You’ve probably already checked their blood pressure, ensured they’ve eaten breakfast and lunch, and confirmed their doctor’s appointment for tomorrow. But have you drunk any water today, let alone even eaten lunch yet? Being a caregiver is one of the most rewarding jobs out there, but it can also be considered one of the most mentally and physically challenging.
If things are left unchecked, it can lead to a downward spiral and that puts you at risk of experiencing what is known as caregiver burnout. If you are feeling exhausted emotionally, physically, and mentally know that you are not alone and there are ways to gain healthy control of your life again.
To help, Franklin Park Senior Living has put together some common signs that indicate caregiver burnout and some ways to avoid reaching the end of your rope.
1. Isolation from Family and Friends
Can you not recall the last time you met a friend for dinner or went to the movies with your family? Maybe your friends have been calling and leaving voicemails but you have not felt like returning their call or answering the phone when you see them calling. Inviting a close friend for an overnight stay on a trip away or grabbing your favorite book and meeting a friend at the park can be restorative. Getting out of your everyday routine a few times a month is necessary to keep your friendships healthy and to avoid feeling isolated. Consider using services like respite care, offered at some of our Franklin Park communities, that will give you some time by yourself.
2. Losing Interest in Hobbies
Has it been months since you’ve participated in one of your favorite hobbies? Maybe you enjoy cooking and trying new recipes but have lost all desire to go back into the kitchen. The demands of being a caregiver can bring a variety of different emotions that can bury the passions you once had. Find some easy activities that may take about 30 minutes in your day that you can carve into your schedule. Whether it’s reading a book on the back porch or painting, it’s important to take time for yourself and do things that renew and restore a sense of personal well-being.
3. Change in Diet and Appetite
If you’ve found yourself not hungry for meals or forgetting to eat at all, it’s time to make a change. Nourishing your body with nutrients that will help your health, give you more energy, and better-quality sleep is vital. Try adding fresh fruit and lean protein to your diet. Pack some mixed nuts to have as snacks throughout the day. Avoid things like energy drinks and multiple cups of coffee. They may give you a boost for a few hours, but the crash at the end of the day will not be worth it. Eating healthier will give you the fuel you need to keep steady energy in your day-to-day.
4. Having a Short Temper
It’s very common to feel overwhelmed and stressed which can result in snapping at others and escalated stress levels. Celebrate the small victories. Learn to embrace moments where you can take a deep breath and reflect on some of your wins throughout your day. Doing this will uplift your spirits and help you feel encouraged. Make sure you are getting to bed at a decent time and not eating junk food before bed – that means hiding those mini Snicker bars sitting on your nightstand. It’s also beneficial to surround yourself with other caregivers. You will learn from others and get the help you need by attending a caregiver support group, also offered at Franklin Park.
At Franklin Park Senior Living, we have a heart for both seniors and for those that care for them. We hope that after reading this, you are able to detect some things that you can change in your life to avoid experiencing caregiver burnout. For more information and resources on caring for seniors, we invite you to contact our team.