Being a caregiver—whether you’re providing full-time, in-home care to an aging friend or family member, or as a profession—can be stressful and overwhelming. There are bills to pay, doctor’s appointments to attend, meals to cook and a house to clean on top of all of your own personal responsibilities to your career and home. With so much to do and little time to do it, it’s no wonder why caregivers begin feeling less and less like themselves as time progresses.
If you notice changes in your mood, health or relationships, it may be a sign you’re experiencing caregiver burnout. Burnout is a common and understandable reaction to caregiving stress, but it doesn’t have to control your life. Read on to find out how to recognize and address caregiver burnout.
If you’ve ever had young children, you may recognize the feelings of irritability associated with constantly being called on and needed for one reason or another. It can feel overwhelming, potentially causing you to get frustrated with your loved ones. You may say something you normally wouldn’t say or find yourself getting emotional. Even when you’re home relaxing with your family, you may find yourself getting snippy. Unfortunately, burnout doesn’t discriminate based on your current task, and excessive exhaustion can cause you to have lingering bad moods.
Rapid mood swings ranging from anger to aloofness to helplessness can be indicative of mental or emotional burnout as a result of your caregiving responsibilities.
At the beginning of your caregiving journey, you may have felt fine, but as time went on, you may have ignored your own health needs to care for your loved one. A lack of sleep, downtime and medical attention can leave your immune system at risk. If you notice you’re sick more often than you used to be, it could be a sign of exhaustion or overexertion.
The stresses of caregiving can also impact your sleeping and eating patterns. Many caregivers suffer from interrupted or restless sleep or insomnia, and fail to enjoy a nutritious diet. According to a 2013 study published in Research in Nursing & Health, 55.7 percent of caregiver participants were overweight and 31.6 percent reported fairly bad or very bad sleep quality.
Poor sleep quality could lead to increased alcohol or sleep aid dependence, so it’s important to address these issues as soon as possible.
Although you love being around your friends, family and care receiver, you may find yourself craving more and more alone time. Caregivers suffering from burnout may isolate themselves or spend an increased amount of time doing passive activities like watching television or browsing the internet.
Caregivers who are burning out often don’t feel as interested in their old hobbies and may not want to attend social affairs. These feelings are often very confusing for caregivers who truly want to connect with others and enjoy their favorite activities, but can’t find the motivation to do so.
How to Address Caregiver Burnout
Symptoms of caregiver burnout may mirror signs of depression and anxiety. That’s because depression and burnout often come as a pair. Luckily, that also means many of the same treatments you associate with depression may also help reduce the effects of burnout. If you suspect you’re facing burnout, don’t wait to seek help. You can find relief by:
- Talking to a therapist or social worker
- Talking out your feelings with a trusted religious leader, friend or family member
- If you work for a company, seeking help from your supervisor or taking advantage of your company’s wellness program
- Setting realistic goals for yourself and your loved one
- Practicing dedicated self-care
- Pursuing respite care
- Forgiving yourself for feeling angry
- Accepting your own limitations in caring for your loved one
If you realize your loved one’s needs are too much for you to handle temporarily or long-term, it may be time to explore long-term care options such as assisted living or a nursing home, or respite care in your area.
Long-Term Nursing Care Services in Atlanta, GA
Your health is important just like your aging loved one’s health. Your feelings of burnout are normal and justified. It’s only natural that caregivers need a break. Fortunately, there are long-term nursing communities available to help reduce your caregiver stress.
At A.G. Rhodes Health & Rehab, your loved one will enjoy a beautiful community staffed with compassionate and patient nurses to assist in everyday activities like dressing, moving and bathing. Our team is available 24/7 to offer assistance with any needs your loved one may have. They receive the care they need. You receive the rest you deserve. Contact us online or call 877-918-6413 to schedule your tour today!