• Kim Kellum, LPC

5 ways for caring for the exhausted care giver


According to WebMD Care giver burnout is defined as such, "Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that may be accompanied by a change in attitude -- from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Burnout can occur when caregivers don't get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able -- either physically or financially. Caregivers who are "burned out" may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression. Many caregivers also feel guilty if they spend time on themselves rather than on their ill, elderly loved ones, spouses or even children and friends.

1) Admit you are tired. It's okay! So often the caregiver feels like they should have the energy of the energizer bunny. Guess what? Even his batteries have to be changed. So admit to yourself that you are tired and do not allow guilt to seep into that statement. It's good to recognize the feelings on all levels.

2) Take a break. Give yourself time to pamper yourself for just a little while. Maybe that pampering is a restful time on the beach or a camping trip in the mountains. Or maybe just a hot bubble bath and a massage. Give yourself time to renew.

3) Be honest. If you need to have help with the children, or the home or the dependent one that you are caring for, look for help. Ask for it!

4) Therapy. Don't be afraid to get therapy for burn out. You can tell your counselor all about the emotions, feelings, frustrations without judgment. We often think we can just tell our friends and that is enough. It often isn't. Also, going to a therapist doesn't mean you have a "mental disorder." Often therapy simply means you need to have the ability to vent with a 3rd party that can help you navigate through the emotions of this journey you are on. Therapy gives you a place to find respite. Therapy groups are great for finding out that you are not alone in your journey! You would be surprised how many others are going through similar trials.

5) Set boundaries. Know your limits. if you are taking care of too many tasks or people, admit your limits. You may need to sit down and write down the needs you have in your life and set boundaries for each of those limits. It's all about taking care of you, so that you can take care of others.

So, admit your needs, take a step back and rest, be honest with where you are at and don't be afraid to see a counselor that could help you with boundary setting. Care enough to care for yourself.


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