The Sandwich Spot

Four tips to prevent caregiver burnout

As promised, this week’s blog will focus on taking care of yourself. Listen, this is not an optional step. It’s not a suggestion. It is VITAL that you, the caregiver, take care of yourself.

Picture a hot summer day. Scorching hot. You’ve been outside for a few hours and in desperate need of water. Someone hands you a cup and says enjoy. You put the cup to your mouth only to realize it’s empty. Nothing. You tried to pour cold water from an empty cup. That doesn’t work.

Now consider your loved ones needing your help. You can’t. There’s no energy, desire, or stamina. Nothing. Because of that, you cannot pour into your family.

This, my friend, is labeled caregiver burnout.

So, how do you prevent caregiver burnout?

Build a support network.

#1: You need a tribe. A trusted individual (or two) to listen to the vent sessions. Those people who will support you through difficult decisions. You know the people who will bring a meal when you are over and done. You cannot survive the caregiving journey alone.

#2: Create a schedule. Living life on a whim doesn’t work when you’re responsible for multiple people. Create a list of to-do items. You don’t have to be responsible for all the items.

#3: Take time out every day.  Being a caregiver is hard work. It can take a toll on you physically and emotionally. Take time in the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of your day to just deep breathe. I would encourage you to practice mindfulness. Find a quiet spot in your home and declare this spot as your time out space. Here’s the key: Make sure you can be undisturbed for 10 min (minimum). Sit and focus on one positive thing. I like to focus on an affirmation.

#4: Exercise. This may be the farthest thing from your mind. But, keeping yourself physically healthy is important. Again, you can’t pour from an empty cup. If your body isn’t healthy and functional, you are limited in your caregiving ability. I don’t mean run a marathon or go hardcore bodybuilding. Just walk a little. Add strength training to your daily routine. ***TALK TO YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE STARTING ANY EXERCISE ROUTINE***

Taking care of others is hard work. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done (mentally, physically, and financially). I hope these tips help you think about how to better take care of yourself. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Fill your cup.

Live. Love. Laugh

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