Caregivers come in all shapes and sizes, and so do their situations. They may have support from a team of caregivers, or friends or family, or they may be handling everything on their own.
Whatever the situation, caregivers have a few things in common. And burnout is a big one.
They are tired, pressed for time, are more likely to have sleep problems, and are more stressed than other people might be. During the holiday season, things can get pretty intense.
Are you a caregiver? It's important to realize that while you may want to do it all nobody can maintain a frenetic pace indefinitely. This is not a sprint. It's a marathon. And the holidays can make it an obstacle course.
5 Things You Should Watch Out For
1) Withdrawing from people you need
It helps to have someone to talk to. Even if you are usually the one giving comfort to others, change your ways just this once. Take support from others willing to give it. You may choose to turn to friends or family. There are also therapists and clergy available.
2) Trying too hard
Lower the bar. You may be trying too hard, with standards that are unrealistic. If you expect too much of yourself, if you feel you must redouble your efforts yet again trying to make your charge happy or more comfortable and can't make it happen, you may be setting yourself up for failure and unhappiness.
You may experience a change in appetite or weight. You may be eating too much. You may not be able to eat at all.
Your sleep patterns get out of whack. You may be up all night with insomnia, or you may be sleeping too much.
3) Disinterest in things you used to enjoy
Even if your days are pressed and crowded, find small amounts of time for yourself. Really, it's especially important to do this when things are hectic. Ten minutes to go for a walk, half an hour for a bath. Read a book and escape the daily pressures for awhile.
4) Strong mood swings
You may feel blue and irritable. You may be short-tempered and easily upset. Your feelings can be extreme and may change swiftly.
Are You on Your Way to Caregiver Burnout? WebMD.com. Retrieved Nov.29, 2016.
6 Signs of Caregiver Burnout. AARP.org. Retrieved Nov.29, 2016.