As my career has advanced I have found my own little niches that I am drawn to, "caring for the caregiver" is one. For those that are caregivers to their parents, children, spouse, or siblings, it is often the caring for their own self that is forgotten. Caring for themselves is one of the most important, one of the most often forgotten things they can do as a caregiver. In fact, when their needs are taken care of, the person they are caring for will benefit too. I would like to take the time to share a few tips, signs of burnout, and services available to caregivers.
Many times, attitudes and beliefs form personal barriers that stand in the way of caring for yourself.
Identifying personal barriers:
• Do you think you are being selfish if you put your needs first?
• Is it frightening to think of your own needs? What is the fear about?
• Do you have trouble asking for what you need? Do you feel inadequate if you ask for help?
• Do you feel you have to prove that you are worthy of the care recipient's affection? Do you do too much as a result?
Identifying signs of burnout:
• Physical :
Feeling tired most of the day
Feeling sick a lot
Change in appetite or sleep
Frequent headaches, back pain, muscle aches
Sense of failure or self-doubt
Feeling helpless, trapped
Loss of motivation
Having a negative outlook
Withdrawing and isolating
Using food or alcohol to cope
Taking frustrations out of others