Making time to rest, relax, and recharge isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.
The demands of caregiving can be overwhelming, especially if you feel you have little control over the situation or you’re in over your head. If the stress of caregiving is left unchecked, it can take a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind, eventually leading to burnout. When you’re burned out, it’s tough to do anything, let alone look after someone else. That’s why making time to rest, relax, and recharge isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. When caregiver stress and burnout puts your own health at risk, it affects your ability to provide care. It hurts both you and the person you’re caring for. The key point is that caregivers need care too. Managing the stress levels in your life is just as important as making sure your client gets to his doctor’s appointment or takes her medication on time. Here are some tips to help you deal with caregiver burn out.
Dealing with caregiver stress & burnout tip 1: Ask for help
Taking on all of the responsibilities of caregiving without regular breaks or assistance is a surefire recipe for burnout. Don’t try to do it all alone. Call the office and ask for help. Whether you need to leave an hour early from work or take an entire personal day, the office can get your shift staffed and covered.
Dealing with caregiver stress & burnout tip 2: Give yourself a break
As a busy caregiver, leisure time may seem like an impossible luxury. But you owe it to yourself, as well as to the person you’re caring for, to carve it into your schedule. Give yourself permission to rest and to do things that you enjoy on a daily basis. You will be a better caregiver for it. Try to schedule 30 minutes a day just for yourself. Get out of the house, go for a walk, visit with friends, and make yourself laugh, or just share your feelings with a relative.
Dealing with caregiver stress & burnout tip 3: Practice acceptance
When faced with the unfairness of a loved one’s illness or the burden of caregiving, there’s often a need to make sense of the situation and ask “Why?” Try to avoid the emotional trap of feeling sorry for yourself or searching for someone to blame. Focus instead on accepting the situation and looking for ways it can help you grow as a person. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”
Dealing with caregiver stress & burnout tip 4: Take care of your health
Think of your body like a car. With the right fuel and proper maintenance, it will run reliably and well. Neglect its upkeep and it will start to give you trouble. Don’t add to the stress of your caregiving situation with avoidable health woes. Exercise, eat well, meditate, and don’t skimp out on sleep.