Google “Caregiver Stress” and you will find thousands of articles on the dangers of stress and burnout. We’re always hearing caregivers say things like, “I was under so much stress I thought I would go before my mother!” Stress and burnout are incredibly common, and every single caregiver we know has gone through some really tough times. Here are the lessons we’ve learned.
Everyone needs a break
No matter how much we tell ourselves we can just keep going, nobody can look after someone else without regular breaks. You may need a day off each week or maybe just a weekend out of town every couple of months, but you can’t be “on duty” all the time without burning out. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to establish your limits and needs.
Give tasks to family and friends
If you’re the primary caregiver, you’re probably finding that not only are you doing almost all the work, the rest of your family isn’t even aware of half the things you do! Unfortunately, this is pretty normal, especially if your siblings live far away. The best way to involve them is to assign tasks to them like visiting each month, cooking a weekly meal, taking your loved one to an activity, or managing their bills. When someone asks “how can I help,” give them a list! And use these times to look after yourself and your own life.
Go ahead and vent
Anyone in a high-stress job needs to blow off steam from time to time, and you’re doing one of the highest stress jobs on the planet! Sharing your frustrations with friends who understand is really important: you can’t keep it all bottled up inside. Remember, Kinto is always here to listen.
Your health is as important as your loved ones
The more your loved one depends on you, the more important it is to stay healthy yourself. Stress causes all kinds of problems like sleepless nights, easily catching colds and flus, and much more serious problems like high blood pressure. Stress is also hard on marriages and friendships which can lead to even more stress. When you find yourself getting run down by caregiving, it’s a sign that you have to pull back and look after yourself. Kinto can help you find services that can take on some of the burden to give yourself more time for you. Just ask.