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Caregiver Burnout

Monday, December 02, 2013

Caregiver Burnout

For years she took care of you. That’s what every parent is supposed to do. Your parent was there to protect, nurture, provide, someone to talk to when you had a problem. You remember when you began to build a life with the one you married.  Maybe you struggle with whether to admit your parent or spouse to a nursing facility. “But.” you think to yourself, “This is my parent, this is my spouse, I can’t do that to them.” 

For years she took care of you. That’s what every parent is supposed to do. Your parent was there to protect, nurture, provide, someone to talk to when you had a problem. You remember when you began to build a life with the one you married.  Maybe you struggle with whether to admit your parent or spouse to a nursing facility. “But.” you think to yourself, “This is my parent, this is my spouse, I can’t do that to them.” So you decide that, for now I’ll keep them home, I’ll work it out somehow.” But it doesn’t get any better. They demand more and more of your time and attention. They are up all night wandering, you can’t sleep. Nobody can understand what you are going through. You become more and more isolative from friends, family, and even church. You feel so alone. You’re angry, frustrated, and sad, and sometimes, your loved one doesn’t even recognize who you are. When you are alone with your thoughts, tears stream down your cheeks like a mighty river-not knowing what to do.  If this describes you, I want you to know that what you are thinking and feeling are quite normal. No need to feel guilty. Stop beating yourself up! You may be experiencing caregiver burnout.  Here are some tips to assist you:

  • Start the day with a relaxing ritual. Rather than jumping out of bed as soon as you wake up, spend at least fifteen minutes meditating, writing in your journal, doing gentle stretches, or reading something that inspires you.
  • Adopt healthy eating, exercising, and sleeping habits. When you eat right, engage in regular physical activity, and get plenty of rest, you have the energy and resilience to deal with life’s hassles and demands. 
  • Set boundaries. Don’t over-extend yourself. Learn how to say “no” to requests on your time. If you find this difficult, remind yourself that saying “no” allows you to say “yes” to the things that you truly want to do.
  • Take a daily break from technology. Set a time each day when you completely disconnect. Put away your laptop, turn off your phone, and stop checking email.
  • Nourish your creative side. Creativity is a powerful antidote to burnout. Try something new, start a fun project, or resume a favorite hobby. Choose activities that have nothing to do with work.
If you would like more assistance with caregiver burnout, please call New Hope Behavioral Health at 573-860-1601(02). We would count it a privilege to assist you.

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