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

Credits:

Are you really happy or just comfortable?

From http://birdeemag.com

How very simple life would be
If only there were two of me
A Restless Me to drift and roam
A Quiet Me to stay at home.

A Searching One to find his fill
Of varied skies and newfound thrill
While sane and homely things are done
By the domestic Other One. 

And that’s just where the trouble lies;
There is a Restless Me that cries
For chancy risks and changing scene,
For arctic blue and tropic green,

For deserts with their mystic spell,
For lusty fun and raising Hell
But shackled to that Restless Me
My Other Self rebelliously

Resists the frantic urge to move.
It seeks the old familiar groove
That habits make. It finds content
With hearth and home dear prisonment,

With candlelight and well loved books
And treasured loot in dusty nooks,
With puttering and garden things
And dreaming while a cricket sings

And all the while the Restless One
Insists on more exciting fun
It wants to go with every tide,
No matter where – just for the ride.

Like yowling cats the two selves brawl
Until I have no peace at all.
One eye turns to the forward track,
The other eye looks sadly back,

I’m getting wall-eyed from the strain,
(It’s tough to have an idle brain)
But One says “Stay” and One says “Go”
And One says “Yes,” and One says “No,”

And One Self wants a home and wife
And One Self craves the drifter’s life.
The Restless Fellow always wins
I wish my folks had made me twins.

( by Don Blanding )

 


From http://quotespictures.net/

Are you really happy or just comfortable?

 

THE END

How not to say the wrong thing: Comfort IN, dump OUT

“The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”

Dorothy Nevill (British writer 1826-1913)

speak-no-evil
From How not to say the wrong thing

One of my followers raised some interesting questions regarding responding to those who are in pain or are going through tough times: what to do and what to say. As everyone reacts and copes differently, the worst fears we have is the fear of saying the wrong thing to the person who is going through very tough times.

A few months ago one of my friends posted on Facebook a link to an article on Los Angeles Times on the ‘Ring Theory’ of kvetching: comfort in, dump out. It goes like that:

Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma (parents, children, spouses etc.). Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. When you are done you have a Kvetching Order.

Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, “Life is unfair” and “Why me?” That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring.

Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings.

When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you’re going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn’t, don’t say it. Don’t, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don’t need advice. They need comfort and support. So say, “I’m sorry” or “This must really be hard for you” or “Can I bring you a pot roast?” Don’t say, “You should hear what happened to me” or “Here’s what I would do if I were you.” And don’t say, “This is really bringing me down.”

If you want to scream or cry or complain, if you want to tell someone how shocked you are or how icky you feel, or whine about how it reminds you of all the terrible things that have happened to you lately, that’s fine. It’s a perfectly normal response. Just do it to someone in a bigger ring.

Comfort IN, dump OUT.

Remember, you can say whatever you want if you just wait until you’re talking to someone in a larger ring than yours.

From How not to say the wrong thing

tumblr_inline_ms8c3nPWQ31qz4rgp
From How not to say the wrong thing

THE END