4 Tips for Handling Caregiver Stress and Burnout
How to Handle Caregiver Stress
Caring for an ill or injured person can be emotionally and physically daunting. It’s no wonder that caregivers experience such high levels of stress. This stress can be burdensome on the caregiver’s health and make them less effective, so it’s important to learn how to handle and minimize the stress. Some of the signs of caregivers stress include feeling tired or overwhelmed, losing weight, and experiencing frequent headaches. If you or a loved one is experiencing caregiver burnout, here’s how to better manage:
1. Don’t Let Negative Thoughts Affect You
Although this is often easier said than done, it is an important part of a caregiver’s mentality. More often than not, caregivers beat themselves up constantly for not being able to do more than what they’re doing. This internal self-talk can do harm to their self-confidence. Instead, look for ways to get out of these negative thoughts like by engaging in physical exercises. Spending time walking in the morning or evening can do wonders to your mood. You could also try meditation or listening to music. If you are finding it hard to manage your own thoughts, don’t be afraid to seek help from a professional for yourself because continued thoughts of negativity could be a sign of depression.
2. Don’t Compare Yourself with Others
Sometimes, taking care of an elderly parent can be a source of distress between family members. It is not uncommon for one sibling to make an off-the-cuff remark about how the parent was happy or active when living with them but don’t seem to be doing as well with you. Don’t let these comments get to you. Comparing yourself with others will only add to your stress. It is good to learn from other caregivers, but don’t compare to the point where you feel bad about the work you’re doing.
3. Seek Help From a Professional
Take time off from your caregiver duties to relax and focus on yourself. Hire a home healthcare aide to share some of your work. A home health aide can help with light housekeeping, running errands, accompanying the patient to and from hospital visits, and more. You can also hire a nursing aide for tasks like IV care or catheter care.
Caregiving should not be a lonely journey. If the person being cared is a parent, make sure all siblings are involved whether directly or indirectly. If it’s a spouse, share your concerns with the children. Everyone close to the patient can benefit from knowing how the loved one is progressing. Technology can be a great way to streamline updates as well. Instead of repeating the same story every time over the phone, set up a Whatsapp Group or a Facebook group to communicate with everyone involved.
Caretaking can often be more of a marathon than a sprint, so it’s important to try and prevent caretaker burnout for your own sake and the sake of the loved one you are caring for.