By Taie Leverett, Goldman Sachs Fellow
As a caregiver, you tend to overexert yourself at least 90% of the time trying to tend to those in need.
We forget that to take care of someone else, we must remember to take good care of ourselves. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. Avoiding caregiver burnout will reduce the toll and frustration on all.
Typical Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout
- Lack of energy
- Lack of sleep
- Changes in eating habits
- Lack of self-care
- Feelings of being stuck
- Separation from loved ones
If you recognize yourself from the symptoms above, it may be time to slow down and devise a new, healthy plan. There are many resources that you can use to help you. Here are a few suggestions that can help:
Support from Other Caregivers
Because you all are experiencing many of the same things, it is best to confide in each other during challenging times. Many caregivers suffer because they keep things inside. Talking to someone who can relate to you is an effective way to release bottled-up feelings. You could learn how others have successfully handled certain situations.
Most of all, you’ll learn that you are not alone! You may find comfort and support in meeting with others, either online or in person.
Take A Break!
Sometimes a break is needed, either short or long. With all the things you are being asked to do as a caregiver, you may feel some physical stress or pain. Take some time out of your day and have a seat. Sit down and try to gain back some of the energy that you just exerted.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Everyone needs help from time to time, especially caregivers. Remember that you do not have to do everything. It’s OK to ask friends and family to help with some of your caregiving tasks. If available in your area, consider taking advantage of respite care programs. To see what is available or contact the Maryland Department of Human Services for more information.
Eat A Proper Meal and Get Enough Sleep
If you are not eating right or getting enough sleep, this could be one of the main reasons why you feel tired or lack energy. Making sure to get 8 hours of sleep each night is crucial when you are spending several hours of the day caring for someone else. Having a healthy and nutritious breakfast in the morning can be a great start to your day and give you a lot of energy to complete whatever task you have planned.
Do What You Love to Do
Whether it’s to read a book, ride a bike, do baking, or a walk in the park, make sure to do whatever it is that you like to do. Caregivers forget about the things they have going on for themselves and put their all into helping someone else. Even if it is just for a small amount each day try to include doing things that make you happy.
If you or someone you care about needs additional support to help cope, The Option Group is here to help. Please contact our professional care management team for assistance.
About The Option Group: Founded in 2010, The Option Group’s compassionate team of experienced Certified Life Care Managers serves families, their loved ones, medical professionals, and professional family advisors in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The firm understands the challenges of caring for an individual who needs assistance due to aging, dementia, disability, or serious illness. Their skilled providers possess over 100 years of combined experience navigating the healthcare maze and accessing hundreds of quality resources. The Option Group helps families spend quality time with their loved ones, providing clear choices that lead to better care. For more information, visit www.theoptiongroup.net or call 410-667-0266 (MD) or 717-287-9900 / 610-885-8899/ 215-896-6756 (PA) / or 302-858-6449 (DE).