Providing care for a loved one is an admirable and rewarding vocation that strengthens bonds between family members and friends. Offering this necessary care, however, can take its toll on the caregiver as time passes. As a result, people can find that they start to suffer from caregiver burnout.
To restore yourself and your well being, as well as ensure that you can give the best care possible, there are several actions that you can take to look after yourself and prevent this from happening. The first step is to be able to recognize the signs of caregiver burnout and the effect it can have on you.
What is caregiver burnout?
Caregiver burnout is a situation that occurs when care providers find themselves overwhelmed with the demands of daily life. Many caregivers are trying to help a family member with complex needs, as well as handle everyday activities and assist other members of the household. This can result in their own needs becoming a low priority, which in turn can affect their health both physically and mentally.
There are only so many hours in the day, which means that caring for a member of the family who needs special care and attention can be a demanding task. As such, it is important to carve out time for yourself and ensure that you are taking good care of your mind and body to feel the best that you can.
How can I spot caregiver burnout?
Caregiver burnout can take several different forms, depending on each individual. However, the first sign is that you might find yourself suffering from a lack of energy due to your busy schedule. This can be particularly debilitating for a caregiver, as you are trying to look after not only yourself, but another loved one as well.
You may also find that you are dealing with anxiety and troubling thoughts, which can dramatically reduce your quality of life. On the other hand, you might also just be putting your own needs last and neglecting your body and overall well being.
Fortunately, once you've recognized that you might be suffering from these common effects of caregiver burnout, you can begin to remedy the situation.
How can I take steps to prevent burnout?
The best way to avoid finding yourself burnt out and drained is to recognize early on when you need to take some time for yourself. Some caregivers might view self-care as selfish or unnecessary, but taking time for yourself is actually one of the best ways to help yourself feel rejuvenated and thus provide the best possible care for your loved one.
Just as you provide excellent care for others, it's important to ask for help when you need it. You might be surprised by how many people around you are available and happy to help with one or more tasks to free up some time for you to relax. It's also important to allow yourself to build up a reliable support network – there's no shame in having assistance, as you will know as a caregiver yourself.
How can self care help with burnout?
One of the best ways to avoid becoming overwhelmed is to ensure that you give yourself adequate breaks during the day. You can stop for a coffee and a snack, or enjoy an activity that you like for an hour or so — such as cycling, reading or going for a quick walk outside to get a breath of fresh air.
When you're a caregiver, it can be easy to lose yourself in the act of supporting another person. That's why it's important to take the time to enjoy activities that are meaningful and unique to you. These can be especially restorative and help you to provide even better care for your loved one afterward.
How else can I get support as a caregiver?
At Tea and Toast, we specialize in helping families find exactly the right care for their loved ones. Selecting the right retirement home is crucial in helping families stay connected, as well as freeing up time for family members to enjoy each other's company in a safe, secure and supported environment.
If you would like more information about how Tea and Toast can help you as a caregiver, contact us at 613-698-1319 or fill out our contact form at https://www.teaandtoast.ca/contact.