Caregiver Stress and Burnout

Caregiver

While caring for a loved one can be very rewarding, it also involves many stressors. And since caregiving is often a long-term challenge, the emotional impact can snowball over time. You may face years or even decades of caregiving responsibilities. It can be particularly disheartening when there’s no hope that your family member will get better or if, despite your best efforts, their condition is gradually deteriorating.

If the stress of caregiving is left unchecked, it can take a toll on your health, relationships, and state of mind—eventually leading to burnout, a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. And when you get to that point, both you and the person you’re caring for suffer.

That’s why taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Cultivating your own emotional and physical well-being is just as important as making sure your family member gets to their doctor’s appointment or takes their medication on time.

Learning to recognize the signs of caregiver stress and burnout is important, so you can take immediate action to prevent things from becoming worse and start improving the situation for both you and the person you’re caring for.

Caregiver

Feeling powerless is the number one contributor to burnout and depression. And it’s an easy trap to fall into as a caregiver, especially if you feel stuck in a role you didn’t expect or helpless to change things for the better. But no matter the situation, you aren’t powerless. This is especially true when it comes to your state of mind. You can’t always get the extra time, money, or physical assistance you’d like, but you can always get more happiness and hope.

Practice acceptance. Try to avoid the emotional trap of feeling sorry for yourself or searching for someone to blame.

Embrace your caregiving choice. Acknowledge that, despite any resentments or burdens you feel, you have made a conscious choice to provide care.

Look for the silver lining. Think about the ways caregiving has made you stronger or how it’s brought you closer to the person you’re taking care of or to other family members.

Don’t let caregiving take over your life. Invest in things that give you meaning and purpose whether it’s your family, church, a favorite hobby, or your career.

Focus on the things you can control. Rather than stressing out over things you can’t control, focus on how you choose to react to problems.

Celebrate the small victories. If you start to feel discouraged, remind yourself that all your efforts matter.

Share your feelings. The simple act of expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic.

Prioritize activities that bring you enjoyment. Make regular time for hobbies that bring you happiness, whether it’s reading, working in the garden, tinkering in your workshop, knitting, playing with the dogs, or watching the game.

Make yourself laugh. Laughter is an excellent antidote to stress—and a little goes a long way. Whenever you can, try to find the humor in everyday situations.

Get out of the house. Seek out friends, family, and respite care providers to step in with caregiving so you can have some time away from the home.

Maintain your personal relationships. Don’t let your friendships get lost in the shuffle of caregiving.

From Caregiver Stress and Burnout

Caring

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How to survive a chronically ill Christmas

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For many of us Christmas is a time of excitement and celebration, but for those living with a chronic condition it can be challenging – both physically and emotionally. If you have a friend or family member who has a chronic illness, there are some very simple things you can do to help them over the festive period that can make a big difference….

  1. Going Out
    Don’t expect them to go to every party, family gathering and drinks with friends. Remember: just because they did it today doesn’t mean they can do it tomorrow. Space out social gatherings or suggest quieter venues. Ask them what they can and can’t have at social gatherings.
  2. Offer to help with Christmas preparations
    Preparing for Christmas Day can be stressful for the most of us, whether it’s buying presents, visiting family or simply managing expectations, but for those with a chronic illness it can be overwhelming. Offer help. Sit and down and work out what really needs to be done and what is achievable. However don’t take over and do it all. You might think you are helping but in reality, this might leave your loved one or friend feeling left out and inadequate.
  3. Spend time with them over the festive season
    People with chronic illnesses often do not tell their doctor or healthcare professional that they are struggling with their mental health. It can be very hard to distinguish between a symptom of their physical illness and what is potentially depression. Being there for them creates a support network which makes them feel cared for.
  4. Offer to bring a dish over
    Because someone with a chronic illness can tire more easily, offering to prepare them a meal can go a long way.
  5. Check they have enough medication over the festive season
    Over the festive season, shops will be shut and medical services limited. Make sure that someone with a chronic illness has enough medication to last over Christmas and into the New Year.
  6. Don’t forget that everyone has different needs
    Our needs are very individual and unless you know someone very well, it’s probably better to firstly let them know that you would like to do something that will help them and listen to what they suggest.
  7. Ask them how they are and listen… really listen!
    Someone may look or appear well, but that doesn’t mean they’re feeling okay. Giving someone a chance to talk about how they feel could make their day better and make sure they feel supported.

Do you know someone who is spending Christmas on their own due to their illness? Invite them over even if it’s just for a cup of tea. People with depression, mental health issues and anxiety are often forgotten. If they aren’t up for a visit, give them a call…

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When holding hands with you…


From http://thequotesgarden.blogspot.co.nz

I promise I will hold your hand,
In good times and in bad.
I’ll hold it very tightly if
You’re ever feeling sad.

I’ll reach out for your manly paw
At times when you’re excited,
And if we part I’ll grab your hand
When we are reunited.

I’ll hold your hand when tears flow
With grief, or joy, or sorrow,
And all the time your hand’s in mine,
I’ll welcome more tomorrows.

I hope there never comes a time,
When you won’t hold my hand,
Whether we’re out shopping
Or making footprints in the sand.

They say home is where the heart is,
And perhaps the saying’s true,
But I also know I’m always home,
When holding hands with you.

By Pooky H

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