Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress and Burnout

2 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

What is the noblest thing on Earth?

If you ask me, I’d always say, ‘Taking Care of Others,’ not because I want to impress you or anyone but because I believe that in a world that is constantly shattering with one tragic news after another, nothing compares to letting someone know that they are not alone. Just think of the last time you fell ill and your mother/ sister/ brother/ father/ S.O. took care of you; weren’t you touched by their simple gestures?

 However, while being on the receiving end undoubtedly feels good, the situation can be too demanding and steep at times that the one on the giving end can become overwhelmed. So, if you have been feeling that way lately, it’s completely alright- we all need a perfect balance between taking care of and feeling cared for- but at the same time, don’t just ignore the feeling completely as it can take a toll on your health, body and relationships leading to frustration and burnout.

Secondly, if you, too, are a dedicated caregiver, you must understand that falling prey for the stress and burnout means you’ll be struggling to do anything for your own self, let alone others. So, the point is- before you take care of others, you have to take care of yourself. For the same reason, today, I’d like to share some tips that I myself have found effective in keeping stress at bay and take much better care of others and myself.  

Focus on the bigger picture

True that sometimes your job can be excessively demanding, leaving you puzzled as to why on Earth nobody cares for you as much as you do for others. When such feelings start to take over, just take a step back and focus on the bigger picture; doing so will help you revitalize and reinstate the positive outlook towards the task at hand.

If you are professional caregiver, accept your choice of career and remember why you started in the first place. You will definitely regain some perspective. And, if you are a mother, an elder sister or just a friend taking care of your kid, siblings or someone close to you, understand that this is not a competition. Embrace the feeling of joy instead; you will feel proud once you have come through the dilemma.

 Pay attention to your diet

Have you ever noticed how some people are always so active and full of energy all the time? It’s because they pay attention to what goes inside their body. So, stop losing the battle to fast food, strong alcoholic drinks and guilty pleasure and choose a healthy, balanced diet instead.

Make some minor tweaks in your diet so that you consume calories according to your BMI, also ensuring the ratio of consumption of Proteins to Carbs to Fat is in 4:5:1 along with some fibers and roughage. Shun the oily and fat-rich recipes, start cooking healthy breakfast meals like oats, sprouts or eggs along with an essential glass of milk. This should do you an awful lot of good and in general uplift your mood as well as body energy levels.

 Make it a habit to Exercise daily

A habit of meditation or yoga or even a morning jog can do wonders in uplifting your mood and increase your energy and threshold for fatigue. There have been innumerable success stories where men and women have thanked yoga and exercise for the betterment in their physical as well as mental health.

In fact, exercising also helps increase emotional and psychological resilience of an individual. So, just like you brush your teeth every day, make it a habit to exercise daily.

 Keep yourself hydrated

While it might seem extremely crude, drinking 3 liters of water every day goes a long way in infusing the agility and activeness we otherwise feel devoid of. Water is by its core nature a stress releasing and freshness infusing liquid so there’s no point of losing your mind just because you were actually thirsty.

In case you are a sucker for incentives, it is also your license to eat more and yet stay fitter.

 Ask for help

There will be times where you’ll have more on your plate than you can handle. Instead of feeling over stressed and drowned by it, SPEAK UP! Try letting people know and share responsibilities with those around you.

Until you don’t share your situation, people might not even realize the stress you’re under. Stop overthinking, simply go out and seek help.

 Don’t ignore the ME time

“All work and no play….” makes sense in every aspect of life and to kick out the dullness from it you need to distract yourself from work from time to time. Revive your hobbies and interests, invest some time in yourself and do whatever makes you feel happy. What about the sketchbook that you ditched in the ninth grade? How about the guitar you used to play in your high school? How about reviving one of these?

To sum up, always take pride in your care-giving choice and don’t hesitate to ask for help when water goes above your nose.

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