How to Avoid Caregiver Burnout.

As care professionals the term burnout is something we know all too well. Oftentimes we give 150% of ourselves to our patients and their families. Ultimately, leaving very little left to care for ourselves. Replenishing your mental, physical, and emotional self is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and avoiding burnout. Find out if you are experiencing burnout and how to prevent burnout from happening to you.

Ways to tell if you are experiencing burnout

  1. Do you arise every morning without a sense of dignity and purpose?
  2. Do you feel as though you have nothing left to offer?
  3. Do you find it difficult to cope with stress and day to day responsibilities?

If you answered “Yes” to these three question you may be experiencing “Burnout”. Your ability to recognize any shift from your life’s passion, goals, self-worth and energy could help you avoid “burnout”.

Burnout is a severe stress condition that can lead to serious physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. This condition may interfere with a persons ability to cope with stress and manage day to day chores and responsibilities.

Who are at High Risk for Burnout?

Individuals who are constantly exposed to high levels of stress such as:

  • In-home caregivers.
  • Adults caring for their elder parents.
  • A healthy spouse caring for an ill partner.
  • First responders such as doctors, nurses, ambulance attendants, and more.
  • Mothers, fathers, and guardians caring for children.
  • Individuals with “Type A” personalities. (These personalities often have characteristics of needing to be in control or perfectionism.

Signs and Symptoms of Burnout:

Here are a few ways you might be able to tell that you are experiencing burnout.

  • Feelings of exhaustion
  • Suffering from head and stomach aches
  • Loss of appetite and sleep changes
  • Desires to be isolated: no longer socializing and confiding in friends or family
  • Indulging in escape fantasies such as fantasizing about solo vacations,
  • Indulging in drugs or binging on food
  • Constant sense of irritability while engaged in normal tasks
  • Inconsistent immune system such as constant illnesses, sore throat, colds, and insomnia.
  • Feelings of depression and anxiety

Here are tips to help develop effective coping skills for stress, manage day-to-day responsibilities, and restore dignity and purpose to your life.

  1. Begin your day with some form of prayer, meditation or thoughtful reflection. Put your trust in a higher power. Ask for strength and guidance to fulfil your assignment for that day.
  2. Exercise. Stretches and short walks energize our bodies and give us an emotional boost to start the day right.
  3. Eat a balanced diet. Adding Omega 3 fatty acids such as flaxseed oil, walnuts, and fish can be a natural antidepressant and can boost your mood.
  4. Develop healthy sleep habits to allow your body to reset and revive.
  5. Reduce the use of smart phones in your bedroom during sleep time. This has been proven to promote better sleep quality.
  6. Ask for help during times of stress. Checking in with family and close friends can promote stress relief and self-care.