Caring for a loved one who is advancing in age can be difficult. Your life is suddenly filled with new responsibilities you failed to anticipate. With all the bathing and feeding and making sure all the medications are taken at the proper times, many caregivers put taking care of yourself at the bottom of the list.
Before long, you start to feel rundown more than normal. You may feel irritable and like there’s never enough time in the day. These are symptoms of caregiver burnout, which is when the severe stress builds up so much that your mental and physical states begin to shut down as if to tell you that enough is enough.
If you are facing this same type of burnout, know that you’re not alone. You should also know that burning out can affect the quality of care you provide to your loved one.
It’s said that nearly half of all caregivers suffer from depression, which is only one sign of burnout. The others include much lower energy than normal, constantly feeling sick and rundown, and complete exhaustion coupled with insomnia. Not a fun time, that’s for sure.
More often than not, caregiver burnout leaves you feeling helpless and hopeless.
What can you do about it? Here are five ways to improve your energy, mood, and quality of life so that you can get back to what matters most: taking care of your loved one as best you can.
How to Get Your Energy Back Following Caregiver Burnout
1- See Your Doctor
The first course of action should be to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. There may be underlying causes for burnout symptoms like high blood pressure or low blood sugar. Your doctor can administer the proper tests to get you back on track to better health.
2- Move Your Body
Exercise has immense benefits for the body and mind, which makes it a terrific remedy for caregiver burnout. You don’t need a gym membership to fit a little fitness into your life. Walking briskly around the block or dancing indoors with your favorite music can be enough to benefit. Every minute you move, you increase the levels of oxygen to your heart, lungs, and brain. When combined with the burst of endorphins caused by exercise, you could start feeling reinvigorated right away. Keep it up, and you’ll reap untold benefits, including possibly weight loss and a new lease on life! At any rate, your loved one is sure to approve if you manage to boost your mood with the power of exercise.
3- Meditate Often
Sometimes we get so worked up that we forget to stop and take a moment to ourselves. The solution is to find a quiet place, close your eyes, and clear your mind. Meditating this way for five to ten minutes can significantly improve your life. Clearing all of your thoughts won’t be easy at first, but soon you will find yourself concentrating on your deep breathing with quiet reflection. If meditation isn’t your thing, find a beginner’s Yoga class or look on YouTube for an alternative routine to relax your muscles and mind while boosting your energy.
4- Eat Healthily
You will feel better and be in a better mood if you manage to feed your body with healthy foods that fuel your energy. When you add fresh fruit, whole grains, lean protein, vegetables, beans, and healthy fats like nuts and olive oil to your diet, you will have steady energy that should serve you well for all your caregiving duties.
5- Sleep Well
While burnout can make it difficult to get a good night’s rest, try to get eight hours of sleep a night. Go to bed earlier, limit your screen time to two hours before bed, and do your best to clear your mind, ease stress, and limit caffeine and sugary foods to make slumber easier. Your body cannot truly rest and recharge without adequate sleep. Do yourself a favor and get the best sleep you can for improved quality of life.
Caring for your loved one is a noble endeavor, but you must take time to care for yourself. Whenever you find yourself overcome with fatigue and stress to the point of breakdown, you are doing your loved one a disservice. You may even be putting your loved one in danger.
Instead, follow the above five tips above and keep yourself operating with full efficiency so that you can continue giving your loved one the very best care.
Feeling burned out as a caregiver? Infinite Love Homecare offers respite home care services for caregivers who need a little break while giving their loved ones the very best care. Contact us today to see if we are the ideal fit for your respite care needs in Orange County, California.