Recognizing Caregiver Burnout and How To Combat It!
Between professional caregivers, to family caregivers, nearly 40 million adults in the United States are caregivers. That is 16% of the population. As our national life expectancy rises, more seniors will require the assistance of a caregiver, which means that the risk of caregiver burnout and impact on caregivers’ mental health will only rise.
Caregiver burnout has many faces. Between exhaustion and lack of sleep, lack of interest in meeting with friends and family, and even depression.
Here a few ways to prevent and combat it!
1. Practice meditation
Learning how to meditate, even if just for a few minutes, has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety in adults of all ages. If you’re on the go, try downloading apps like Calm or Inscape that have various playlists, guided meditations, and relaxing sounds to help you be present and relaxed every moment in your day. Become best friends with your body and your mind!
2. Make eating healthy easier
As a caregiver, it’s easy to say, oh – forget about grocery shopping and cooking my own meals every day. I have to cook for my client! I have to make sure they eat and maintain their appetite. But as the cases of obesity, high blood pressure, and cholesterol rise each year, not to mention the issue of not getting enough nutrients, we must recognize the importance of changing how we eat. Make your life easier by ordering your groceries online for delivery. It will pay off, and allow you to save time going to the grocery store and buying unnecessary foods. Next, prep easy, grab-and-go lunches and breakfasts the night before a day of work, and make sure you plan your dinners at the start of each week to avoid buying fast food when in a rush.
3. Work out for 10 minutes, 3 Times a Day
Working out is one of the best stress relievers. The goal is at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. But as a busy caregiver, one of the smartest tricks to working up that sweat is by splitting up your workout routine into three parts. Do jumping jacks and jog in place for 10 minutes in the morning. Put on a yoga tutorial on YouTube while with your client for 10 minutes. Before bed, do a few push-ups and sit-ups to work those abs. Mission accomplished!
4. Say “No” More Often
As a caregiver, you have to manage many expectations. But what about your personal expectations? Do you prioritize your own wellbeing? The next time you’re offered to go on a life-changing vacation, don’t say no. Ask your agency or family members to take on your caregiver duties. If you are late on bill payments, need to do laundry, or simply need a day off, say no to volunteering your time to babysit a friend’s children. You matter, and your life matters. Don’t apologize!