What is Caregiver Burnout?
According to WebMD, Caregiver Burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude.
Caregiver Burnout may not necessarily make itself known by ringing your doorbell and presenting you with a nicely wrapped gift and beautiful bow on top warning you about the impending doom you may soon be facing. As a matter of fact, Caregiver.com’s Dr. M. Ross Seligson suggests that Caregiver Burnout can potentially brew for months without the Caregiver realizing they are in the midst of a burnout.
What are the symptoms of caregiver burnout?
It can be easy to overlook (or push away) the aches and pains us caregivers feel on a regular basis, but if any of these signs and symptoms, as described by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, occur, it may be time to take a break and seek help.
- Has your sleep pattern changed?
- Do you get sick more often?
- Are you feeling emotionally or physically exhausted?
- Have there been any changes in your appetite?
- Have you lost interest in things you used to love doing?
- Do you tend to feel lost, blue or irritable?
- When was the last time you spent time with family and friends? Do you find yourself withdrawing from them?
- Do you have feelings of hurting yourself or someone else?
According to experts at WomensHealth.gov, changes in weight, as well as headaches and body aches can be signs of caregiver burnout. Also, WomensHealth.gov explains that caregiver stress can impact the health of the caregiver in many ways, including:
- Risk of developing depression and/or anxiety
- Increased risk of obesity
- Higher risk of conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis
- Problems with memory, especially short-term memory
- Risk of weakened immune system
So, after I just gave you all this information from the experts and probably have you more worried than before; just remember, there is always a way! Realizing and accepting that you cannot do it all, is the first step! It is a very important step! There are a number of ways to try and cope with the stresses we endure on a regular basis:
- Finding support
- Exercise and try to stay as healthy as possible
- Find resources for yourself and your loved one
- Try to get organized (as much as possible anyway)
- Have ME-TIME!!!
- Stay positive! (at least try) 🙂
Please share this with other caregivers.
Important disclaimer: I would like to emphasize that I am NOT a licensed professional. While I do have a Bachelors in Psychology, and use this background to help me find and understand this information, I do not hold any certifications or licenses to practice or provide mental health treatments. All of the information I provide in this article are based on my own research and personal experience from living with a combat-veteran and being the parent of a young son with Autism. Again, I am NOT a licensed professional. If you are in a crisis or are in need of medical or mental health attention, please use the appropriate channels to get help.
For a general overview of my policies, please view my disclosure policy.