Taking care of a loved one with physical ailments and medical conditions can be very taxing. Let us be honest; it is downright brutal, and if working alone, overwhelming! The daily activities aligned with caring from someone can be overwhelming, impacting every part of your being. As a caregiver, self-care must be practiced. I can admit that I did not self-care very well. It created moments of depression and loneliness for me. Even with family around me, I did not think anyone cared about my needs. Remembering back on some of my caregiving days, and even now, this event saddens me. I snapped at my mommy because I was frustrated and sleep-deprived.
As a professional nurse, one would think I would have seen my emotions changing. The difference is, when working in a hospital setting, you care for your patients and go home. For me, taking care of someone just changed locations, and it was an ever-present reality. Bottom line, I needed a real break. I was reaching the mountain cliff of fatigue and burnout.
Twenty-years is a long time to have someone under your roof. Not all those years were total hands-on care. As a proactive caregiver advocate, the challenge always involved “paying attention” to everything to ensure things were as safe as possible. Keeping errors and mistakes away is a heavy responsibility. As a caregiver, staying on top of the daily requirements take a clear mind and capable body.
Solutions to prevent burnout start with self-care. It does become a balancing act. First, take care of yourself. Know your limitations and know when to ask for help. Find some alone time. Make a schedule as much as you can. Take naps and eat nutritious meals. Exercise is also essential. I took many walks. Walks and sometimes riding my bike helped to clear my mind, and it recharged my battery. Burnout and caregiving are a real thing! Take Care of You!