Caregiver Burnout: The Causes and the Remedies

As January begins, it’s a great time to review the past year and also make necessary changes for the year ahead. This is especially true in the area of health.

In this article, we want to assess how caregiver burnout is caused and what caregivers can do to avoid it and alleviate it. If you are a caregiver, it is key that you maintain a healthy lifestyle so that you are able to provide excellent care for others.

What Causes Caregiver Burnout?

Great question. Here is a short list of some of the most common causes:

  • Grief: The reality is that this job requires you to be around people who are often sick or experiencing difficulties of some kind. At times, you may be working with a family when their senior loved one dies. All of this can wear on you over time.

  • Stress: Not all stress is bad. When there is more demand on our body or mind, each will react accordingly. The problem is when we let stress grow over time. This can lead to more serious health and mental issues that negatively affect work performance.

  • Guilt or Resentment: On one hand, caregiving can lead to a sense of guilt when you feel that you are not able to do enough to help. However, that same inadequacy can lead just as easily to resentment – when you feel you do all you can and it’s never enough. Resentment can also be a problem when the senior or family is especially difficult to deal with.

  • Long Hours and Hard Work: When you decide to be a caregiver, you have to understand the nature of the job. To put it simply, it’s not easy. It can be very tiresome, and you have to be willing to be flexible and willing to work odd hours. This can also be taxing to the system and lead to burnout.

How to Avoid and Alleviate Caregiver Burnout

Now let’s get into some solutions to our problem.

  • Relax: With the list above, it’s easy to see why relaxing is so important. You have to be very intentional with your off-time. Get as much sleep as you can, but also take time to enjoy some leisure alone or with friends.

  • A Friend: Speaking of friends, we advise all of our caregivers to have someone they are able to simply talk with on an ongoing basis. When you can be honest with someone about what you’re feeling, they can provide encouragement, advice, and understanding. This helps to ease stress and anxiety, putting things into perspective.

  • Be Aware of the Above Points: When you are more aware of what causes burnout, it’s easier for you to avoid it. You will most likely encounter one or two of the points above to some degree. But being able to identify what is happening goes a long way in avoiding any kind of serious, long-term burnout.

  • Life Outside: Relaxing and spending time with friends certainly fit into this bucket. Without experiences, fun, and even struggles outside of your work, caregiving can begin to feel like it consumes your whole life.

  • Respite: If you are experiencing caregiver burnout, I highly encourage you to do the best thing possible: Take a break. Whether it’s a couple days, a week, or even longer, sometimes you simply must get away from work. This is where creating a network of caregivers who can fill in for you and for whom you can fill in comes in handy.