Tuesday Tips for Caregivers ~Facing Fatigue? How to Handle Caregiver Burnout

Facing Fatigue: How to Handle Caregiver Burnout

Being a family caregiver is a long-term commitment. People on average live longer than they did in the past, and aging comes with new sets of health challenges that do not necessarily exist at younger ages. Many adult children take on the responsibility of caregiving, especially if they cannot afford the costs of hiring a professional caregiver full-time. In this blog, we want to discuss a common symptom many family caregivers experience: caregiver burnout. This term means experiencing fatigue due to the challenges and responsibilities of caregiving. We argue that no caregiver should burn themselves out since this can be detrimental to their health, as well as the health of their aging loved one. If you are a family caregiver, then follow these tips below to avoid caregiver burnout.

Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout

The first step to addressing caregiver burnout is to understand the symptoms and experiences of it. According to WebMD, common symptoms include withdrawal from friends and family, depression, sleep issues, changes in appetite, feeling emotional and physical exhaustion, and feeling irritable.[1] If you are feeling any of these symptoms, then you may be experiencing caregiver burnout and fatigue. We urge you to pay attention to these feelings and follow the tips below to help.

Healthy Habits

The primary way to address feelings of fatigue and burning out are changes in lifestyle and mindset. Follow these suggestions:

(1)  Compartmentalize: Your role as a caregiver is separate from other roles you have, like a spouse or parent. Try to focus on what you can control in the moment. In other words, try to remember that you do not have to be in “caregiver mode” 24/7. Compartmentalizing your roles will allow you maintain a healthier balance and manage the relationships you have with other people.

(2) Sleep: One of the leading causes of fatigue and stress is lack of sleep. This is one of the worst things you can do for your mind, body, and spirit. Sleep is essential for sound mental and physical health. Adults need at least eight hours of sleep every night. So, be vigilant about getting to bed on time to reach this eight hour goal.

(3) Exercise: Do not live a sedentary lifestyle, especially if you have a lot of stressors in your life. Exercise or doing something active can help you feel great and is beneficial for your mental health, as well. All you need is at least 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity 2-3 times a week. Try to schedule in workouts like walking, jogging, or swimming. Before starting any exercise routine, consult with your physician, especially if you have any medical conditions.

(4) Socialize: Caregiving can often be a very solitary experience. To avoid feelings of loneliness, which can often contribute to feeling of sadness and depression, try to socialize once a week. Meet with friends and family that you enjoy being around and do something fun.

(5) Personal Time: We want to stress that personal time is not selfish. Taking time to care for yourself or even devoting a day or two per week to do things YOU enjoy is important for mental and emotional health.

Another way to avoid caregiver burnout is to find assistance, even if it is only for a few hours during the week. If you want to learn about hiring a professionally trained caregiver, then please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.

[1] Source: https://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/caregiver-recognizing-burnout#1

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