Caregivers, don't forget that self care is just as important as the care you give your loved one.
Taking on the role of caregiver for a sick family member is a generous and noble decision – it can also leave you exhausted, stressed out and overly emotional. Caregiver burnout is unfortunately all too common. In order to give the best care possible for your loved one, you need to take care of yourself first. Look for the signs of burnout, which include:
- Unpredictable emotions – Are you laughing one minute, furious the next, and finishing off with a grand finale of tears? You're not going crazy; you're pushing yourself too far.
- Trouble sleeping – One of the most common symptoms of stress is tossing and turning through the night, even when you're thoroughly exhausted.
- A weakened immune system – If you're suffering from cold after cold, something isn't right. You need to start taking care of yourself, and that means finding time to relax and rest your body.
If you're a victim of burnout, it's time to find help. Depending on your situation and needs, this can mean different things. Some ideas might be:
- Sharing your duties with someone else. You can't be the only caregiver in your loved one's life. Find other family members or friends who don't mind helping out. Use your extra time just for you.
- Joining a caregiver support group. You may benefit from having a safe place to share your struggles, vent your frustrations, and receive encouragement from people who understand.
- See a counselor. If your burnout leads to depression or anxiety that you can't seem to shake off, you may need to schedule some time for yourself with a professional to get back on track.
Caregivers, when you need help, we're here for you. Whether you have a healthcare question, you need a recommendation for a support group, or you'd like a physician referral, our free Consult-a-Nurse® service will point you in the right direction. Contact us anytime at (305) 285-2929.