Caregiver burnout is often overlooked in caregiving. Because of this, a lot of caregivers aren’t even aware that they’re experiencing burnout.
Caregiver burnout comes out in many forms. It may be a lack of sleep, increased agitation towards your loved ones, more vices, or a feeling that you never have enough energy to help your loved one or yourself.
Almost every caregiver is going to experience burnout at some point in their caregiving journey. And that’s okay. What matters is how you recover and move on.
Let’s take a look at how you can recuperate from a highly demanding job so you can get back to giving your loved ones the care they deserve and heal yourself in the process.
Take a Step Back
The first thing you should do when experiencing burnout symptoms is to take a step back and reach out for help. But first, you need to know what burnout symptoms look like.
Common signs of burnout include:
- Not enough energy for daily activities
- An unhealthy change in eating habits
- Difficulty sleeping
- Isolating yourself from loved ones
- Restlessness, anxiety, and anger
- Losing interest in activities you enjoy
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s time to take a step back.
Taking a step back often means reaching out for help. And if you’re to take anything away from this article, know that asking for help does not make you a bad caregiver.
Be open with friends and family about your burnout, or consider hiring professional help for those days when you need a break. In-home care doesn’t have to be every day either. It’s there for however much you need it.
Journaling helps establish a healthier relationship with yourself so you know what is causing your burnout and what steps are needed to prevent burnout in the future.
The University of Rochester Medical Center has some great tips to get you started with journaling:
- Set aside a few minutes every day to write
- Make it easy by keeping a pen and paper handy at all times or keep a journal on your smartphone
- Write or draw whatever feels right. Your journal doesn’t need to follow any structure. It’s your private place to express yourself.
Expressing yourself is a vital component of dealing with overwhelming emotions. Journaling is the most direct and accessible way to express yourself, but you can also do this through art forms such as creative writing, painting, pottery, dance and other channels to give yourself an outlet.
Journaling has been proven to reduce anxiety, develop awareness, regulate emotions, and help with emotional healing.
Meditation & Breath-work
Meditation and breath-work practices have become increasingly popular in Western culture recently. And for good reason. They are a quick and efficient tool for combatting stress and anxiety.
The word meditation has a weight to it that often makes it seem inaccessible. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
When done correctly meditation is simple and accessible to everyone. A great way to start is by setting aside five minutes a day, or even less, to relax and follow your breath.
You’ll likely be flooded with thoughts when you first start meditating (especially if you’re experiencing burnout) and that’s normal. Even the most experienced meditators have this happen to them. The key is to be aware of these thoughts, but not try to control them or get lost in them. Approach meditation with openness, not control.
If you’re struggling to get into meditation, breathwork can be a more efficient and direct way to deal with stress. Plenty of techniques exist to calm yourself in a matter of minutes.
For both meditation and breathwork, there are countless free apps and YouTube videos to get you started. The key for either of these will be to set aside just a few minutes a day to practice.
Connect with Others
A common caregiver burnout symptom is isolating yourself from others. You don’t have the energy to connect with people, or you’re agitated at everything and everyone from being overworked. Isolation will only increase your burnout by not having an outlet to discuss what you’re going through.
While journaling is one great method of expressing yourself, talking about your experiences with others will take it one step further on your journey to recovering from burnout.
Social isolation can quickly lead to depression and feeling even less energized. A strong support network will help you weather any storm no matter how overwhelming life gets.
Hiring Professional Help
Sometimes you can do everything right but still not have enough time to take care of yourself. As we said earlier, asking for help is a sign of strength, and hiring professional help can be a great way to ensure your loved one has the care they deserve.
In-home care brings professional caregivers to your door to deliver care in the comfort of your loved one’s home. One of in-home care’s greatest strengths is that it’s incredibly flexible and can be tailored to whatever you and your loved one’s needs are.
If you’re considering in-home care, contact Golden Care today for a free consultation. We take pride in being San Diego’s trusted source for in-home care.