What Is Caregiver Burnout & How Can You Prevent It?
According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), there are approximately 210,000 caregivers in Singapore. Most of them have given up their careers and dreams to be physically and emotionally present for their loved ones.
As noble the deed may be, it comes with a significant challenge, one that caregivers are well aware of but deliberately ignore – stress.
Taking care of a bedridden loved one can be an extremely stressful experience. However, most caregivers brush it off, citing love or obligation as the reason for doing so.
But that’s not how it should be.
The stress accumulates over time, and if left unchecked, there comes a time when you can no longer bear it, leading to ‘caregiver burnout.’
If you’re hearing about this for the first time, you’re not alone.
Many people experience caregiver burnout despite not knowing what it is.
Well, that’s where we come in.
We’re writing this blog to help you understand the concept as well as how you can prevent it.
So, let’s get to it:
What Is Caregiver Burnout?
Also known as caregiver fatigue, caregiver burnout refers to physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion resulting from the burden of taking caring of a loved one.
It’s often accompanied by a range of negative emotions, such as feeling:
Caregiving burnout can be so intense that you start feeling guilty for prioritizing your needs over others.
(Remember To Read: 5 Reasons Why Caregiving Is a Meaningful Job)
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Caregiver Fatigue?
The symptoms of caregiver fatigue are quite similar to those of anxiety or depression. They can be physical and emotional, including but not limited to:
- Too much or too little sleep
- Withdrawal from social gatherings, like friends or family
- Loss of interest in activities you used to find exciting
- Overreacting to even the smallest of issues
- Projecting angry outbursts on those around you
- Resentment towards your caregiving duties
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling you’ve lost control of your life
- Thoughts of hurting the person you’re taking care of
How To Prevent Caregiver Burnout?
The first thing you need to understand is that caring for your loved one can never be stress-free. Since your personal life clashes with your professional life, it’ll be challenging to find a balance considering you can leave neither.
Fortunately, you can ease your burdens and prevent caregiver fatigue by following a few tips. Here’s what they are:
- 1. Accept Your Responsibilities
It often feels unfair to take care of your loved one. You constantly ask yourself, ‘Why me?’. Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer to this question, which is why you need to accept it as it is.
So, look at the situation positively instead of feeling sorry for yourself. Hope that the good you are doing now will be returned to you in one way or another.
- 2. Ask For Help
Many times, caregivers experience burnout because they’re managing everything by themselves. But you’d be surprised to know how many friends or family members would be willing to lend a helping hand – if you ask for it.
Finding someone else to replace you for a few days can give you the time to recharge and re-energize. And if no one’s available, you can approach companies that provide qualified caregiving services.
- 3. Make Time for Yourself
Just because you’re caring for someone doesn’t mean you can’t step out. Depending on your loved one’s condition, you should consider it.
For instance, if they have just taken medication and need a few minutes of rest, you can step out, bask in the sun, and breathe fresh air.
No one’s telling you to vanish for hours, but taking a stroll down the neighborhood should be enough.
- 4. Share Your Feelings
Sometimes, all you need to lessen your emotional baggage is to share them with someone. It could be a colleague or neighbor, as long as you get to talk about your feelings.
Although we don’t recommend this to everyone because of budget constraints, if you can afford it, talk to a professional therapist. They are better equipped to handle what you’re going through and can suggest possible treatments to make you feel better.
- 5. Take Some Time Off
One of the primary reasons you feel stressed while tending to your loved one is because you’re walking and chewing gum at the same time. This means you’re fulfilling personal obligations and performing professional tasks simultaneously.
Since it would be unwise to give up your family for your career, take a few days off work. And considering companies in Singapore allow 12 days of annual leave, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Because Family Is Irreplaceable
We get it – taking care of an ill or bedridden family member can put you at a crossroads. On the one hand, you want to be there for them. But on the other, you have to look after yourself too, so you don’t feel burnt out.
The good news is, you can lessen the stress of your caregiving duties to a great extent by following the tips we’ve mentioned above. And in the rare event they don’t work, rest assured; you’ve got a better alternative – Top Faith.
We’re one of the leading agencies in Singapore known for employing the most qualified caregiving professionals. Whether you want to hire one on a temporary or permanent basis, our caregivers will tend to your loved one so you can take a much-needed break.