Caregiver Burnout And Stress
Tips To Regain Your Hope, Optimism, And Energy
The demands associated with caregiving in Houston can be quite overwhelming, especially when you feel like you have little or no control over the situation or are in over your head. If the stress from caregiving is not checked, it can take a huge toll on your state of mind, relationships, and health and lead to caregiver burnout eventually. When you are feeling burned out, it can be difficult to do anything at all, let alone caring for someone else. This is why it is not a luxury to take care of yourself but is instead a necessity. There are numerous things that you can do is get the stress of caregiving under control and regain hope, joy, and a sense of balance into your life once again.
What is caregiver burnout?
What caregiver burnout refers to is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that is caused by the overwhelming and prolonged stress of caregiving. Although it can be quite rewarding to care for a loved one, it involves many stressors as well. And since caregiving is frequently a long-term challenge to contend with, the stress that is generated by it can be especially damaging. You might be faced with years or perhaps even decades worth of caregiving responsibilities. It may be especially discouraging when there is not any hope that your loved one will get better, or their condition is deteriorating gradually, despite all of your best efforts.
Symptoms and signs of caregiver burnout and stress
By learning how to recognize the signs and symptoms of caregiver stress, it will allow you to take the necessary steps to deal with the issue and prevent burnout. If you do recognize that you have reached your breaking point already, take action immediately. Once you have reached the point of burn out, caregiving is not a healthy option any longer for either the individual you are caring for or yourself, so that is why it is very important to look out for the warning symptoms and signs.
Common symptoms and signs of caregiver stress
- Irritability, depression, anxiety
- Feeling run down and tired
- Overreacting to minor issues
- Difficulty sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Worsening or new health problems
- Eating, smoking or drinking more
- Feeling increasingly resentful
- Reduced leisure activities
- Neglecting responsibilities
Common symptoms and signs of caregiver burnout
You have a lot less energy than before
You are exhausted constantly even after taking a break or sleeping
Your own needs are being neglected because you don’t care any longer or because you are too busy
Your life completely revolves around caregiving but does not give you much satisfaction
You have difficulties relaxing, even when there is help available
You are increasingly irritable and impatient with the individual you are caring for
You feel hopeless and helpless
While it will never be stress-free to care for a loved one, the following tips will help you reduce your burden, avoid the symptoms and signs of caregiver burnout, and provide your life with more balance.
Feel empowered to avoid caregiver burnout
The leading contributor to depression and burnout is feeling powerless. As a caregiver, it is a very easy trap to fall into, especially if you are feeling stuck in a caregiver role that you were not expecting to be in or feel helpless as far as changing things for the better. However, you are not powerless, no matter what the situation is. When it comes specifically to your state of mind, that is particularly true. You cannot always get extra physical help, money, or time that you want, but you always can get more hope and happiness.
Whenever you are faced with the burden of caregiving or the unfairness of your loved one’s illness, there is frequently the need of trying to make sense of the difficult situation and ask yourself “why?” However, you can end up spending a great deal of energy dwelling on situations that do not have clear answers and that you cannot change. Ultimately, you will not feel any better about them. So try to avoid getting into the emotional trap of searching for someone else to blame or feeling sorry for yourself.
Embrace your decision of being a caregiver
Acknowledge that, despite whatever burdens or resentments you might be feeling that you have made the conscious decision to provide care to your loved one. Focus in on the position reasons that are behind this choice. May you prove care in order to repay your parents for all of the care that they provided to you when you were growing up. Or perhaps it is due to the face of the examples you would like to set for your child or your personal values. Those meaningful and deep motivations can help to sustain you through those difficult times that you go through.
Search for a silver lining
Think about the various ways that caregiving has made you a stronger person or how it has brought you closer to the individual you are taking care of and to other members of your family.
Don’t allow caregiving to take over your entire life. It is easier to accept a difficult situation when other aspects of your life are rewarding. That is why it is so important to not allow caregiving to take over your entire existing. Be sure to spend time on things that provide you with purpose or meaning whether that is your family, your career, a favorite hobby or church.
Focus on those things that you can control
You cannot force your brother to help you more or gain extra hours in your day. Instead of stressing out over the things that you cannot control, focus instead on how you choose to react to a problem or situation.
Celebrate your small victories
Whenever you start to feel discouraged, make sure that you remind yourself that your efforts do matter. To make a difference doesn’t mean you must find a cure for your loved one’s illness. Don’t underestimate how important it is to make your loved one feel loved, comfortable and safe!
Get the appreciation that you need
When you feel appreciated it can go a very long way towards enjoying your life more and being able to accept a stressful situation. It has been shown by studies that caregivers who feel like they are appreciated experience improved emotional and physical health. Caregiving makes them feel healthier and happier, despite all of the demands that come with it. What can you do when the person who you are caring for can no longer show or feel appreciation for your efforts and time?
One thing you can do is imagine what your loved one’s response would be if they were still healthy. If they weren’t preoccupied with pain or illness (or disabled due to dementia), what would your loved one feel about all of the care and love you are giving to them? Remind yourself that if they could, your loved one would express gratitude.
Praise your own efforts
If you are not receiving external validation, look for ways to reward and acknowledge yourself. Remind yourself of all the things you are doing to help. If you need to have something more tangible, make a list of all of the different ways that your caregiving is truly making a difference in your loved one’s life. Refer to your list anytime you start feeling low.
Since her childhood days, Angela has already admired those people who give primary care to the oldies. Because of her passion towards elders, she decided to take Physical Therapy in college which specializes in rehabilitation for the elders. During her free time, she writes in her journal about the different moments she had with the elders that she loves most.