Tag Archives: #SelfCare

5 Symptoms of Caregiver Burnout


Serving as a caregiver to an ailing family member takes a lot of both physical and emotional resources. No matter how much you love the person, the extra work and stress take a toll. Caregiver burnout is a common concern. There are about 43.5 million unpaid caregivers in the United States. Family caregivers spend over 24 hours a week caring for their loved ones. If the person lives with their caregiver, the average hours go up to more than 40 hours a week.

That level of hands-on care is like adding a high-stress full-time job on top of the other tasks the person may have on their packed schedule. Burnout is a real issue and one that many caregivers experience. Symptoms of caregiver burnout include:

1. Feeling Irritable

Caregiving is physically demanding in some cases, which can lead to physical exhaustion. In addition, you may feel worried about your ailing parent or child and not sleep well. The combination of exhaustion and stress leads to irritability that can hurt both you and the person you take care of. If you find yourself easily aggravated, you likely aren’t getting enough rest.

The solution is to find at least a few hours a week where you can get away from it all and relax. You might have to hire a nurse to come in for a few hours or ask for help from another family member. Taking time to refresh your inner being allows you to better care for your loved one the rest of the week.

2. Withdrawal From Friends and Activities

Working long hours without recognition leads to burnout just as it does in an outside job. Caregiving is often a thankless job. The person you’re caring for may feel too ill to explain their appreciation or may not have the mental faculties to express their gratitude. As you start to feel hopeless over the situation and unappreciated, you may pull away from friends who don’t have the same burdens. Going to the activities you enjoyed in the past may seem like just one more thing you have to do.

Find at least one good friend to confide in about how you’re feeling. Talking to others who’ve been through the caregiving process not only makes you feel understood but gives you tips from someone who’s been through it.

3. Feeling Hopeless

If you’re caring for an elderly parent, they may have multiple doctors all telling you something different. The prognosis might not be a positive one, and you may also grieve the waning time you have left with someone you love dearly. Feelings of hopelessness are common in caregivers.

Take the time to talk to medical professionals about the exact prognosis for your loved one. You can engage with numerous healthcare experts, look up informational videos, or attend caregiving keynote events. This could help you clear up some of your concerns or at least some new ways to deal with the disease.

4. Changes in Appetite

You’re busy running here and there and everywhere. Your diet may grow poor, either filled with processed, unhealthy food or lack of meals. Empathetic people have a hard time putting themselves first and may take care of their loved one and not take care of themselves.

If you don’t take care of yourself, it’s hard to take care of someone else. If you get sick, what will your loved with do? Is there anyone else who would step up and take your place? Make your own health a priority. Eat regular meals and make sure they’re nutrient filled.

5. Attitude Changes

If you’ve always been an upbeat person and suddenly you’re making cynical comments and having nasty internal thoughts, then you might be approaching burnout. Studies show that the psychological effects are more intensive than the physical effects of caregiving.

If you notice your attitude has changed from an upbeat one to a negative one, that’s a sign of burnout. Don’t feel afraid to ask for help with the overwhelming amount of tasks you have to complete. Make a list of responsibilities and figure out who could help with some of them and reduce your burden.

Burnout Doesn’t Mean Failure

Caregiver burnout is simply your body’s way of telling you that you need to slow down and take a break. It doesn’t mean you don’t love the person dearly or that you’re a bad person in any way. Listen to what your brain and body are telling you, ask for help if you need it and seek out people in similar situations who can serve as a sounding board and resource to draw upon.

Kayla Matthews is a lifestyle and productivity writer whose work has been featured on Lifehacker, The Next Web, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. You can read more posts from Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory.

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How to Pace Yourself as a Caregiver in Day-to-Day Life


If you’ve suddenly found yourself thrown into the role of caregiver in your family, you cropped-wp-pj-banner-e1532350609729might be feeling overwhelmed. There’s no doubt that you have a lot to do in your day-to-day life and if you’ve just had the responsibility of caring for an elderly family member, your world might be turning upside down. Or, perhaps you have been caring for an aging family member for some time and have started to notice that the tasks are consuming your life. Whether you are just starting out as a caregiver, or you have been doing it for many years, there are lots of things you can do to pace yourself so that you can enjoy your own life, and help make the last few years of a senior’s life meaningful, as well. Here are a few ideas to help you pace yourself as a first-time or long-time caregiver.

Always Eat Your Breakfast First

While you might be tempted to start your day ensuring that the senior in your life is dressed and fed first, you need to ensure that you are keeping up your morning routine by getting yourself ready and getting yourself a healthy, balanced breakfast first. Once the caregiving portion of your day starts, it can quickly be hijacked by responsibility and unforeseen circumstances, such as a cold or flu or a forgotten doctor’s appointment. Before you know it, it’ll be noon and you won’t have eaten a bite all morning. So be sure to take the time to care for yourself first thing in the morning and stick to it. It might mean getting up a few minutes early to enjoy a wholesome meal, but make the time to do it each day.

Afternoon Breaks

It’s not uncommon for many seniors to drift into a nap in the early afternoon, particularly after lunch or a heavy meal. Isn’t that true of all of us, though? So if you find that the senior you are taking care of has a tendency to take a nap after lunch, or even mid-afternoon, make the most of that time and do something for yourself to bring you back to your world. If you have kids at home, this might be the time of day when you go to school to pick them up. It’s not a lot of time, but getting to see them on a regular basis will help you maintain a sense of routine in your life. Or, perhaps you’ll enjoy your lunch during afternoon nap time so that you can catch up on your favorite television shows and enjoy a meal in the quiet of the afternoon. Whatever it is that you choose to do with that time, be sure to take or make breaks for yourself throughout the afternoon.

Suppertime Relief

One of the best things you can do for yourself to pace yourself throughout the day is arrange for another family member or caregiver to come during or after the evening meal times. This will allow you to go home to your family and spend some quality time with them. If your senior family member is actually residing with you, then it still important to arrange for additional caregiving after the evening meal so that you can tend to your needs. Perhaps you need to run errands for your family, or you need to attend a special dinner for a friend. Many caregivers get caught up in the 24/7 environment of caregiving because they feel like they need to do everything themselves. It’s so important to take care of yourself as a caregiver and try to retain some sense of routine in your own life, while caring for someone else.

Final Thoughts

So whether you have just started your journey as a caregiver, or you have been in the “business” for many years, there’s no need to let yourself and your self-care fall to the wayside. Paying attention to what you need, following a calendar so that you know what and when you need to do things for yourself and your family, and ensuring you take regular breaks are all important things to consider as you continue on your journey as a caregiver. Be sure to check in with yourself once in a while to make sure the routines you have created are still working for you and don’t be afraid to adjust them to meet your new needs. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for the help you may need from time to time. You can’t do it all and it’s important to recognize that you shouldn’t have to! Be sure to enlist the help of other family members and take the time away that you need.

Kristen Heller: Kristen is a passionate writer, teacher, and mother to a wonderful son. When free time presents itself you can find her tackling her lifelong goal of learning the piano!
Contact info: khellerwrites@gmail.com

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Dealing with the Stress of Being a Caregiver


We welcome guest writer Maggie Howard to The Purple Jacket

The demands of being a caregiver can seem so overwhelming that it can be easy to slip into depression and resentment. That is why it is so important that you learn to take care of yourself as well as the one you are caring for every day. There is a variety of support out there for caregivers, so it’s vital that you seek help if you are feeling the stress of the situation. Here are some of the other ways that you can help yourself as well as them.

Why is Caregiving So Stressful?

While caregiving can be extremely rewarding, many other stresses are not always a result of being a caregiver. If you are also taking care of your family or working, that can add a lot of pressure to your life, especially if something happens and you need to devote additional time to the one you’re caring for. There is also the upsetting thought that the person you’re caring for isn’t getting any better despite your best efforts. It can be demoralizing and upsetting. By trying to ignore the stress or not allow people to help you, it can start to affect your life.

Learn to Recognize the Symptoms

It is important that you recognize the symptoms of stress and get the help you need to deal with it. Otherwise, you could find yourself burning out and becoming a patient yourself. Some of the things you need to look out for are anxiety, depression, and irritability. These, in particular, can be difficult to judge so you should seek the advice of a doctor. If you are also starting to suffer from health problems or are having trouble sleeping, and a lack of libido, then these can also be warning signs. There are things you can do, such as practicing relaxation techniques and perhaps buying products to help you in the bedroom such as https://bathmatedirect.com/collections/large. If you don’t get the help you need, then you could start to suffer from increasing problems such as a feeling of hopelessness or helplessness.

Make Time for You and Your Patient

It is important that you take some time to yourself so that you can do activities you like. It doesn’t have to be anything grand, just doing something you love is the key. You also need to give them the time to be themselves and do their own things. For example, if they love to paint or to sew, then you should let them enjoy that time, and you can do other things as well. If you choose these times to have someone look after them, then you can go and do the things you love.

There are other things that are also important such as spending time visiting or talking to friends, so you feel connected to the outside world. You should also take advantage of any respite care that may be offered. It can give you a day or perhaps two when you can recharge your batteries.

Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.

maggiehammond57@gmail.com 

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Caregivers: Self Care is Number 1


Courage is knowing what not to fear.  Plato

 As National Caregiving Month comes to a close, here are some important reminders moving forward.

As Caregivers we are often put into a position where we have to choose between what is good for ourselves, and what is good for our loved one or care partner.  Placing someone else needs in front of our own might be difficult for some people to understand, but not for the caregiver!

To be a healthy caregiver we have to learn how to live our life in the solutions of our caregiving experience, not the problems caregiving can create in our lives.  By living a life focused on solutions, we live life with clarity, hope and love.  Focusing solely on the problems of caregiving we live in fear, worry and despair.
Here’s The Deal: Taking care of self is rule number one while in the midst of caregiving. Whether the words are spoken or not, your loved one understands the stress you are under and wants you to take care of yourself.  When you get to the point where you are at least half as good at asking care of yourself as you are at taking care of your loved one, you be on the right track. But first and foremost you have to start by making a plan!  Start by:
Create A Care Team: While are super hero’s our caregiving capes are limited. Reach out to family members and friends who can play a role on the care team. Everyone brings different talents to the team, utilize them!  Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness!
Set a Daily Intention For Yourself: Caregiving can be time consuming, especially if your balancing your career and raising children at the same time.  Schedule something for yourself, every day, even if it is just five minutes of me time in a room alone.
Have A Back-Up Plan: What if you get sick?  See Create a Care Team Above.
As Caregivers, we then to think that we are indestructible, but we are susceptible to illness too.  Stress and fatigue will play havoc on all parts of your body, mind and spirit.
I believe that there is no greater honor than to be entrusted with the care of another human being.  I make no bones about it, caregiving is hard, but in the end, the good days will always outweigh the bad ones.
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