The role of a caregiver is a difficult job that can place physical and emotional stress on an individual. As a result, caregivers are prone to suffering from caregiver burnout, physical, and emotional exhaustion resulting from extended stress. In fact, caregiver burnout is prevalent in caregivers who are new to caregiving. Here at Senior Caring we have compiled a list of resources to help you combat caregiver burnout. However, because caregiver burnout is preventable, we have also provided you with five tips to avoid caregiver burnout.
Five Tips to Avoid Caregiver Burnout
1: Schedule Me-Time
Caregiver burnout is caused by exhaustion from the stress of the job. Symptoms of caregiver burnout consist of mood swings, changes in sleeping and eating habits, lack of energy, and a loss of interest. In order to prevent this, it is important to have time for yourself in between your schedule. Plan breaks throughout your week to help reduce your stress level. In conjunction to this, it is important to know your limits. Don’t overwork yourself and try to avoid piling on tasks that will cause more stress. Everyone needs a breather every now and then; taking care of yourself is the first step to avoiding caregiver burnout.
2: Get a Sufficient Amount of Sleep
Sleep is important! Getting a good night’s rest is an integral part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sleep has many benefits to improving your well-being from helping you maintain a healthy mental state to improving your immune system. When you are receiving an average of 7-9 hours of sleep every day, your immune system will help protect your body by fighting off diseases. Consequently, a strong immune system is key to lifting your moods. After all, no one is ever happy to be sick. When you are physically and mentally healthier, your body will naturally reduce your stress levels. A happy body and mind equal a happy you.
3: Worry Less and Be Happy
As a caregiver, worrying can seem like part of the job description, especially if you are the primary caregiver to a family member. However, worrying causes more damage than good to your well-being. It is important to strive to live in the moment and to relax. If your stress is derived from the worries of the unpredictable future, aim to engage in activities to relax your mind. For example, implement a few minutes each day to engage in meditation. Slowing down and spending some alone time can help you with the worrying process. On the other hand, if your stress and worries are caused by overworking, don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Learning to rely on others can help you relieve your stress. When in doubt, spend the time to reconnect with friends and family. Humans are social creatures – we need to interact with others in our lives. Allotting time in your schedule to spend time with friends and family will help bolster your moods, therefore, decreasing your worries and overall stress levels.
4: Maintain a Healthy Diet
Maintaining a healthy diet may be one of the most important tips to avoid caregiver burnout. It is no surprise that certain food help reduces stress, after all, you are what you eat. With that being said, make salmon, blueberries, and dark chocolate a staple of your diet. These superfoods are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that naturally help release dopamine, a chemical in your brain that causes you to become happier. Likewise, avoid consuming too much caffeine, alcohol, or engaging in stress eating to prevent lethargy and excess energy, which increase your likelihood of burnout.
5: Get Moving and Exercise Daily
Our final tip for avoiding caregiver burnout is to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Exercising is a natural method to reduce stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Not only does exercising help fight diseases by strengthening your immune system, but it is also great for your mental health. Specifically, daily exercise helps reduce fatigue in your daily activities while improving your concentration. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that aerobic exercise help stabilizes your emotions while improving your self-esteem and sleeping habits.