While Caring for Others, Don’t Forget About Yourself

What is Caregiver Burnout?

By definition, caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. There can many factors that contribute this problem. Caregiver burnout most commonly occurs when someone caring for another feels guilty for taking any time to actually care for themselves.

Symptoms and Causes to Look Out For

As with anything, caregiver burnout may look and feel differently for every individual. Ultimately you’re going to want to look out for key indicators that you’d typically see in depression. The physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that come with caregiver burnout can weaken your immune system causing you to get get sick more often. While being exhausted would typically lead to better sleep, not in the case of caregiver burnout. Many caregivers turn to alcohol or sleeping medications to try and help with that shuteye, unfortunately that can typically exacerbate the problem. Other key things to look out for are changes in appetite, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, or feeling withdrawn from friends or family.

What Causes Caregiver Burnout?

The most common cause is called role confusion. Role confusion is something that we see a lot when someone is thrust into this new role. When you’re a spouse, lover, child, or friend, that instant forced adjustment into your new role as a caregiver can be extremely difficult. Other causes include lack of control over finances or resources needed for your new role, taking on too much, and placing unreasonable demands upon yourself.

How to Prevent Caregiver Burnout

Now that we know what it is and how to look out for it, let’s take a look at the most important part, how to prevent! There are so many things you can do, large and small, that will really make a difference in your mental and physical state, thus allowing you to provide better care to your patients or loved ones.

– Have a friend, co-worker, or family member that you trust and can confide in to talk about how you’re feeling.
– Keep your caregiving goal realistic, there are some things that will simply be out of your control.
– Be realistic about the disease or illness you’re helping your loved one deal with.
– Don’t ever forget about yourself while providing care to another. Your health is equally as import.
– Talk to a professional therapist if needed and take their advice on how you personally can improve.

If at any point you think your role as a caregiver is becoming too much to handle, reach out for professional help! there are home health services like Arosa that can provide care management and caregiving full time, part time, or even just on occasion to give yourself that much needed break. Don’t be afraid to reach out, and take care of yourself!

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