The Caregiver’s Guide to Self-care

two people talking about caregiving

Caregiving is not easy. It is emotionally, physically, and financially draining. A caregiver is under the constant stress of taking care of his family. And in my time as an advocate for caregiver research, I have seen that it often leads to caregiver’s burnout.

What Is A Caregiver’s Burnout?

Years of studies and research have highlighted the issue of burnout in caregivers. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. Stressed caregivers may experience fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

One study found that stress was noted by 45% of those caring for a spouse or parent, 35 percent for another relative, and 18 % for non-relatives. 

Stress was reported by 52 percent of co-resident carers and 34 percent of non-resident caregivers.

And yes, it is preventable and be avoided.

The thing is, caregivers are frequently so preoccupied with caring for others that they overlook their own emotional, physical, and spiritual health. 

The demands placed on a caregiver’s body, mind, and emotions can quickly become overpowering, resulting in exhaustion, despondency, and, eventually, burnout.

How Can Caregiver Burnout Be Prevented?

Some ways to prevent burnout include joining a caregiver support group and using respite care services. Caregivers looking for simple methods to include fitness into their daily routine can try walking and yoga.

therapist talking to caregiver

Set Realistic Goals

Set realistic goals and recognize that you may require assistance with caring, and delegate certain duties to others. 

Talk To A Friend Or Therapist

Find someone you can talk to about your thoughts and difficulties, such as a friend, coworker, or neighbor.

Many support groups offer therapy and support in person as well as online if you can’t travel for any reason. And many caregivers opt for these options because it helps them understand that they are not alone.

Ask around, and you may also find that family members of persons suffering from diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s may be offered by local organizations or places of worship. 

These groups may also offer respite care to give caregivers time apart from the sick.

Create New Coping Strategies

It is always important to look at the glass as half full. When I lost my wife, I felt my world had ended. But I can see now how my journey can help so many others.

Here are some tips from me:  

Remember to smile and emphasize the good. To cope with everyday stressors, use humor. Take care of yourself and maintain your health by eating well and getting plenty of exercise and rest.

Read More About My Journey

Being a caregiver and family member of someone with cancer can often get emotionally and physically draining for many people. I, Patrick Palmer, am a caregiving activist and writer. My books,  ‘A Husband’s Guide to Hands-On Caregiving,’ ‘The Healing of a Caregiver’ and ‘Are You Prepared to be a Caregiver,’ are available. You can learn more about my journey through my books and my website.