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Anyone who has the role of caring for a loved one on a long-term basis knows how challenging caregiving can be. Burnout is a big problem among caregivers. All caregivers need to get away to clear their minds and emotions once in a while.
How can you tell if you’re becoming overwhelmed? Here are some questions to consider:
- Are you tired most of the time?
- Do you find yourself irritable and frustrated with little provocation?
- Are you losing interest in activities you once enjoyed?
- Are you cutting yourself off from friends and family?
- Are you having trouble sleeping or difficulty getting up in the morning?
- Do you feel hopeless with little to look forward to?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, you may be suffering from caregiver burnout. Schedule downtime by delegating some of the responsibility. Family members and friends can provide relief, or a visiting specialist may be an option.
Some Tips for Caregivers
- Remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Ask for help and find someone to talk with when you are feeling overwhelmed.
- Realize that what you offer the person in your care is a truly valuable service. Whenever possible, focus on activities you can enjoy together.
- Don’t smother the person for whom you’re caring for. Sometimes “doing the right thing” means doing less.
- Don’t allow the person you are caring for to manipulate you or make you a target of unreasonable anger or resentment. Remember to take a break when you feel angry, impatient and frustrated.
- Take care of yourself. If you’re feeling underappreciated and overworked, set aside time to treat yourself as the special person you are.