How To Master Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver Burnout

Caregiver burnout, when a loved one wants no one else

Caregiver burnout is very serious.  The task of caregiving is a 24×7 job and it can really get overwhelming at times. Being the primary caregiver is a really difficult task. And often takes a toll on the health of the caregiver. Stress, anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, and fear are some of the common feelings experienced by the caregiver. All of these eventually leads to caregiver burnout. Which is certainly not helpful for the caregiver and the concerned loved one.  If you are experiencing burnout, you will not be able to give the best care.

Signs of stress 

It is important to realize, caregiving is not an easy task. Also, it is necessary that we acknowledge the fact that, the job of caregiving takes a toll on your health. And that you should oblige yourself by recognizing the early signs of stress. Recognizing the early signs and symptoms of stress can help you take effective and realistic steps to reduce stress. And thereby prevent the problem of burnout. The following list should be helpful for you to recognize the early signs of stress and caregiver burnout.
 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Tiredness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty in falling asleep
  • Reacting to even small nuisances
  • Not taking part in leisure activities
  • You begin neglecting your responsibilities
  • More irritated than usual
  • Suffering from new health problems or worsening of the existing one

Signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout

  • Feeling tired often and you have less energy
  • Poor immunity and you seem to catch an infection quite often
  • You get exhausted even after getting proper sleep
  • Having feelings of worthlessness and helplessness
  • You don’t care about your needs any longer and gradually begin neglecting yourself
  • No longer able to relax even if you have help
  • The task of caregiving now gives you little satisfaction
  • You become impatient and irritated with your elderly
 
The above-mentioned signs and symptoms describe caregiver burnout. It is necessary that you recognize these warning signs. And take steps to prevent the condition from deteriorating further.

Causes of caregiver stress and caregiver burnout

Caregiver burnout is a very serious issue. Address the problem as soon as signs and symptoms show up. Learning the causes of caregiver burnout can help take the necessary steps to prevent further problems. The following factors lead to caregiver stress and burnout.
  • Fear

One of the biggest causes of caregiver stress is fear. The caregiver feels that they cannot help their elderly is suffering from. The uncertainty that their loved one will not recover with the given treatment. This is a major cause of extreme stress on the caregiver.
  • Continuous demands and associated isolation

The job of caregiving requires you to be available round the clock. Especially if you are caring for a terminally ill patient. There are continuous demands and you may find that you have little to no time left for yourself, friends or social activities. This kind of situation makes you lonely, and in turn, creates the way for stress.
  • Pressure

The task of caring for a full–time patient can be pressurizing. And make you feel that the entire responsibility is on your shoulder.  Trying to hold it all together and maintaining everything can put a lot of stressful pressure on you as a caregiver.
 
All the above-mentioned factors are a source of considerable stress on the part of the caregiver. However, there are many ways by which you can reduce caregiver stress and burnout.

Effective ways of dealing with caregiver stress and burnout

Caregiver stress and burnout have become a common issue. Because of the little attention caregivers give to their health. The task of caregiving is not a one-day affair. But, a long-term challenge, that can create a great deal of stress on the part of the caregiver. Long-term unattended stress can lead to caregiver burnout. Which can be extremely damaging for the caregiver. The following steps can go a long way in helping our caregivers deal with stress and prevent burnout.
  • Recognize signs of stress

Recognize the warning signs of stress in the initial stages. Stress symptoms when ignored can take a very bad shape after a certain period.
  • Give yourself a break

Do yourself a favor and take some time out for yourself. Caregiving is an around the clock job. However, when your loved one is taking a nap, you can take 10–15 minutes and indulge in some exercises, or other pleasurable activities.  Make laughter a part of your break. Learn to let go of what you cannot control and be at ease about it.  Watching funny shows on TV, reading comics or cracking a joke can pump out those endorphins that will trigger happiness and help you feel better.  This will help you release your stress levels.
  • Fatigue

Being fatigue is the signs our body gives, to say that it needs rest. So, whenever you feel fatigued, it is necessary to rest and listen to your body.  Fatigue can cause major health problems and you should find healthy alternatives to deal with it.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal

Eating a proper diet at the right time helps in keeping your body functioning in the right manner. Get a proper dose of fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats such as fish, olive oil, as well as sources of lean protein. This will help give your body the proper fuel it needs to function.
  • Get proper sleep

Getting proper sleep is important for carrying out all tasks effectively. If you compromise on your sleep to do more work, you would gradually end up getting irritated, frustrated, agitated, and stressed out.
  • Visit doctor

A visit to the doctor becomes necessary when you are not feeling well. You need to appreciate the fact that, when you are not in good health, you cannot take proper care of your loved one. Therefore, put your health first, and pay a visit to the doctor whenever you are not feeling well. Timely treatment will help you recover faster.
  • Ask for help

The task of caregiving cannot be always accomplished alone. And the greatest benefits can come only when done as teamwork. As a caregiver, you are not expected to act like a superhuman being. Therefore, whenever you are unable to achieve any task alone, or you feel you cannot be at several places at the same time. Then it is best to seek help from other members of the family or friends.
  • Set realistic goals

Setting realistic goals is important and it would help you achieve your tasks in a better way. However, the goals should also include your regular visits to the doctor. And take time to indulge in activities that you love to do.
  • Educate yourself

As much as possible educate yourself about the disease your loved one is suffering from. Ask the doctors, read journals, surf the internet to gather information about the disease. This will give you realistic ideas about the progression of the disease. And the benefit your patient can have from the treatment. On the other hand, by educating yourself, you would to a certain degree lessen your fear about the future.
  • Take advantage of support groups

Get connected to a support group. By joining support groups, you would be able to share your troubles and experiences with fellow caregivers. This will give you a sense of satisfaction and you would realize that you aren’t the only one going through all this.

Conclusion for all caregivers

For all the caregivers out there, I massively appreciate that you are doing a wonderful job. The job of caregiving is never an easy one. And it really takes patience, perseverance, pain, love, and compassion. The task of caring for someone you love, for someone who is not feeling well. And requires your attention and presence is undoubtedly a wonderful job. You often tend to give your 100% while caring for someone. Furthermore, under no circumstances should you neglect yourself while caring for someone. You need to realize that you can only care for your loved one, when you are healthy, both physically and mentally. Therefore, it becomes extremely necessary that you take good care of your health. And practice the above-mentioned steps to keep stress at bay.  For more information, check out this site.  Also, here is a past article that can help.  https://theultimatecaregivingexpert.com/2017/10/10/top-10-requirements-of-a-family-caregiver/
Caregiver Burnout

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