Caregiver burnout is a serious issue, as it can significantly decrease the quality of life for both the caregiver and the people for whom they provide care. Burnout leaves the caregiver vulnerable to a wide range of physical and emotional problems that can affect both the quality and quantity of care they provide.
Use the “Three Rs” method
Many caregivers use the “Three Rs” approach to avoiding caregiver burnout, which are:
- Recognize – keep on the lookout for signs of stress and burnout
- Reverse – undo the damage resulting from stress
- Resilience – take care of your physical and emotional health to reduce the damage caused by stress
Recognize the signs of caregiver burnout
Burnout is a gradual process that causes predictable physical, emotional and behavioral warning signs to develop slowly. Because burnout does not happen overnight, the warning signs are often subtle at first and become more noticeable over time. Physical signs include feeling tired or sick all the time, frequent headaches and changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Self-doubt, sense of failure, loss of motivation and a negative outlook are emotional signs of burnout. Behavioral signs include withdrawal from responsibilities, social isolation, procrastination and even substance abuse.
Schedule time for yourself every day
Make time to recharge yourself. Do yoga, go for a walk or see a movie. If you find it difficult to carve out time in the middle of your day, try getting up 15 minutes earlier and doing some simple stretching exercises, meditating, reading or writing in a journal. Starting the day in a relaxed mode can set the overall tone of the day. Many caregivers desire to do the best they can, which can be taxing on their own personal health and needs. Ignoring your own human needs and desires will quickly lead to burnout.
Develop a healthy lifestyle
Eat well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. A healthy lifestyle gives you the strength and resilience you need to deal with the hassles and demands of your everyday life.
Learn to say “no” to requests, especially those which require substantial time or resources. Caregivers tend to be accommodating in nature, but caregivers who overextend themselves are at greater risk for developing caregiver burnout. Saying “no” to some requests allows you more time to say “yes” to projects that really matter to you.
Learn to recognize the signs of caregiver burnout so you can take early action–before burnout has a chance to turn into a serious problem. Contact us for more information about how we can help you.