If you’re a caregiver to a loved one such as a family member, you may find yourself under heavy levels of stress, leading to feelings of burnout. Caregiver burnout can be a difficult concept to wrap your head around, especially because you’re caring for someone who seems to be worse off than you are. By taking steps to combat it, you can maintain emotional wellness and a healthy relationship with the loved one you’re caring for. Below are the 5 steps to combat caregiver burnout.
Identify Your Symptoms
While nobody experiences the process of burnout in the same way, caregiver burnout is typically characterized by the following:
- A sudden shift in attitude towards your loved one, typically in a negative way
- Social withdrawal from loved ones
- Feelings of irritability, exhaustion, helplessness
- Changes in eating and sleep habits
If you’re battling these problems, you’re likely to be experiencing caregiver burnout, and the best way to combat it is by coming to terms with your feelings of being burned out.
Coming to Terms with Caregiver Burnout
Being a caregiver puts you in a position of pressure to be strong and emotionally stable, even when you aren’t. Moreover, this could be accompanied by feelings of guilt for experiencing negative feelings as a caregiver. However, being able to accept your vulnerability is the first step to finding help for your situation, and curing your burnout. While you may not be able to show vulnerability in front of the loved one you’re caring for, you should permit yourself to express emotion in private or with a trusted person.
Engage in Self-Care
Being a caregiver can lead to your entire schedule and even life revolving around the loved one you’re caring for. It’s recommended that you make time to focus on yourself, rather than creating an unhealthy co-dependent relationship between you and the person you’re caring for. Self-care takes many different forms depending on the person: a good meal, a nice walk outside, it could be anything. For example, mindfulness exercises are effective for caregivers experiencing stress to enhance their well-being.
Seek Professional Help
Therapy is an effective way to cope with the emotional turmoil of being a caregiver. A professional therapist is trained to help you process your emotions, and explore healthy coping mechanisms with you. You can apply the newly-gained knowledge from these therapy sessions to help yourself become a healthier caregiver, making later occurrences of caregiver burnout in the future less likely.
Outsourcing Caregiving Responsibilities
If caregiving duties are becoming too much for you to emotionally cope with, it may be the healthiest choice for both you and your loved one to outsource caregiving responsibilities instead. Rather than viewing it as a failure on your part, consider it as an improvement, enlisting the help of professionals. Depending on the care your loved one requires, assisted living or memory care communities are open to taking such responsibilities off your plate.
If you’re looking for a team of devoted caregivers to take over your duties, our retirement community at TerraBella Hillsborough welcomes your loved one with open arms! Consider looking at our senior living options for how we can support you and your loved one to make the transition to outsourced care.