While being a caregiver is a rewarding job, it is also a job that comes with added stress. The continuous stress of being a caregiver can also lead to something called caregiver burn out. Burn out is when a caregiver becomes overly exhausted – physically, emotionally and mentally.
To ensure the continued enjoyment of your caregiving job, and maintain your own personal health, it is important that you monitor your stress levels. This will also help avoid burn out. Finding ways to cope with the stress is the best way to relieve it and ensure that you maintain a healthy mind and body, while still being a caregiver.
Below are a few ways to continue taking care of yourself, while still taking care of someone else.
Get connected and join a support group
While sometimes it might feel like you are alone, you aren’t. There are numerous caregivers out there experiencing the same stress and exhaustion that you often feel. Connect with other caregivers in your community so that you have someone to talk to. You can share your tips and tricks for better caregiving, or you can just have someone to vent to who can understand your situation from a first-hand experience.
Set realistic goals for yourself
You aren’t a superhero and you don’t have to be. It might feel like you should do it all, but doing the things you can do at 100 percent is better than trying to cram in too many tasks. Make a list of what you know you can get done that day, and aim to stick to it. You will feel much better about what you accomplished when you can do it all rather than always having things left on your list.
Make time for yourself
The most important step to avoiding caregiver burn out is making time for yourself. Everyone can use a little down time – rather it is taking a quick nap or a hot bath – give yourself a few minutes to relax.
Take good care of yourself
Make regular visits to your doctor. Get a checkup, stay up to date with your shots and let he or she know that you are a caregiver. They might have extra precautions they would like you to take based on your client and your personal health needs.
Use relaxation techniques
Practices such as meditation can relieve stress quickly, only taking 15 minutes of your day. If meditation is not for you, try breathing exercises or muscle relaxation techniques. Work with your body and allow it to relax. You will be surprised how much a few deep breaths can help ease your tension.
Even if it is only a 15 minute walk each day; get up and get moving. Getting your blood flowing and your mind focused on something else relieves stress and tension. Exercise will also improve your overall well-being.
If you feel tired, angry, depressed or are experienced sleeplessness, it might be a sign that you are too stressed and are getting burned out. Don’t let the job get to you; take a moment for yourself. Your client will appreciate it if you are well, happy and stress-free each time you are with them. So, by taking some time for yourself and focusing on your well-being, you are actually helping the both of you. You are working to create a better experience for everyone involved.
Stress leads to burn outs, and it can creep up on you very easily. Find the tips that work for you and always ask for help if you need it.