Here's a guest post from contributor Stephanie Lynch. If you feel you are close to burning out, read on! And if you are looking for ways to share the care, don't forget to explore online tools such as TYZE Personal Networks, Lotsa Helping Hands, Google Calendar and even private Facebook Groups. Chores, lists of help needed and offers of assistance offered can be posted 'virtually'. Thank you, Stephanie, for reminding us of healthy and balanced caregiving habits to keep us fit for the long haul!
6 Ways to Avoid Caregiver Burnout
Being a caregiver for someone is never easy. Since the job can feel overwhelming and unappreciated, it's easy to get burned out. However, if you know how to cope with this feeling, you can actually make the situation seem a lot better than it does now.
Signs of Burnout
Burnout isn't something as obvious as the flu and most of the time, caregivers will deny if they have the feeling in general. If you think you're experiencing burnout, here are some signs to look out for --
- · Always feeling pessimistic or down on yourself
- · No energy
- · Not interacting with your friends or family
- · Using medication or alcohol to relax
- · Becoming impatient or irritable
- · Weak immune system
- · No time for anything but caregiving
Since stress can lead to fatigue and depression, it's important that you take care of the problem as soon as possible. To do so, here are six ways to avoid burnout --
#1 Join a Support Group
In your area, there's a good chance that you can join a caregivers support group. These groups are going to be able to offer emotional support and advice on how to handle your situation. To find these groups, a quick internet search or call to your local physician can yield some results.
#2 Set Limits
You have to understand that you can only do so much for a loved one. If you feel that you're getting overwhelmed all the time, then it's probably time to cut back on some of your responsibilities. Try to think of things other people can help you with, such as bathing, taking them to doctor's appointments and so forth.
#3 Ask for Help
It's okay if you need to call for help if you can't take care of a situation or you're feeling stressed out. Create a list of people who you can call, such as a family member or friend. If no one on the list is able to help, consider talking with a local adult care service to help fill the void. Don't be afraid to ask for help!
TIP: If you can't be there for them at one point, consider a life alert device that they can use in case of an emergency. If you can afford it, also consider a webcam to monitor them while you're away.
Multiple studies have shown that those who don't get enough sleep at night can lead to problems throughout the day. If you're not getting more than eight hours of sleep, it's time to analyze your daily routine. If you're having a hard time sleeping, consider deep breathing exercises or consulting with your doctor.
#5 Enjoy Yourself
By creating a daily routine, this can give you the time to do things you love. For example, you could say that you're going to work from six to three and take a break from three to seven. During this time, you can do whatever you enjoy as a hobby. By incorporating a little joy in your life, you can ease your mind and hopefully alleviate some stress.
#6 Take Care of Your Health
If you provide your body with the right fuel, it can do wonders throughout the day. Every day, make an effort to exercise, meditate and eat a balanced meal. If you haven't done it in a while, also consider a visit to a doctor make sure you're in the proper shape.