4 Ways to Avoid Burnout and Manage Stress as a Caregiver
Supporting your physical and mental health as a caregiver is just as important as caring for family members living with disabilities or experiencing long-term illness. Sadly, burnout and stress are a reality for many caregivers, and at Direct Care Innovations, we understand the heavy burden that is often placed on your shoulders. Read through these four practical ways to avoid burnout and manage stress while caring for your loved one.
Signs You’re Experiencing Caregiver Burnout or Stress
Knowing what to watch for is the first step toward avoiding burnout and stress. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to intentionally find ways to care for yourself while caring for your loved one:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling resentful
- Drinking, smoking, or eating more
- Constantly exhausted
- Trouble relaxing or concentrating
- Feeling hopeless
- More irritable and impatient than usual
- Worsening health problems
How to Avoid Burnout & Manage Stress
Feeling hopeless is a common symptom of caregiver stress. While you may feel stuck as if nothing will change, you can find relief and alleviate stress from the daily burdens of caregiving by practicing these coping strategies:
1. Accept Your Situation
Too much energy can be spent on trying to change things that simply cannot be changed. When you begin to feel like your situation is unfair (and it may be), try not to dwell on the negativity surrounding your circumstances. Learning to accept your particular situation will empower you to take further steps to reduce stress and stay clear of burnout.
2. Practice Self-Care
It’s very easy for caregiving to consume your life. A great way to combat that is to practice self-care. Focus on activities or hobbies that bring you joy, whether that’s baking, gardening, reading, exercising, or any number of activities that can help you feel refreshed. Actively schedule a time to get out of the house and get together with friends or family, or do something by yourself. Ask other family members to fill in when you’re gone, even if it’s only an hour or two at a time.
3. Ask for Help
It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the demands of caregiving on your own. If you don’t ask for help, you will find yourself spinning out of control toward burnout and stress. Delegating tasks can relieve some of your responsibilities. Ask family members to pick up medications, run to the grocery store, or take your loved one to doctor’s appointments. Respite care, either in or out of the home, may also be available through local respite service agencies.
4. Support Your Own Health
It can be difficult to care for someone else when you’re not in the best physical or mental health. Prioritize your physical health by scheduling annual check-ups and following up with your doctor in regard to any concerns. Exercise as often as you can, even if it’s simply walking through the neighborhood or practicing yoga in your living room. Eating a healthy diet and getting the proper amount of sleep can greatly increase your capacity for handling stress. If you are struggling with depression or anxiety or feeling overwhelmed by your caregiving responsibilities, seek out a trusted counselor who can help.
Supporting Direct Support Providers & Managed Care Agencies
Direct Care Innovations provides healthcare management software for home and community-based providers, residential programs, adult day centers, parenting programs, and more, allowing direct support providers to better serve their clients. Our health services authorization software features several modules such as care management, payroll time and attendance, electronic visit verification, and vendor payment and employer reimbursement. Contact our team at (480) 295-3307 or request a sales demo today.
Source: Smith, M.A., Melinda. “Caregiver Stress and Burnout.” Web article. HelpGuide.org. Web. 01 May. 2023.