When taking care of someone else loved one, who has physical and mental demands, it can take a toll on you. A caregiver’s job is to be on point 100% of the time. With those high standards, it can cause issues with your time, emotions, and energy. A caregiver experiencing burnout can have symptoms like feeling fatigued, guilt, frustration, and that your job is becoming a grueling grind. If this sums up what you think, you suffer from an overwhelming feeling of stress and are slowly burning out. There are a few ways to avoid burnout and coping with stress.
What Cause a Caregiver to Burnout
As a caregiver, it is a demanding job, not just physically but mentally as well. Many things in the job environment can cause you to be overly stressed, causing burnout. Here are a few issues that can contribute to this:
- Conflicting demands: Balance is needed but can be far off sometimes. As a caregiver, the care of the patient, coworkers, employees, family, and yourself are all weighing on you. You could be juggling a lot, especially someone else’s care.
- Lack of Control: There may be a few things that you can’t control: money, resources, lack of skills needed to provide an efficient job, and managing a loved one’s care.
- Lack of privacy: As a caregiver, you have very little time alone; you spend most of your time with that patient.
- Unreasonable demands: As a caregiver, you may be getting particular needs from the patient’s family that can’t be done.
- Unrealistic expectations: The patient’s family may pressure you for certain things, especially if the patient has progressive diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
Over time, caring for other people’s loved ones can become psychologically wearing on you, causing burnout. With burnout, you will start to feel exhausted all the time and unable to cope with the job’s stress. When overly stressed or on the verge of burning out, you can make mistakes, or endanger a loved one, for example, mishandling medications or leading to unhealthy behaviors like smoking or alcohol abuse. When this is used, it is essential to take proactive steps to get back to normal.
Warning Signs of a Caregiver Burnout
There are a few indicators that you are going through burnout. Be sure to watch for the following signs.
- Anger and frustration: this is mostly done towards the person that is being cared for.
- Denial: more towards the patient’s condition.
- Exhaustion: unable to complete daily tasks.
- Health issues: getting sick more often.
- Inability to concentrate: Difficulty performing familiar tasks or forgetting necessary appointments for the patient.
- Irritability: Moodiness
- Social withdrawal: this can be from friends or family and activities that you use to enjoy.
Tips to Avoid Caregiver Stress
There are a few things that you can do to be proactive with your care. As a caregiver, your purpose is to take care of someone else’s loved one, but you shouldn’t forget yourself. Here are a few things you can do to prevent burnouts and avoid stress.
- Give yourself a break: talk to your boss about taking a few days to yourself to reenergize. They should have someone on standby to relieve you of your duties.
- Simplify communication: try to keep your communication about work to a minimum. When you aren’t at work, you shouldn’t think about it or complain about it to other family members or coworkers. It only causes more stress.
- Look into Online Resources: There are many websites and support groups to look into to have a support group always there to listen when you need to vent.
- Nurture positive relationships: Take some time to vent to family or friends about different issues your facing, but don’t spend all your time talking about work; try to talk about activities you like or events that you are planning for the future.
- Take care of your health: One of the essential things on this list to do. If you are not well, how are you going to take care of others? Establish a goal to get into a good sleep routine and to exercise. You can also talk to your doctor about issues you may be facing stress and burnout as a caregiver; they may have some tips and tricks to help out.
As a caregiver, your job is to take care of other people’s family members, and you may forget to take care of yourself. This is very common in selfless jobs like homecare. Be sure to follow a few of these steps to avoid burnouts and to cope with stress. TLC nursing is a great facility to work with; they care for their team members and provide tools to prevent these issues.