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What is Caregiver Burnout?



Caregivers often provide care to an older or disabled loved one, but amid COVID, it may have come about quickly and unexpectedly. And, while caring for our loved ones can be one of the most meaningful, uplifting acts we do, it is also physically exhausting and can be emotionally draining.

Caregivers can be both men and women, but women are most often the primary caregivers. And, caregiver women are usually the least likely to seek support for themselves.

It’s easy to ignore your health when your focus is on caring for someone else. But putting someone else first does not mean you have to neglect your own care.

Often caregivers experience:

1. Fatigue
2. Mental exhaustion
3. Physical exhaustion
4. Emotional exhaustion

Signs and symptoms of burnout:

● Short fuse
● Emotional outbursts
● Sleep problems
● Weight changes
● Social isolation
● Sickness
● Hopelessness and/or helplessness
● Extreme fatigue or exhaustion

Tips for taking care of yourself:

1. Accept help. If a friend offers to run an errand or cook a meal for you, let them! If they didn’t want to help, they wouldn’t offer, so let them bless you.

2. Tell others. Be honest about how you are feeling and come up with some solvable problems that might have a simple solution. Someone else can help take some of the burdens from you.

3. Join a support group. Caregivers often feel isolated, and a caregiver support group can help you connect with others facing similar struggles. Check with your loved one’s doctor for recommendations of a support group, or do an online search.

4. Disciplined self-care. You should not feel guilty about taking time for self-care. If you burn out, you could end up sick and not able to help the one who needs you most.

5. Eating healthy, nutritious foods is essential to keeping your energy up and your mood stable. Try not to go long periods of time without eating during the day.

6. Laugh Often. It’s important to keep a sense of humor especially if your days are intense. Try to get your daily dose of humor by watching a funny video or reading something funny. Social media often has both of those things easily available. You can search Instagram for #funnypicture or #funnyanimals, or even #jokeoftheday.


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As little as 15 minutes a day will improve your mood. It doesn’t matter how you spend those 15 minutes if it is meaningful to you. A cup of coffee, a bath, breathing exercises, meditation, or maybe a walk are great options.

What tasks might you be able to outsource or delegate, so you aren’t doing everything?

● Housekeeping
● Laundry
● Grocery shopping
● Meal prep.
● Dishes
● Errands
● Yardwork

Often caregivers think that taking time for themselves makes them selfish because there is someone who needs them 24/7. This is absolutely not the truth! Caring for yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver. When your needs are taken care of, then the person you are caring for will receive better care.

Give yourself permission to care for yourself every day, especially when you are caring for a loved one. Caring for yourself daily is the only way you are going to be able to care for others in the long run.

Are you a caregiver? What are some ways you take care of yourself?

Check out our blog on the health benefits of laughter.