Sometimes caregivers, or those who are caring for the needs of others, can feel like they are at the end of their rope. Many refer to it as caregiver burnout or feeling burned out. If this sounds like you, here’s a lifeline.
4 Ways for Caregivers to Avoid Feeling Burned Out:
- Don’t be ashamed to ask for help; it doesn’t serve you or your loved one. Seek help from family, friends, your church community, professional caregivers, and local agencies. Type ‘caregiver support (your town)’ into your Internet search box to see what help is available near you. If you are caring for someone with a specific illness such as Alzheimer’s, look online for related organizations—in this case alz.org (Alzheimer’s Association).
- Schedule some time – on a calendar – for yourself. Arrange for someone else – a friend, family member, or professional caregiver – to provide respite care for you. We sometimes get lost in the person we are caring for and start to lose ourselves and get burned out. Reconnect with your pre-caregiver self. Do something you enjoy. Pamper yourself. Or just go somewhere and sit, relax, and clear your mind.
- Care for yourself. Being overwhelmed can bring with it a lot of tough emotions: depression, sadness, anger. Be mindful of when you feel these things, and if you begin to feel them more than just occasionally, check in with your doctor. Make sure that you make time for your own health. Don’t put off mammograms, dentist appointments, yearly checkups and the like. If you work yourself into the ground, that’s not good for anyone.
- Reach out. Ever feel like people get tired of hearing about your worries? Feel like they just can’t really understand what you are going through? I felt that way until I joined a caregiver support group. I found that there were people going through the same things that I was. There are different kinds of groups: caregiver support, dementia caregiver support, adult children caring for parents – just to name a few. Find one that you’re comfortable with and that fits your needs. I felt like a candle had finally been lit in a dark room the first time I visited with my group. We shared each other’s sorrows, triumphs, and fears. I learned about a lot of different community resources like home health care, veterans’ benefits, and specialists from people in the group too.
For information about caregiver support groups in the Raleigh area, visit http://theextensionofyou.com/caregiver-resources/