[By Gary E. Wood]
At work you are an executive, a leader among leaders, looked to for critical direction. At home or in your extended family you are a caregiver, depended on for critical care. That’s a demanding role but one you accept with grace.
The family caregiver has been and continues to be central to the long-term well being of millions. Whether it’s for a family member or for anyone else in the community, the day-in-day-out burden of care can be stressful.
To care for those in your community or someone you love is right and rewarding. To collapse under the responsibility of that care is regrettable and in most cases preventable.
Caregiver burnout can end the individual up in the same place as burnout does for anyone else in any profession – discouraged, emotionally exhausted and feeling helpless and hopeless. Combine caregiving with your demanding position at work and the daily burden of responsibility you feel may sometimes feel excessive.
Caregivers often forgo their own physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. This marching caregiver stress eventually leads to frustration, exhaustion and anxiety.
You feel trapped, alone with a never ending task that stretches out ahead of you with little relief. You believe that even feeling this way is wrong. After all, love, compassion, respect and care should only have the most generous of feelings toward the one so depending on your care.
To help with preventing caregiver burnout you need to know the signs.
Caregiver stress can show up as:
- Frustration and irritability
- Problems with sleeping
- Loss of energy, lethargic
- Loss of involvement in activities you enjoy
- Loss or gain in weight
- Anger – sometimes directed at the very one you care for
- Sadness and discouragement
- Headaches, stomach problems, small unexplained ailments
- Solutions to Help With Preventing Caregiver Burnout
Find and make use of support services. Inquire about services from your doctor, drug store, local agencies or yellow pages. If services exist in your area, somebody knows about it.
Start or attend a support group. There is great assistance being in the company of others who understand. Absolutely one of the essential keys to preventing caregiver burnout is knowing you have other people in your corner.
Have a network of friends, family, people around you. We can get through so much if we know we have people we can talk to, people who care about us and how we are doing. Don’t isolate yourself. Reach out to your network.
Access respite care for temporary relief. Get a break. Others are available to help. The greatest thing you can do to take care of someone else is to take care of yourself.
Make use of counseling. Talk through your situation with a trained professional who understands and can help you with implementing new strategies as you move forward.
Take caregiver training. You may pick up insights, techniques and strategies that will make your job easier.
Know there comes a time to let others assume care. Not always, but often, there comes a time when you need to provide that absolute best care by letting others step in and assist. This isn’t abdicating your responsibilities, it’s getting the very best possible for the person you care about. Assign others the responsibility of physical care. And you continue the task of loving.
Learn problem-solving skills. Be proactive and find solutions to those things that create stress, like mobility, use of space and time management problems. Many things are problems with solutions. Getting those taken care of leaves more energy for the more emotionally demanding concerns.
Develop technical skills. It might now take much to learn some technical things that will make life much easier for you. Ask someone to show you. Write a step by step procedure down so you can follow it more easily.
Learn how to deal with problem or challenging behaviors. Taking a course, reading a helpful book, searching online or asking a professional for some strategies can make the world of difference in how you respond to the behaviors of those you care for.
Know how valuable you are. To care for another is a high calling. Your love and practical care go well beyond what you can see from your limited view. It is having effects far beyond what you can imagine.
About the Author
Executive Coach, Gary Wood works internationally with leaders, executives and organizations to beat burnout, build capacity and less stressfully but more effectively move forward significant causes, projects and programs. Gary’s book, “52 Solutions for Those Who Need a 25 Hour Day” contains 52 essential strategies for leaders who are serious about improving day-to-day effectiveness. Gary’s website is http://www.gewood.com
Article Source: Both Executive and Caregiver? Avoiding Burnout