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Overcoming Overwhelm: Tips to Avoid Caregiver Stress & Burnout (part one)

No matter how strong you are, caregiving can be overwhelming. Caring for an ill or older loved one can have a huge impact: on your health, relationships, and state of mind. This can eventually lead to burnout.

This is part one of our series on Overcoming Overwhelm: Tips to Avoid Caregiver Stress & Burnout. Below, we explore signs that you may be stressed and burnt out, as well as the importance of caring for yourself. In part two, we’ll offer tips on achieving balance by refreshing and recharging yourself—for both and your loved one’s sake. In part three, we’ll cover some additional strategies for self care.

 

Care for Your Loved One, Care for Yourself

Without the physical, emotional, and community support you need, the demands of caregiving can leave you vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and burnout. And when you get to that point, both you and the person you’re caring for suffer. No matter your stress level or situation, there are plenty of strategies to ease your stress levels, regain your balance, and start to feel positive again.

If you’re in a state of burnout, caregiving is no longer a healthy option for you or the person you’re caring for, so it’s important to watch for the warning signs. By learning to recognize the signs of caregiver stress, you can take steps to get the help that you need.

 

Signs You’re Stressed

  • Anxiety, depression, irritability

  • Fatigue and exhaustion

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Drinking, smoking

  • Overeating

  • Hyper-sensitivity

  • New or worsening health problems

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Increasing resentfulness

  • Neglecting responsibilities

  • Cutting back on leisure activities

 

Signs You’re Burnt Out

  • Diminished energy

  • Frequent illness

  • You’re always exhausted, even after sleeping

  • You are neglectful and apathetic of your own needs

  • You feel helpless and hopeless

  • Your life revolves around caregiving, but it gives you little satisfaction

  • You’re unable to relax, even when help is available

  • You’re increasingly impatient and irritable with the person you’re caring for

Do any of these signs feel familiar? In our next blog, we’ll offer tips on how to restore balance and find and joy in caregiving. We’ll touch on developing a supportive community, reframing your perspective, and ways to seek the affirmation and help that keeps you going. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey!