Caring for someone with a chronic or progressive condition can be exhausting. This remains true even when the caregiver has lovingly assumed this responsibility and is managing it with the very best of intentions. Consistently putting someone else’s needs ahead of your own can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Unfortunately, once a caregiver actually burns out, this individual may no longer be able to safely care for his or her loved one at all. Following are several ways to prevent yourself from ever reaching this state.
Know Your Limits
Be practical when deciding how much of this job you can comfortably do on your own. This is often difficult for both parents of children who need full-time caregivers, and adult children who must act as caregivers to their aging parents. Stepping aside and letting other people assist with this work can cause intense feelings of guilt. It’s important to note, however, that maintaining a sense of balance is a critical part of being able to offer optimum levels of care over the long-term.
Establish A Feasible Plan For Promoting Good Physical Health
Caregiver burnout is far more than just a state of mind. People who are dealing with excessive amounts of stress as the result of their caregiving responsibilities often suffer from insomnia, diminished immune functioning, depression, lack of focus, significant weight loss or weight gain, and general fatigue. Having a routine exercise plan and maintaining a good diet are two proactive ways to keep your body in top shape. Not only will this bolster your immunity and promote a balanced body weight, but it can also keep problems like anxiety and depression at bay.
Pencil In Time For Yourself
It’s important for all caregivers to have time for themselves. This can be time spent socializing with friends, shopping, engaging in hobbies and lifelong learning, or simply taking afternoon strolls through the park. Caregivers have to feel as though their own, individual lives are not being sacrificed as the result of their duties. When they do, these feelings can eventually lead to resentment, regret, anger, and other negative emotions.
Join A Support Group
There are numerous benefits that caregivers can gain by joining support groups. To start, they can surround themselves with like-minded individuals who share their same goals, challenges, and concerns. These groups are also great places for trading tips and identifying new resources. Best of all, caregivers can join support groups both locally and online. For instance, Florida adults who are caring for children with chronic illnesses or lifelong, mental health disorders can go to both a Tallahassee behavioral health center and an online forum for overwhelmed caregivers.
Identify Your Resources
Find out what resources exist in your area that are designed to make caregiving duties less daunting and time-consuming. For instance, you may be able to benefit from meal delivery services, hospice care, home care professionals, and other third-parties that will make it infinitely easier to get everything done. With outside help, you can have more time to focus on your own life and personal goals, as well as more time to actually enjoy the person that you’re caring for.