one putting pressure on you to meet specific goals and expectation. It can create stress for a caregiver when they are trying to follow through with each and every request. These are real concerns to be aware of when transitioning into this role for a loved one.
To prevent the chances of this happening to you, finding mechanisms of prevention and self-love are vital. You can start with the mentality that it’s okay to ask for help from others in your life and theirs. If you’re not able to provide a specific type of support for them, reach out to a senior living community, home health care service or someone who can do what you’re unable to. Instead of bogging yourself down with the expectation that you’re expected to complete everything and more, set reachable goals. By doing this you will be able to celebrate the small wins and successfully keep your confidence up rather than feeling discouraged. As a caregiver, you are going to take in a lot of added emotions, and it is important to seek out counsel and have someone who is supporting you.
Taking care of your loved ones is a compassionate act. However, positively supporting yourself, setting reachable goals, and asking for additional support through it is important for both of you. If you’re getting too overwhelmed and feeling unmotivated to keep going every day, that could be detrimental to the loved one and yourself. Taking the steps to become the best version of yourself, allows you to truly support your loved one.