March 2017

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prevent caregiver burnout

Caring for someone who is chronically ill or who has mobility issues is a labor of love. However, the desire to do your best for a loved one needing care can lead to burnout. Unfortunately, burnout is very common among people who are long-term caregivers. How can you prevent burnout if you are a caregiver? What can you do if you notice the first signs of burnout?

The Signs of Caregiver Burnout

Sometimes, it can be difficult to notice the early signs of burnout. Caregivers are usually so caught up in caring for an ill person that they forget about themselves. The first sign of caregiver burnout could be something as simple as someone making a comment that you have been looking very tired lately.

There are a few general signs of caregiver burnout:

  • Increase in smoking or alcohol consumption
  • Having to rely on medication to get through the day or fall asleep
  • Starting to put on extra weight because of overeating
  • Can’t remember the last time you had some fun

If you are a long-term caregiver and you have noticed some of these symptoms, then it’s important to seek extra help.

How to Stop Caregiver Burnout and Prevent it

Here are some practical ways that you can stop burnout if you have been feeling stressed caring for someone. These tips can also help you prevent suffering from burnout in the future.

Enjoy a healthy lifestyle

It is a known fact that enjoying a healthy diet and regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent stress and burnout. Make sure that you take brisk walks or engage in regular exercise 3-4 times a week. You will immediately feel better and it will also help with sleeping.

Confide in a friend

The old adage that a “problem shared is a problem halved” is certainly true if you have burnout. Talking about your feelings to a trusted friend may help put things in perspective and feel better. If you don’t have a friend to turn to, look for support groups or helplines in your area.

Relax your mind

Stress, negative thoughts and anxiety can build up in your mind and make coping with the long-term caring even more difficult. So, make sure and force your mind to relax and take a break from thinking about your caregiving duties.

There are many helpful resources on the Internet that can teach you stress-relief techniques. For example, even just controlling your breathing and visualizing calm scenes can help to prevent burnout.

Think of yourself

Remember, you can’t be of any use to anyone if you need care yourself. So, you need to remember that your own health is of utmost importance. If you have to take time out, take a break, or change your priorities to keep your mental balance, then you must do that.

Caregiving is a rewarding experience and a way to ease the pain of a loved relative. However, to continue doing that, you need to prevent burnout and look after your own health.

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