Caregiver Burnout: Signs of Caregiver Stress & How to Help Avoid Burnout

Caregiver Burnout - How to Help Avoid Caregiver Burnout

Many caregivers—maybe even you—can feel physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion related to caregiving. This is what health experts call caregiver burnout.

Caregiver burnout symptoms may include:

  • Tearing up or crying a lot
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Overreacting to minor problems
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Staying away from family and friends
  • Having trouble relaxing
  • Feeling angry more often than usual
  • Losing your temper with the person in your care

How to help avoid caregiver burnout:

Want to come back from—or avoid—caregiver burnout? Here are some tips.

Take some “me time.” Your emotional health is important. Doing something that helps you relax can boost your mood. It can be as simple as taking a quiet moment during the day. Also, keep doing the things you enjoy—for instance, hobbies such as gardening or favorite pastimes such as dancing or playing sports.

Make your health a priority. Keep your routine checkups, exercise when possible, eat healthy food (avoid downfalls, such as emotional eating), and get enough sleep. These are 4 key actions that can help you stay healthy.

Seek emotional support. Talk with family members, friends, and caregiver support groups about your feelings or frustrations. Check out caregiver support groups in your local community. And do not forget about therapists and counselors. They can offer ideas about how to deal with your feelings.

Stay informed. Learning hands-on caregiving skills, such as the proper way to help someone in and out of bed, can help prevent injuries or exhaustion that can lead to burnout. Physical or occupational therapists can be valuable resources for advice.

Look for time-savers. A little research can save time and frustration, so you can get important tasks done without added stress. For example:

  • Look for hairdressers or pet groomers who make house calls
  • Try these tips for grocery shopping:
    • Ask for a printed floor plan of the store in advance—it’ll save you or the person in your care time and energy when shopping.
    • Find out when the store is least crowded and try to shop then.
    • Keep a grocery list near the fridge. Update it when you run out of items. Better yet, you can give the list to a friend, neighbor, or family member—it’s an easy way to let them help.
    • Find a grocery store near you that offers home delivery. The store may charge a small fee, but what you save in terms of time and stress may make it worthwhile.

Consider respite care. Every caregiver needs a break from time to time, even if it’s only for a few hours. If the person in your care cannot be left alone, respite care services such as home health aides, adult day care, and overnight care at a facility, such as a nursing home, can help. Find respite care services in your area.

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