You have probably heard it: Caregivers need care too.
There are some things that are hard to grasp unless you’ve lived the experience, and I have. I have cared for a family member with a serious mental illness, and, later, for my husband through his final years of declining health. I do understand how hard your service is, and how important your own health is in order for you to avoid total burnout.
A caregiver is someone who helps a family member, friend, or neighbor who is sick or has a disability. An informal or family caregiver often often with basic daily tasks. About 1 in 4 Americans are caregivers. Most also have other jobs and spend an average of 24 hours per week caring for a loved one. When you are caring for someone it can be hard to take care of your own health. Caregivers are more at risk for colds and flu (even before COVID-19) and are more likely to have long-term health problems (like arthritis, diabetes, or depression).
“We are all just walking each other home.”
– Ram Dass
Caregiver stress, if not addressed, can lead to burnout. If you get sick or burn out you can’t continue to care for your loved one. Some signs of caregiver stress are:
- Feeling angry or sad
- Feeling like it’s more than you can handle
- Feeling like you have no time to care for yourself
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Having trouble eating, or eating too much
- Losing interest in things you used to enjoy
If you recognize any of these signs, or if you just need to check in with someone, call or email me for an initial consultation.