Recover from Caregiver Burnout

daughter and mother caregiverYou or someone you love may be the caregiver of an elderly, chronically ill or disabled loved one. Whether the care is given out of love, obligation, or for the sense of doing what’s right, most caregivers take on too much and are left feeling burnt out.

Being a caregiver can bring on financial stress, as well as disrupt family dynamics and regular day-to-day life. While caring for a loved one is important, it’s also important to prioritize your own care.

Signs of Caregiver Burnout:

  • Low energy
  • Fatigue
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Becoming impatient or irritable
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Lowered immune system

If you’re not fully taking care of your health, how can you expect to give the best care to someone else? If you notice a difference in your mental or physical health, it’s time to evaluate your situation and see what you can do to take better care of yourself.

Prevent Burnout with These Tips

  • Ask for help. If you’re feeling stretched thin, ask another family member or friend if they can help pitch in.
  • Take breaks. Make sure to schedule some downtime for yourself. Allow an extra 15 minutes in the morning to sit in silence with your coffee to relax before the day starts.
  • Check on family leave benefits. If your job offers family leave benefits, don’t be afraid to take advantage of the time off from work to provide care for your loved one and to get some much-needed time for yourself.
  • Take a vacation. Don’t let your life take a back seat. If the opportunity to have a mini getaway comes along, don’t turn it down. Either find another family member to temporarily take care of your loved one, or investigate temporary inpatient care at a nursing home so you can relax worry-free.

You can only provide good care if you take care of yourself first. Rather than pushing yourself to your limits, be sure to make time for self-care.

Related: Caregivers: Is the Home of Your Elderly Loved One Safe?

Join the conversation: As a caregiver, what’s one thing you’ll commit to doing for yourself this week?

  4 comments for “Recover from Caregiver Burnout

  1. Helen Lyon
    May 30, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    The part about the family leave is rather disingenuous. It is unpaid here at UMMC, and one has to prove what it is for such as appointments or hospitalization. It can’t be used for self care time. Since caregiving often comes with increased financial responsibilities, I feel is unlikely that many people will take family leave even if they need it.

    • UMass Memorial
      May 30, 2019 at 2:47 pm

      Thank you for your response. Simply Well is read far beyond just our Medical Center, and our hope is that people can inquire as to their own companies policies. But this is good information to know.

  2. Coral Grout
    May 30, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    This article really hit home. I have been a caregiver for the past 13 years it has become more difficult with time. I finally arranged for additional help for Mom. During the summer, I play golf one day a week and it helps.

    • UMass Memorial
      May 30, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      Best of luck to you. Keep up with the golfing 🙂

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