Why Caregivers Should Care For Their Mental Health
Throughout the years, we’ve met so many caregivers that seem to have been born to care for others. They have thick skin, and we love that about them. Yet it is critical to realize that, despite their constant, loving attention, caregivers are still human, and can face a tremendous amount of stress throughout their careers. In order to be a good caregiver, you need to be flexible. It requires a balancing a great deal of patience, empathy and skill with energy, strength and dexterity.
Caregivers, like nurses, teachers, and many others that work in similar professions where they are required to work around the clock and care for individuals with specific needs, face what is called as “caregiver burnout”.
There are quite a few signs that can point to caregiver burnout, some of which include:
- Feeling constantly exhausted, even after getting a full night of sleep.
- Feeling stressed or unable to relax while on vacation.
- Lacking the time to care for yourself, for example, work out, shop, see a movie, etc.
- Finding that you push close family members and friends away
- Feeling annoyed or irritated when your client asks a simple favor.
- You get sick easily
- And many more!
Here are a few ways you can stop it before it consumes you:
Focus on what you can control
Just as they all say, life is not perfect. Most importantly, your life isn’t supposed to be perfect! You can only truly enjoy life when you realize that not everything will always work out in our favor. If you’re a caregiver that puts others’ needs ahead of your own, take it one step at a time, don’t lose yourself, and don’t worry too much when things don’t go as you planned.
Ask for help
Whether its calling a friend, a family member or of course, your agency, never feel ashamed about asking for a helping hand! In fact, the strongest, most successful people you know most likely reach out to others for help and advice more than anyone. By surrounding yourself with a team of loved ones that you can raise a flag to and that can act as your sounding board, you can take the weight of your responsibilities off your shoulders and get a second opinion. Don’t walk through life alone – ever!
Use (but don’t abuse) technology!
Social media can significantly impact individuals with depression, and has been shown to trigger anxiety and negative self-esteem, so try not to revolve your life around observing others’ lives on whatever network you use, and plan “social media breaks” so you can focus on the here and now. Remember that no one’s life is ever as good as their social media profile or pictures show. Yet technology is also changing the self care landscape. Try an app like Shine Text, which texts you a short, empowering message each day! The app also links to blogs and self-help guides if you need extra support.