Taking care of someone is rewarding, but equally demanding. If at present, you are taking care of someone, you would know that caregiving is a physically and emotionally laborious process.
In the first place, their unfortunate circumstances put their family and friends in turmoil. What follows is an eternal state of distress, confusion, and despondency. Under these circumstances, when everything seems to be falling apart, it is easy for the caregiver to succumb to caregiver burnout- a state of physical, emotional, and mental enervation.
How Caregiver Burnout Affects You?
If you are experiencing a sense of constant exhaustion- physical, mental, as well as emotional, you are suffering from caregiver burnout.
In this condition, a sense of negativity always lingers over the caregiver bringing about a noticeable change in their attitude towards the person in need. If you are under the spell of caregiver burnout, your otherwise caring attitude towards the person receiving care will change to an extent where you will have instances where you feel and maybe act hostile towards them.
Sometimes burnout reaches a point where a constant feeling of guilt may seep into your mind whenever you notice these negative feelings. All in all, burnouts leave you stressed, anxious, and depressed.
Signs and Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout
Burnout occurs when you fail to get the help that you are in dire need of or try to do beyond your caliber- physically, emotionally, or financially.
Here is how you recognize caregiver burnout:
- You start to lose interest in the activities that once brought joy to you.
- You get withdrawn from your family and friends.
- You always feel irritable, helpless, and hopeless.
- You lose your appetite.
- You experience a change in your weight and sleep pattern.
- You always feel lethargic and emotionally drained.
- You want to hurt yourself or the person in need.
- You fall sick more often.
- You are never at ease, even when someone else is taking care of the person in need.
- You feel impatient and dissatisfied.
- You feel like you are losing control over your life.
How to Prevent Caregiver Burnout?
Taking care of someone is a true blessing but it takes no time for things to run out of hands. Your love and care for them may change into malevolence. Hence, it is equally important for you to take care of yourself just like you take care of the person in need.
Here is how you can avoid caregiver burnout:
Seek a Trustworthy Companion
To channel all the negativity that is sabotaging your feeling of love and care towards the person, you need a faithful ear. Find someone- a friend, family member, neighbor, or colleague, in whom you can lay your trust and talk about everything- your feelings, insecurities, and frustrations.
More often than not, disapproving the reality gives birth to caregiver burnout. The more you lie to yourself, the more you fall into the trap of burnout.
If your loved one is suffering from any progressive disease, accept that things may not possibly return to normal.
Accepting the truth isn’t just going to help you, but also help the person in your care.
Taking a break will not make you a bad caregiver. You need some time to recharge yourself too. Do the things you enjoy. Brush off all the worries from your head and rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.
If you cannot afford a long break, keep at least one hour to yourself every day.
Seek professional help
Several therapists and social workers provide necessary guidance to the people dealing with caregiver burnout. Reach out to them and sort your emotional issues.
Many local organizations extend help so that the caregivers can take some time off.
Take care of yourself
You can help someone only if you are fit enough to offer care and assistance. So, take care of yourself. Eat good, sleep well, and exercise at least 3 to 5 times a week.
Family and friends are blessings bestowed upon us and if something bad happens to them, everyone suffers. If you are taking care of someone, you need to stay in your best shape to be of good use to them. So, take care of yourself, not because you’re selfish, but because you’re selfless.