Caregiver burnout can be a serious problem when looking after someone who is permanently or even temporarily unable to care for themselves. Being aware of your personal situation and how you react to stressful situations is key to identifying your burnout zone and keeping situations from escalating.
The other day, one of our staff members was fortunate enough to catch the beginning of a domestic dispute before things turned serious. A patient and their child were in the middle of a yelling match when the staff member came into the house and broke up the disagreement.
After hearing of this event, we decided it would be beneficial to provide a few helpful tips to prevent similar situations.
Observe the social & recreational needs of family caregivers
- Stay social. Make it a priority to visit regularly with family and friends. Isolation will eventually turn into depression or resentment.
- Do things you enjoy. Laughter and joy can help keep you going when you face trials, stress, and pain. We suggest incorporating mutual interests between the patient and caregiver to do things you both enjoy.
- Maintain balance in your life. Don’t give up activities that are important to you, such as your work or your hobbies.
- Give yourself a break. Take regular breaks, and give yourself an extended break at least once a week. If possible, establish shifts with other family members who can take turns watching your loved one.
Keep in mind Emotional needs of family caregivers
- Take time to relax daily and learn how to regulate yourself when you start to feel overwhelmed.
- Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings is a good way to keep a handle on them.
- Talk with someone to make sense of your situation and your feelings.
- Feed your spirit. Pray, meditate, or do another activity that makes you feel part of something greater.
- Watch out for signs of depression and anxiety, and get professional help if needed.
We hope you will find these tips useful in avoiding caregiver burnout. We would love to hear if you have additional tips, feel free to leave them in the comments below.