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4 Signs of Caregiver Burnout

September 24, 2019

What is Burnout?

Burnout can include any state of mental, physical, or emotional exhaustion.  It is very common among workers today. And it can be especially prevalent in jobs where day to day activities involve taking care of someone else. Burnout is a state in which you will feel drained in any sense.

What is Caregiver Burnout?

Caregiver burnout is simply burnout in the context of a caregiver job. The physical, emotional, and mental tasks of being a caregiver are demanding. Emotional and mental exhaustion are common, but there are many ways to recognize the signs before it becomes a problem.

The Signs That Lead to Caregiver Burnout

1. Increased Frustration – If you constantly find yourself getting upset over things that may not have mattered before, you may be starting to get emotionally, mentally, or physically drained.

2. High Levels of Anxiety- You may have found yourself suddenly having high levels of anxiety surrounding different situations. It may be because you don’y feel in control of the situation you are in.

3. Trouble Sleeping- When you are drained it will be hard for your body to relax. Because of that you may find it hard to get some sleep at night. Even if you find yourself exhausted you may continually wake up or become restless.

4. Withdrawal from your Surroundings- Often, burnout will make you feel as if you can’t regain control of everything around you anymore. You may slowly start to withdraw from activities in your personal life or work life. This could mean you no longer feel able and ready to take care of the person you care for. That’s why it is very important to recognize the signs and take action when you do.

How Do I know if it is Caregiver Burnout or Compassion Fatigue?

The two can go hand in hand, but to understand what is happening with you, you must understand the differences. Compassion fatigue is when you are strained from working with people that you see struggling. This is often when you see others suffering from traumatic events or emotional stress.

In dealing with the elderly, it is inherent that you will be working with a population that is more likely to suffer or to have faced traumatic experiences. This means that compassion fatigue can be very common as well. In fact, caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue can be exhibited at the same time. The difference is the source.

Why You Need to Address It

Any type of stress or exhaustion can cause complications to your health and well being. Beyond that, it won’t allow you to perform your job to the best of your ability. You may find that after some time, prolonged stress will lead to health issues.

Many people will neglect to take care of themselves if they do not see the physical symptoms of burnout, including something like excessive fatigue. But your mental health is as important as your physical health. They go hand in hand and need to be taken care of simultaneously.

Your caregiving responsibilities require you to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others. Whether you are taking care of your family members or others, you have a responsibility to yourself and others to make sure you are not in a state where you can’t perform the tasks required of you.  This is especially true if you are the primary caregiver for someone or you care for your loved one. The long term care you contribute to is an important part of our society, and everyone, especially those you reach, will need you to be the best you can be.

Prevent Burnout

One good way to be proactive about making sure you don’t reach a burnout point is to constantly evaluate how you are feeling. It’s easy to push things aside and assume they will get better, but that can lead to symptoms of burnout continually growing. And eventually it can get to a point where you won’t be able to fix the situation so easily. T

here are many resources available to you to keep yourself in the best physical, mental and emotional state for your care services. You can find ways to relax throughout the week, meditate on the reasons you feel like you are having high anxiety/stress, and you can even join caregiver support groups.

Conclusion

There are many different signs that could indicate you are suffering from caregiving stress that has lead to burnout. There isn’t going to be one simple thing that indicates you have reached a burnout point. You need to take into account the 4 different signs above, but also think about anything else that would indicate you are exhausted mentally, physically, or emotionally.

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