Are you caring for a loved one who is sick, recently got into an accident, or is a senior parent? Know that you can be at risk of developing caregiver burnout. But what is it exactly, and what can you do to prevent it?
Do you find yourself becoming easily frustrated, angry, or annoyed over little things? Is your own physical, mental, and emotional health declining? Do you often find yourself feeling guilty about not having enough time or money to care for your loved one? These are some of the common signs of caregiver burnout. Here are a few things that can help you pre-empt caregiver burnout so that you can take better care of your loved one and yourself:
Don’t hesitate to ask for help
Some caregivers are afraid to ask for help, as it makes them think that they are being a bad caregiver. Know that you don’t have to do this alone, especially if you have friends and other loved ones willing to lend a helping hand. This does not apply only to physical care but also finances. For instance, you’re caring for a family member who experiences brain trauma caused by someone else’s fault. You can always talk to a brain injury attorney in Los Angeles and see if they can get compensation for their injuries.
Always take care of yourself
Being a caregiver is never an excuse to neglect your own health and well-being. Who else can ensure the health and safety of your loved one if you get sick or depressed? Make sure that you also eat on time, catch up on sleep, get enough exercise, and keep yourself hydrated. Refrain from skipping your own doctor’s appointment just because you need to care for your loved one. Know that your health and wellness also matter.
Find enough time to enjoy yourself
Everyone deserves to enjoy a little “me time” every once in a while. You may think that you don’t have the luxury of time, but there are ways you can make this work. Know that even 15 minutes of me time can do wonders. You can do this by asking someone you trust to take over while you’re out running errands, reading a book, taking a nap, or just enjoying a cup of coffee. You can also opt to allot 15 minutes before bedtime or wake up early to dedicate some time just to be alone.
Find support from other people
We are social creatures, which is why we often find joy being with family and friends. So spend quality time with your other loved ones. Give yourself permission to go out with friends. Catch up with a loved one over brunch or enjoy a spa day with your best buddies. You can also join an online support group that can understand your situation as a caregiver.
According to statistics, there are more than 43 million caregivers out there who provide unpaid care to their loved ones. Paid or not, caregiving is never an easy role. Informal caregivers usually spend an average of 20 hours each week caring for their loved ones. About 40% of caregivers experience caregiver burnout. Know that you are not alone and that you deserve a break.