It can be extremely overwhelming taking care of a loved one, especially if you don't have control over the situation. If permitted, the situation can take a toll on your relationships, health, and overall state of mind. Eventually, this leads to what is known as caregiver burnout. This makes it difficult to do anything at all, including taking care of the one person you are supposed to be caring for. Read on for signs of burnout and how to tackle it.
Signs of Caregiver Burnout
Taking care of an ill loved one is demanding, which can lead to stress. If you aren't careful, your own well-being and health are at great risk. You can't care for your loved one if you are ill yourself. So, it is important to recognize the signs of burnout so you can deal with it.
- Withdrawal – You may have no desire to see your friends, family, or just anyone at all. You will likely stop partaking in activities and events that you once held dear to your heart.
- Changes in Eating Habits/Sleeping Patterns – You may have noticed that you aren't eating enough or eating too much, resulting in a loss or gain of weight. You may also have noticed that you are having trouble falling asleep at night, waking up multiple times during the night, or difficulty getting up in the morning.
- Anger – You may have noticed that you are on edge lately, resulting in more of a temper with others, including your loved one. Your anger is towards your loved one mainly because you are sacrificing your life for them.
How to Get Back on Track
As a caregiver, your life is pretty busy taking care of a loved one and free time probably seems impossible. However, it is very importable that you make some time for yourself – for your sake as well as the person that you are taking care of. You need to find time to rest and enjoy the things that you love. You will feel more focused and energetic. Here are some things to help you get back on track when you feel like you are experiencing caregiver burnout:
- Make Yourself Laugh – Laughter is one thing that has the ability to reduce stress without much effort, and it doesn't take much to do it. There are many ways that you can laugh – watch a funny movie, read a funny book, call a friend that you know can make you laugh, or head out to a local comedy bar for a short while.
- Pamper Yourself – While you may not have time to spend an entire day or weekend at the spa, you can indulge in some small spa-related luxuries. For example, get a manicure and/or pedicure or light some candles, throw in a bath bomb, and take a long, hot bath. Request a back massage from your significant other.
- Do What You Love – Everyone has certain hobbies that they enjoy doing. Find some time to do them. This may be gardening, reading, knitting, playing/watching sports, or something else entirely. Just make time for them.
For more information, contact your local in-home elder care service.