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How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout
Everyone needs someone to take care of them sometimes, especially caregivers themselves. Caregivers come from all backgrounds - some are older individuals, and some may find themselves in a caregiving role out of necessity for the care of an elderly or loved one with special needs.

Caregiver burnout is very real and more common than you may think. The constant stress that full-time caregiving can induce can feel overwhelming. Here are some things to keep in mind when managing caregiver workload and longevity.

Maintain a solid support system.

It is often not the length of time spent providing care that dictates the likelihood of caregiver burnout, but instead their access to adequate coping methods. Family and friends of a caregiver are an essential emotional foundation that can help them bear the long and tiring hours.

Caregivers are also spouses, parents, friends, and children. It is important that a caregiver takes time to maintain their own personal relationships and not feel that their work is consuming their entire identity. A common sign of caregiver burnout is self isolation from these very relationships.

Be reasonable with caregiving expectations.

The role of a caregiver is a difficult one, and one that will never be done perfectly. Especially if the caregiver in question is put into the role out of necessity, it is necessary to exercise empathy and patience. Unless they are putting your loved one at risk for injury, be flexible with your caregiving expectations.

Remember that your caregiver is a person, too, juggling their own lives with that of your loved one. They will be more inclined to go above and beyond when they are not scrutinized for how they complete tasks.

Exercise.

Maintaining physical activity is essential to combating many of the symptoms of caregiver burnout. You don’t need to go to the gym or have fancy workout equipment to get the benefits of regular exercise.

Try finding creative ways to incorporate exercise into your caregiving schedule. This can be as simple as taking your loved one out for a walk, or having a stationary bike to burn some calories while they nap.

Have a back up plan.

Some of the stress in providing care for the elderly or disabled is caused by a fear of something going wrong. Not only is it a best practice to have an emergency plan, it can also help give you peace of mind as a caregiver that your adult will be cared for if anything were to happen. Make sure that your plan includes any necessary supplies and medical information.

Plan ahead.

Caregiving is a role of task management that can easily get muddled. There are so many things to keep track of when providing care, and at times it seems like there are new issues to attend to every week.

Planning ahead is essential to managing caregiver burnout. It is easier to not get overwhelmed by the stresses of providing care when they are tangible and established. Make time not only for the necessary tasks, but also for you as a caregiver to assess your own mental health and well-being.

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