Whether it’s your official job or you are just helping out, being a caregiver is rewarding. You sleep better at night knowing that you’re one of the few people making a difference in this world. More importantly, you are helping someone that cannot help themelves.
Caregiver Burnout Is A Real Problem
As you know, caregiving is a demanding task. Even if this is your paid job, you can experience times of stress, anxiety, and depression from time to time. Given how some situations are not going to get better over time, these feelings are normal. But if your stress level rises too high, you are going to crash and burn — and that’s not going to help anyone.
Burnout can be hard to notice in yourself because you’re more concerned about surviving each day. That’s why the AARP lists signs of burnout for those that provide care. You might find yourself quickly switching between anger and sadness or catching colds often. Many people facing burnout tend to be touchy, snapping at people over small things. Again, it makes sense that you don’t want to provide care on some days. But if this is your typical thought day after day, you are likely burned out.
Avoiding Caregiver Burnout
Then what can you do to prevent getting burned out like this? Health In Aging recommends that you focus your caregiving on teaching the person to help themselves. In a way, it’s tempting to just do everything yourself. That’s a form of giving care, after all. But this puts all the responsibilities on your shoulders, and that burden can be heavy.
Teach the person in your care how to do their own laundry, cook simple meals, and so on. While not every situation allows for such teaching, there are usually several tasks (even small ones) that people can do themselves.
Along the same lines, you need to find people to help you. Taking everything as your responsibility alone will quickly lead to burnout. Look for people to assist in providing careand go online to find a support network or group. Sometimes, you can avoid burnout simply by talking to people who understand your pressures and stress.
Creating A Stress-Free Home
Even with teaching some independence and working with others, you can still have some very stressful days. That’s why you also need to create a stress-free environment at home. By having a relaxing place to retreat from time to time, you can avoid burnout and stay healthy.
Redfin explains there are several ways to create a relaxing home environment. Start by decluttering your house, as simplicity in your rooms leads to relaxation and a calm mind. Add some plants, as nature has a positive effect on you. But you also need to eat right, get some exercise, and sleep well. Your physical health is tied to your mental health, so keeping healthy will help you have less stress at home.
Don’t Let Burnout Happen To You
You wouldn’t be a caregiver if it wasn’t so rewarding, but that doesn’t mean the job isn’t hard on you. To avoid burnout, work with others and teach independence. Then create a stress-free home so you have a place that heals you — and lets you get excited again about caring for others.
For more information visit http://eldersinaction.org