What is Caregiver Burnout?
According to WebMD, caregiver burnout “is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude — from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned.” There are many routes that may have led to the path of caregiver burnout, including lack of resources, control, knowledge, and even feelings of guilt. But aside from the burnout cause, signs of its existence are generally similar and comparable.
5 Signs of Caregiver Burnout
Signs and symptoms are mostly related to caregiver stress, anxiety, and even depression. More specifically, one might experience or recognize the following caregiver burnout indicators:
1. Withdrawal from Close Friends and Family Members
Burnout may stimulate a state of reclusion to not only your outside world, but towards those closest to you. Disconnect and withdrawal can create social divide, in turn causing the potential of isolation and additional feelings of depression.
2. Disinterests in Activities and Hobbies Once Previously Enjoyed
You may not only feel disconnect from family and friends, but from favorite hobbies, too. Previously enjoyed activities are likely to become less interesting and desirable.
3. Changes in Appetite, Which May in Turn Cause Weight Fluctuations
Especially if based on stress, one might experience changes in appetite. Alterations may include stimulation or even suppression, subsequently causing weight gain or loss dependent on the stress response. Additionally, high stress can increase cortisol in the body, a hormone that may essentially “hold on” to fat, making it easier to retain and tougher to lose the weight.
4. Mental and Physical Exhaustion
From overworking yourself to feeling the stress from it, burnout can create both mental and physical exhaustion. The combination may start to cause feelings of depression and disruptions in sleep patterns. A constant mix of exhaustion and inadequate sleep can create a vicious cycle and make matters even worse.
5. Abuse of Alcohol or Other Uncontrolled Substances
Dealing with mental emotions and frustrations can cause individuals to seek out coping mechanisms, which may be entail alcohol or other uncontrolled substances. Find out more on substance abuse and prevention from the official Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration here.
How to Prevent It
1. Talk It Out
Sometimes easing symptoms is as easy as discussing feelings with others. Whether it be with a close family member or a counseling expert, talking out emotions can relieve unnecessary pressure while gaining motivation and support.
2. Join Caregiver Groups
It is important to remember you are not alone. In fact, others may be feeling paralleled frustration, guilt, and other damaging emotions. Confine in available community and online groups to discuss such matters. Support groups can also offer more than encouragement, but equip you with guidance and beneficial tips.
3. Dive into the Books
In all life stages, it is important to keep growing your knowledge. Becoming a caregiver provides the opportunity to continue educational growth, especially on life conditions your loved one may be facing. If providing care to an elder with dementia, dive into books and resources related to the disease. No matter what the condition, learning more can amplify your confidence and provision of meaningful and effective care.
4. Explore Pastimes
Caregiver burnout may inhibit the desire to enjoy hobbies and other activities. But exploring various activities and pastimes can serve as “you” time, which is imperative in enhancing personal life quality. From reading, watching a movie series, or to the training of yoga, it is important to credit yourself time throughout the day specifically for you.
5. Adopt A Healthy Lifestyle
Adopting and embracing a healthy lifestyle can aid in your best, total wellness and welfare amidst all circumstances. A nutritious diet and consistent exercise offers robust health benefits, both physically and mentally. Adequate sleep patterns and the practice of stress-relieving techniques can supplementary assist in health management and burnout prevention.