When you’re someone’s caregiver, it’s natural to let your own well-being fall onto the back burner. Whether it’s full-time or part-time, their personal and medical needs are at the forefront of your mind. 💏 Caring for someone who is close to you can be extremely rewarding as well as being emotionally and physically draining. Whilst having taken on such a selfless role, you must remember to prioritise your own mental and physical health 💛.
The good news is that there are ways to cope with and prevent carer burnout, you just need to make sure you are aware of the symptoms. Don’t worry, this article will give you some great ideas 🙌.
What is carer burnout? 🤷
Carer burnout might not be something you think about when your job is so fulfilling but it’s important that you know what it is so that you can prevent it from happening to you. The long-term challenge of caring for someone close to you can have a lot of impact on you without noticing. Feelings of overwhelm are common and when you could be seeing your loved one in an ill state, it’s easy for your emotional wellbeing to deteriorate.
If these feelings are pushed aside and left to build up, your state of mind, relationships and physical health can take a toll. This can not only lead to burnout, but pressure on the person you are caring for.
Essentially, carer burnout is when you are exhausted, feel unsupported and maybe unappreciated. You may feel like the person you are caring for or your role as a carer is a burden on your life.
Signs you’re experiencing carer burnout ⛔️
Carer burnout can manifest itself in many different ways, both physical and mental. There are some warning signs that you can look out for to prevent it.
These warning signs can include:
Feeling exhausted Feeling anxious Feeling like you have a lack of control in your life Feeling irritable Pushing your own needs aside
Some physical signs and symptoms of carer burnout include:
Fatigue Headaches/migraines Unusual changes in weight Aches and pains Lower immune system Insomnia
Mental symptoms are easily brushed off as not being important, but they can cause a lot of further damage. Some of these symptoms include:
Anxiety Depression Feelings of hopelessness Irritability Lack of motivation and concentration Isolating yourself emotionally and physically
How to cope with and avoid it 🏃
There’s no doubt that caring for a loved one is a big and stressful task to take on, but there are some methods and coping mechanisms you can stick to in order to avoid carer burnout.
Feel supported. Everyone needs support, not just those who are in need of care. Talking to friends and family members about feelings of stress and overwhelm can take a weight off your shoulders. Remember, a problem shared is a problem halved.
Try not to let it consume your life. With caregiving being such a personal role, it’s easy for it to merge into your personal life. It’s important to have other tasks that you can enjoy and focus on that are different from your job. It could be hiking, reading, spending time with friends…anything you feel that recharges your batteries. This can be especially challenging to not let this happen if you are caring for a partner who needs help ALL the time.
Reward yourself. Carers deserve a lot of credit, and if you feel like you’re not getting the credit you deserve, give it to yourself! External validation is not necessary for you to realise what a great job you’re doing; find some ways you can reward yourself and celebrate the small wins.
Spread the responsibility. Family and friends are always there to help you in times of need. By spreading the responsibility of caring for a loved one, you give yourself more time to recuperate the energy that might have been drained.
Practice self-care. Everyone’s definition of self-care is different, it’s personal to each of us. For some, it could be binge-watching the latest Netflix show and for others, it could be an intense fitness class. Finding ways to care for yourself is important as a carer, taking time for yourself can take away the feelings of overwhelm and help you feel more centered.
If you are a carer, it’s important for you to recognise the symptoms and warning signs of burnout and know how to manage them if they come. Our physical and mental health should be at the forefront of our minds, looking after it is the most important thing we can do! After all, if you’re not taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. 💛
Another one way to take care of yourself and your loved ones is to take out a life insurance policy. It is loving to be prepared should the worst happen, because we never know when life will throw something at us. 🤺 Take a look at our life insurance FAQs to see how we can support you.