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Caregiver burnout: the warning signs

Younger woman caring for an older woman – watching for signs of a burn-out

Warning signs of burnout

Burnout hits you when you least expect it – when you’re deeply involved in your caregiving role.   
 
Feeling burnt out, you find it harder to care for your loved one. And to make matters worse, he or she can sense that you’re tired, irritated or stressed. 
 
So it’s important to take action as soon as you spot any of these warning signs:
 
  • You’ve lost a lot of energy 
  • You feel tired all day, even after a good night's sleep 
  • You’ve started avoiding your family and friends
  • You’re losing interest in activities you used to enjoy (sports or hobbies)
  • You neglect your own needs
  • You have trouble relaxing
  • Your life revolves around caregiving but you no longer find it fulfilling
  • You feel sad and hopeless, nervous or angry
  • You’ve lost or gained weight for no apparent reason
  • You fall sick more often than normal 
  • You’re impatient and irritable towards the person you’re caring for
  • You feel like hurting yourself or the person you’re caring for
Never ignore these signs. Taking preventive action early will allow you to recharge and regain your strength.

How to avoid burnout

Here are 3 simple tips that can help you avoid and overcome caregiver burnout:

1. Sharing the caring

Share your feelings with a friend, family member or neighbour. Talk about the good and the bad moments of your experience as a caregiver.

2. Staying positive

Smile to people, laugh with them, and do things you enjoy. Humour is a great way to deal with stress and moments of depression.

3. Try to stay in good health

It’s natural to experience feelings such as sadness or anger. Don’t blame yourself – or your loved one. Those negative feelings will pass. Just stay focused on your caregiving and the positive effect it has on your loved one. 

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