Caring for a loved one is a HUGE responsibility, that only the brave and wholehearted can manage. The care you give your loved one, might sometimes go unnoticed and unappreciated, but today I wanted to reassure you that YOU ARE NOTICED,andYOU ARE APPRECIATED in more ways than you know.
Carer burnout is reported to be significantly higher in carers of family members with a disability.
The Australian Journal of General Practice conducted a research paper in April last year, to research the Factors associated with high psychological distress in primary carers of people with a disability.
The results showed that approximately 27% of carers had high psychological distress (that’s nearly 1 in 3 carers). Nearly half of the study population reported changes in their health and wellbeing and the majority (91%) needed to see a general practitioner (GP) but most delayed in doing so!
So how do you know if you are suffering carer burnout/fatigue?
Here are a few symptoms to look out for:
- Feeling overwhelmed, constantly worried, hopeless and/or sad
- Emotional and physical exhaustion
- Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep
- Changes in appetite, weight or both
- Becoming easily irritated or angry
- Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Having frequent headaches, bodily pain or other physical problems
- Feelings of wanting to hurt yourself or the person for whom you’re caring
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications
If you’re feeling any or a few of these symptoms, you may be suffering some form of carer burnout/fatigue.
Clawing your way back from burnout is a tough task! But with a little help you CAN come back into balance and happiness.
Here are 3 easy steps you can take to start the healing process:
1. Talk to someone about how you’re feeling
Even though you may not believe it right now, you’re extremely loved and respected within your family and circle of friends. They want to help you feel better on the inside and are waiting to hear from you! They are just as concerned about you, as you are.
Taking two hours to make a phone call or grab a coffee with a trusted friend/family member, so you can express how you’re feeling, will not only lighten the load off your shoulders, but also start the healing process. You’ll start to feel connected and supported again. You’ll even have the opportunity to shed a tear and release some of the built-up emotions you may have been storing for a long time.
2. Find a way to take regular breaks.
I know you think the world might fall apart if you’re not there managing everything. But I can assure you, it’ll be okay. You have other trusted people around you that will manage just fine, if you take some time for yourself.
Start by setting a couple of hours for yourself each week to rejuvenate. Whether it’s a cuppa with a friend, a walk on the beach, and exercise or meditation class or picking up a hobby again. Starting a weekly self-nurturing ritual, so you to recharge your batteries and come back to wholeness, is essential.
This is non-negotiable ME time! You, are just as important as your loved one. Without you and all the wonderful nurturing abilities you share each day, your loved one/s may not survive, but you don’t want to harm yourself (physically, emotionally or spiritually) in the process.
3. Visit your GP and ask for help
It’s ok to ask for help. Your GP is a link to the whole health care system. They can advise you on the best path forward for your situation, objectively and without judgement. They will most likely understand you and your family situation more intimately and provide referral advice if necessary.
Asking a professional for advice can be scary. You may feel like you’ve failed, because you’re not coping like you should. Or you may even feel others will judge you for how you’re feeling. It’s ok to feel exactly how you’re feeling. Your trusted circle will listen without judgement, and care for you no matter what!
Your life is about giving and supporting people in need. Sometimes, it’s ok to reverse the care and receive love and support in return. You don’t need to expect love and support from the person/s you’re caring for, but it’s ok to receive love and support from others!
These 3 simple steps have the potential to start the healing process, but only if you choose to take action. Your amazing strengths are needed now more than ever, so please take the time to look after yourself, so you give more of yourself in the future.
- Talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling
- Take some ‘ME’ time
- Ask for help!
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Have you experienced carer burnout and reached the other side? What steps did you take and what advice can you give the TCPM community so we can all come back into balance? Please leave a comment and share your story. Your story may help more people than you realise.
Sending you mountains of love, as you come back into balance!