Signs of caregiver burnout are endless. Here, we focus on the 6 signs of caregiver burnout. These 6 signs of caregiver burnout have a common occurrence. As a caregiver, you must have been experiencing these.
What makes you a caregiver?
You are a caregiver if you are providing mental or physical care or both to:
- People with a physical injury who have lost independence
- People with mental health issues
- People with chronic illnesses
- People with physical disabilities
- People with life-threatening diseases
- Old people requiring 24*7 support for necessary life activities
Your care recipient can be someone outside your family. Old people do not only need care. Any person of any age can need care. There are professional caregivers as well as non-professional ones like your friend, family members, or neighbors.
What is caregiver burnout?
You must have a job or household chores. When you are acting as a caregiver, your responsibilities get added up. You hardly have time for yourself. It doesn’t help the case if you are a professional caregiver. Feeling of mental and physical exhaustion is common. You are torn between the need of taking a break and wanting to do more as a caregiver.
Feeling burnout never makes you a bad caregiver. Society has always considered caregiving as a holy concept. While doing so, it has dehumanized the feelings of caregivers. You have your own responsibilities. You are also a caregiver. Performing your roles and giving your best as a caregiver is overwhelming.
Why does caregiver burnout happen?
As a caregiver, you neglect your mental and emotional health. Besides, the responsibilities of a caregiver are never-ending. This causes fatigue. In worst-case scenarios, you hardly have time to eat, sleep and rest. Your physiological needs can get neglected. Burnout happens due to deterioration of emotional, mental, or physical health. When responsibilities get piled up or there is no external help, these three gets affected.
6 signs of caregiver burnout
Let’s shed light on the 6 signs of caregiver burnout.
1. You have no social life – most prominent among the 6 signs of caregiver burnout
Your life has become limited. It is piled up with caregiving responsibilities. You hardly have time to meet with your friends and relatives. This causes zero social life. Almost every caregiver ends up experiencing this as one of the 6 signs of caregiver burnout. Even if you get any free time, you spend it worrying over trivial matters.
Besides, caregivers are reluctant to socialize. They think they should not have the pleasure of social life when their loved ones are at home waiting for them. If you think so, you are indeed wrong. Striking a balance between social life and important duties will make you happy. We know that all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. So, you will also perform best if you enjoy some free time.
2.You have become irritated and cranky
You feel irritation all the time. You have also lost interest in your hobbies. You don’t even watch your favorite shows. This is related to feeling hopeless and depressed. Respite care can be a good option for you. Caregivers tend to get overwhelmed. They feel it’s the ultimate need to over-sacrifice. But, it spells a negative cast on life quality. You end up getting irritated.
3.You feel emotional and vulnerable
Taking care of someone with chronic illnesses is a heavy responsibility. It is rewarding when the health of your care recipient improves. But, it’s normal to worry thinking about the health issues of your care recipient. You experience changes in emotional health. Caring for your loved ones exposes you to both responsibilities and emotional changes. Besides, you may miss out on your lunch or dinner. You may have been sacrificing sleep. This makes you fall asleep during daily activities. You should not hesitate to seek help from your family and friends.
4. You are developing negative health habits
An individual when stressed can develop negative habits. Yes, it’s true you should not be using stress as an excuse. But, heavy responsibilities can make you skip meals. Sleep pattern also gets affected. But, it’s not always limited to skipping meals and losing sleep. Caregivers can also get addicted to drugs and smoking. This is the most damaging out of the 6 signs of caregiver burnout. Therefore, it’s better to seek help as early as possible.
5. Poor impact on the immune system
This may surprise you out of the 6 signs of caregiver burnout. As mentioned earlier, you may lose sleep and meals. Besides, you tend to overthink when caring for your loved ones. You tend to overwork. You are juggling domestic work and the caregiver role. If you have children and office work, the pressure seems to reach the sky. This takes a toll on your health. This makes you more prone to fall ill. The immune system functions well when you are well-fed and well-rested. So, you should take out time for eating healthy and take a moment to yourself. A short alone time can do wonders for your mental health.
6. You have become exhausted all the time
You hardly have time for yourself. Caregiving is a roller-coaster journey. When you are not caring, you are running errands. When you are not working, you are reeling under overthinking. When was the last time you went on a vacation? When was the last time you slept peacefully? We are not advising you to ditch your responsibility. You need to take a few moments of rest. You will function better both as a family member and caregiver.
Normalize feeling caregiver burnout. You need to have open interactions with family and friends. If you are a family caregiver, you need to delegate responsibilities among family members. You can join support groups for caregivers. Meeting with people going through similar experiences can give you mental strength.
Being a caregiver is difficult and time-consuming. Your mental and physical health can get negatively affected. Starting from feeling exhausted to forgetting how to socialize, being a caregiver is a bumpy ride. You should not let go of your responsibilities. But, don’t forget to take a break once in a while.
Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.