What exactly is caregiver burnout? It’s a debilitating state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that comes about when a caregiver is under extended periods of stress. Caring for an elderly person or someone with serious medical issues or disabilities can be challenging and may require many sacrifices. Burnout is a red flag that announces you need to make some changes and find a healthy life balance. Here are three signs to look out for:
You are depressed, angry, or experience mood swings
This is perhaps the most common sign of caregiver burnout. Seeing a loved one struggle with health issues and disability, while you deal with increased demands on your time, can have a profound emotional impact. It’s natural, even healthy, to express sadness or frustration with the situation. However, extreme emotions, such as depression, will damage your wellbeing and make it difficult to care for others.
You become ill often
This sign is easy to miss and can wreak havoc on your health. Stress takes a toll on the body, especially on the hormones and immune system. It leaves you vulnerable to every stray bug that may come your way. You may also take longer to recover when you get sick. If you notice this, it is time to come up with some new stress management strategies. You won’t be able to help anyone if your own health is compromised.
You neglect yourself
Too many caregivers take care of everyone except for themselves. After all, there are only so many hours in a day. When you care for a person who needs a lot of time and attention, something in your schedule has to give. If you sacrifice all of these things to free up time for others, your stress levels will skyrocket and you’ll be on the road to burnout. Relieve stress by pursuing your hobbies or spending time with friends.