Caregiver burnout occurs when an individual reaches a state of mental, emotional and/or physical exhaustion. It can be associated by a change in attitude from a positive, caring disposition to a negative disposition or an appearance of not caring. It is associated with feelings of guilt, failure, isolation and loneliness.
Read on for 5 ways to avoid caregiver burnout.
- Notice it and name it. It’s easier to tackle a problem if it is acknowledged and defined. Be bold–use the term burnout. Find someone you trust and have a conversation about feeling caregiver burnout. Telling someone and acknowledging feelings can be cathartic on their own.
- Have a plan to address caregiver burnout. One of the most powerful things you can do as a caregiver is to create a list of resources that you can turn to BEFORE the feeling of caregiver burnout.
- Make a list of programs and activities that are offered in your community.
- Reach out to organizations to provide volunteers to see what can be offered for you or elderly loved one
- Identify 1-2 trusted individuals who can be counted on even if it is to help with life tasks such as shopping, cooking, running errands so you can give care with a bit less burden.
- Make a schedule. Schedules can bring a sense of predictability and order to a situation which feels out of control. Having a schedule that is detailed and written can visually remind you and your loved one when possible that time has meaning.
- Self-care is essential. Self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity if caregiver burnout is to be avoided. Keep in mind there are many types of self-care: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual etc. You don’t have to engage in them all each day but make daily self-care a routine.
- Situational Changes/Luck. Sometimes a solution to burnout appears to come out of nowhere. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the season or time of day or maybe it’s something you did to make the moment just a bit easier. Whatever “it” is, notice it, name it and celebrate it even if it only lasts for a short amount of time.