Being a caregiver for loved ones is a stressful responsibility to take on and is often extremely taxing on caregivers’ mental health.
We here at Inner Light Counseling in Denver CO, put together this Ultimate Guide for Caregivers so that you can avoid caregiver burnout and boost your self-esteem.
Remember, the better you care for yourself, the better you will be able to care for others!
Is caregiver burnout a real thing?
Yes! Caregiver burnout is 100% real. For many caregivers, this long-term challenge can be extremely stressful and disheartening. Especially if there is no hope that your loved one will get better if they battle a chronic condition.
What is caregiver burnout exactly?
Caregiver burnout is a state where caregivers are often mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. Long term stress like this is often draining and hurts you and the person you’re caring for.
If you as a caregiver do not participate In self-care activities, that can lead to physical exhaustion, emotional traumas, and mental health difficulties.
Causes of Caregiver Burnout:
Caregiver burnout can happen for a multitude of reasons. A few factors might be:
- Time Commitment:
If caregiving is a constant responsibility that can lead to resentment towards your loved one and a new disinterest or inability to do activities that you previously enjoyed. Moreover, caregivers are often so busy caring for loved ones they make sure there is mental health.
- Unrealistic Expectations:
When caregivers get so involved with their loved ones’ lives they often expect to have a significant impact on their patients’ health. however when it comes to Chronic conditions or Progressive diseases that can lead to a multitude of disappointments if their family member does not get better.
- Lack of Support
If other family members live far away or are not in the picture caregivers often do not have a support network to help out.
- Extreme workload.
For involved caregivers often there is too much to do and it becomes difficult to balance the needs of spouses, children’s employers as well as the care receiver.
The reality is that these are just a few examples Because every situation is different.
Symptoms of caregiver burnout:
Signs of the “caregiver’s burden” are comparable to symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. Such as:
- Insomnia and fatigue
- Feeling hopeless
- Lack of motivation
- Losing or gaining weight
- Weakened immune system
- Withdrawal from friends family
- Withdrawal from activities that you previously enjoyed
- Getting discouraged with yourself or the person you are caring for
Caregiver Burnout statistics:
- The National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP public policy Institute excavate that around 43.5 million American adults are caregivers.
- From those surveyed, they also found that around 40% of caregivers felt emotionally stressed proving the true reality of caregiver burnout.
- The Institute of Aging found that around 75% of all caregivers are female.
- The Family Caregiver Alliance found that 43% of caregivers felt that the tasks or their responsibility because either insurance would not pay for professional or no one else would help
- The Family Caregiver Alliance also found that around 60% of caregivers demonstrate signs of clinical depression and take more prescription medications, such as those for depression than any others in their age group.
Tips to help you care for yourself:
#1: Accepting help.
Remember that the responsibility is not all on you. Ask other family members to step up and help the person you care for or accept help from loved ones that want to take care of you.
#2. Reflect on what you can control
With certain conditions, you may not be able to fully cure a person and it’s important to accept and know your responsibilities as a caregiver.
#3. Set personal goals
It is important to not overlook your wellness. You should set personal health goals, such as getting 30 minutes of exercise a day, to many people want to help.
Ways caregiver stress can impact your self-esteem:
The stress from caregiving can negatively impact a character versus self-esteem In a few ways. This is because:
- Less personal time.
Given the nature of the job title caregivers often give up time for themselves to relax, sleep, exercise, spending time with friends and family, and other stress relievers. This can harm your motivation and self-esteem.
- You are giving up on your goals.
Because of the time commitment of caregiving often your own personal hopes and dreams fall second to your loved ones’ care. This also deteriorates your self-esteem and impacts your ability to be productive and stay motivated.
- Straining relationships
There are often disagreements on the best care for the ill loved one. This can lead to fights with other family members, friends, or even the care receiver. This has the potential to lower your self-esteem.
Ways to boost caregiver self-esteem:
- Be easier on yourself.
As a caregiver, there is a lot that is out of your control. If something goes wrong that does not mean you are a bad caregiver. Make sure you are holding yourself to a fair standard.
- Take Mini Breaks
A 10 to 15-minute break can be very beneficial to your mental health. These smell brakes are a great way to relieve stress, you can snack, call a friend or even meditate.
- Recognize what you are doing right.
Not only is it a large responsibility that you as a caregiver have accepted, but you are truly making a difference in the lives of your loved ones.
Inner Light counseling specializes in caregiver burnout and is here for you. Additionally, there are also additional support groups in your area that are for involved caregivers like you. Click here for more info about online support groups.