Being a caregiver to a loved one is no easy task and oftentimes, caregivers find themselves putting their own needs aside. This leads to a situation known as burnout, wherein the stress and demands of caring for a family member build to a breaking point. Below are a list of warning signs and FSL’s top 5 tips for prioritizing yourself!
A few of the warning signs to watch for are
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Weight fluctuation
- Depression or lack of interest in hobbies/interests
- Frequent headaches or bodily pain
Tips for beating burnout!
1. Seek help and accept it when it is offered. Prepare a list of ways that others can help you so that you are ready when the offer comes. Divide tasks between siblings or other relatives, and ask neighbors to check on your loved one. Seek professional help such as FSL’s Home Care or Adult Day Health Services to give yourself some time off.
2. Join a local support group, or connect with one online. Being able to discuss your situation and share both the good and bad can be a healthy outlet for stress. It will also be a wonderful way to create meaningful and lasting friendships.
3. Set goals for yourself, both in your role as a caregiver and in your own life. Set a goal to establish a healthy sleep routine or to go for a walk each day. Be realistic in your goals as a caregiver, and know when to say “no” or share responsibilities.
4. Make time for social engagements. Go out to dinner with friends and take a night off! Set aside time each week for reconnecting by scheduling a weekly game night or shopping trip. It is important to have a support team on standby, taking care of your loved one during this time so that you can turn off the phone and focus on yourself and your own emotional needs.
5. Remind yourself often that you do not have to be perfect! Believe that you are doing the best you can and are making good, proactive decisions in regards to your loved one’s care. It is normal to deal with feelings of guilt, but it is imperative to put yourself first!