Caregivers give of themselves continually. They are constantly helping others. The caregiver role can have many different appearances. No matter what form the care is, all caregivers care for someone else in some way. Quite often they are so busying caring for others they neglect themselves. This can lead to caregiver burnout.
Burnout can occur to anyone for a myriad of reasons. Work burn out, volunteer burnout, parenting burnout and care giver burnout. Burnout is when someone becomes physically and emotionally exhausted from performing a tough job over a period of time. It can also come from long periods of stress usually related to the situation of job.
Caregivers can begin to feel frustrated, ineffective in their care, cynical or resentful. When these feelings come, they are often followed by guilt for having these feelings. Caregivers should not feel guilty though. These are common emotions and to not feel some of them would be unusual.
Care for the caregivers
Caregivers should care for themselves to prevent burnout. If they do not care for themselves, they will eventually have no care left to give to others. If you are a caregiver here are some ways you can care for yourself.
Get a massage– massages relax the muscles and work out tension in the body. Plus, they feel great!
Go out with friends– socializing with others helps to reduce stress and let people relax and get away from the stress of care-giving.
Watch a good comedy– laughing helps to release endorphins that trigger positive feelings and reduce perception of pain and can increase energy. One of my all time favorites is Napoleon Dynamite. Not much thinking needed but plenty to laugh about.
Get a manicure or pedicure– these typically include a small hand or foot message which is relaxing and it can make you feel good to do something for yourself.
Read a book– find a quiet place to read a book, which can give your mind a good get-a-way from daily life.
Join a support group– there are support groups in most towns for caregivers. They are there to help encourage and lift you up in your journey.
Get counseling– most people could use some counseling; caregivers can benefit greatly. A counselor can help you work through your emotions and help to find a support group.
Join a bible study– there are many bible studies that are for caregivers or for studying a particular component of the bible. These can be in a group setting or on an individual basis.
Color– there are so many adult style coloring books out now. Coloring is very relaxing. Most adults haven’t colored since elementary school. Try it and see how relaxing it is.
Guard against burnout
If you are a caregiver, please guard yourself against burnout. Your mind and body as well as your family will thank you for it. Find a way to relax, whether that is using one of the examples listed or finding your own way. Relaxing and caring for yourself is healthy and necessary. If there is no care for the caregiver the caregiver may not be able to give care any longer.
My role as a caregiver is minimal in comparison to others I’ve met. Even with my role I try to care for yourself. I’m am not the greatest at it and my sister reminded me the other day I must take care of myself to be around for others. I will schedule a massage for myself occasionally or get my hair done. Coloring is something I’ve recently done. Puzzles also relax me.
Are you a caregiver and if so do you neglect yourself? How do you protect yourself from burnout?