Recognize the signs of caregiver burnout, and when you do, ask for help from those around you.
The support you need is a chance to get away from caregiving as the “Lone Ranger” for a while. Therefore, try to get away for a day or two or at least to share your caregiver burden with someone else.
If you find that you feel resentment, seek someone to meet with for counseling.
Professional counseling may be useful but may not be essential. Sometimes all you need is a trusted friend with whom you can share your feeling without fear of judgment. Often, making peace with your situation goes a long way in resolving the stress and burnout symptoms that plague your mental health.
Get some fresh air and exercise.
I’m not talking about an exercise program unless you want to do one because many of us don’t have the time to commit to anything formal but instead break the exercise down into 5-10-minute segments that you enjoy. Turn the radio up while doing the dishes and dance around, “pump-iron” with your clothes as you fold them, buy an electronic peddler to use periodically while you sit at your desk, and feed your special needs child. Be creative and develop an activity you like to do, and turn it into an exercise routine. Take it outside, and you get to add Vit. D, and Vit. C to the mix.
Monitor your own health needs.
Keep up with your annual health and dental appointments, eat a well-balanced diet, and drink plenty of water. Try to get enough sleep that you feel refreshed in the morning, but if you can’t, try to nap during the day. Even brief naps of 20-30 minutes are restorative.
Learn to accept help.
I had a tough time accepting offers of help, but I came to realize that when I denied people the opportunity to help, I was taking away their joy. People feel good when they help. When I deny them the ability to help me, I’m taking away their opportunity to feel good. Once I realized my mistake, it was a little easier to say yes to their offers.
Focus on what you can control.
Do you know the Serenity Prayer? “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Remember, you can’t control everything. Pray for the wisdom to know the difference and to let go of what you can’t change.
If you can put these practices into action daily, you’ll find it much easier to avoid burnout.