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Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

Providing care for a chronically ill family member can be incredibly challenging. It can also be an emotional roller-coaster, leaving the caregiver feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and alone.

Providing care for a loved one can leave the caregiver feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Caregivers need care, too.

Here are some suggestions for keeping your batteries charged and avoiding caregiver burnout.

Physical Self Care

  • Exercise regularly. Try to get at least one half hour of physical activity several days per week.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Good food helps provide the energy you need to cope.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. While these substances may seem to relieve stress momentarily, they can impair your ability to function.
  • Don't neglect your own health. Be sure to stay on schedule with your own healthcare providers.

Be patient with yourself and your feelings
Caregiving can take an emotional toll. Give yourself permission to laugh, engage in fun activities, and socialize. It's okay to feel angry, and even to cry. Telling yourself that your feelings are wrong can lead to emotional exhaustion and caregiver burnout.

Take time for you
One person can only spend so much time caring for others before it starts to leave them feeling empty and weakened. It's OK to ask for help.

Find support services.
Most communities have agencies and organizations to support caregivers. Support groups, counseling and respite care (people who take care of the loved one temporarily, allowing the caregiver to have a break) are more easily accessible than you might think. Avoid caregiver burnout by reaching out for support.

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