Caregivers face the responsibility to dutifully care for loved ones living with chronic illnesses, deteriorating health, or those living with special needs. Many caregivers may work outside of the home, or balance the role of home management with it’s daunting everyday tasks. I’ve had many ask me as a mother of four juggling the role as a caregiver of a spouse living with sickle cell and a child with autism how do I managing it all while staying sane. Trust me, I’ve had my moments of being more than overwhelmed. I have been there with experiencing caregiver’s burnout. I learned over the years how to graciously care for my family in need, manage our home effectively, and equally important take care of myself. It’s important for us to take care of ourselves,so we can at best be there for those who need us the most.
The Big Difference
There’s a big difference in being tired than being on complete burnout. It’s important for us to recognize the signs, so we can prevent ourselves from burning out our flame with no light to give. Tired is a temporary state that with enough rest one can bounce back over time in the transition to being one’s self. Burnout can be very serious leading to mental, emotional, and physical concerns to one’s health that over time if not properly addressed can be detrimental to all parties involved.
Are you suffering from caregiver’s burnout?
If you answered “Yes” to any of the signs above you maybe experiencing caregiver’s burnout. Please reach out immediately to your doctor or a health care professional for help.
Here are some helpful tips as well that I learned to incorporate in being a cargiver in adopting in self-care and managing our home:
- Be sure to keep a well balanced diet, and don’t skip meals.
- Plan in advance. Have a plan of action to easily follow through in cases of emergency or hospital stays. Hospital bag, child care on stand by, meal prep, emergency contacts, and etc…
- Have or create a positive outlet to help in coping with the ongoing stressors of being a caregiver. Knitting, crafts, blogging, painting, baking, drawing, organizing, and etc …
- Balance out healthy social outings to prevent withdraw. Many of us may find it hard or difficult to constantly be in social settings with what we deal with on a daily basis or hospital stays. There are healthy alternatives that aren’t so overwhelmingly draining such as joining a support group, sharing a one on one outing with a friend, or a hobby class you enjoy.
- Don’t stop doing what you love or enjoy. We may have to pause for a short spell depending on the situation, but we must never fully stop enjoying those simple pleasures of doing what we fully enjoy. There can be modifications and adjustments, but don’t dare stop.
- Exercise and incorporate fitness in your day.
- Take in some sun. Vitamin D is good for the mind and body. Matter of fact, be sure to take a multi-vitamin supplement for energy and health benefits.
- Surround yourself with people who are understanding, positive, and who’s behaviors are conducive with your lifestyle as a caregiver. You’re already spread thin, so you don’t need any additional life drainers.
- Talk it out. Find a a trusted friend or confidant that you can share your journey with who is understanding.
- Cultivate a dependable network of support. Your network of support may not always be family or friends you’ve known. That is okay. We don’t have the traditional support sytems as a family. We have been blessed to meet many kind strangers, co-workers, church members, and people who came for a season during times of needs. All came at the right time and season to show support.Don’t feel the need to take the journey of being a caregiver alone.
- Research and find outside resouces that can assist you with care, support, and helpful services for your loved one. There maybe some that are covered by your insurance provider.
- Pace yourself with the managing of household responsibilities. Develops a schedule and plan without doing it all in one day or last minute.
- Have a mandatory rest or pamper day just for you. The role of a cargiver rarely stops, but try to do the bare minimum on that day. Order take out, take a long bath, self -pamper, watch a good movie, read a good book and etc.
Remember self-care is self preservation. Caregivers must take care of themselves with the same love they provide for their loved ones.