The topic of carer burnout is widely covered in many health publications, and yet still, full-time carers succumb to the stresses of what it takes to be responsible for the well-being of an adult who is unable to adequately care for themselves. This is mostly due to ignoring the warning signs, hoping that they will disappear over time, while you carry on pushing yourself to your limits.
The problem with this is that early warning signs can be dealt with quickly, but full burnout can sometimes take years to recover from and may even require hospitalisation.
Take note of these 10 signs that you may be suffering from carer burnout and talk to a health professional if you find yourself experiencing any of the following:
- A constant feeling of anger and frustration and that nobody else understands what you are going through.
- Social withdrawal and not wanting to partake in activities that you once enjoyed (note that this is not about not having the time, but rather not wanting to partake).
- A feeling of hopelessness that extends into all aspects of your life, which affects the way you approach tasks.
- An overwhelming feeling of anxiety when you wake up and consider the day.
- Constant physical exhaustion that affects your daily life.
- Dramatic changes in eating patterns, either over eating or loss of appetite
- Just wanting to sleep all the time or being unable to sleep, sometimes these are combined.
- Constant crying without a real cause.
- Lack of concentration that makes you forgetful and unable to think clearly.
- Being sick all the time due to a lowered immune system
- Creating a network of support
Don’t ever feel ashamed of feeling like you are not coping. At one time or another, in most professions, nearly everyone experiences one or several of these symptoms. Talk to people, especially family and friends. Ask your physician about nearby support groups and get in touch with other carers in your area for a chat. Often just knowing that you are not alone can lift your spirits, but it is important not to let these feelings linger without seeing a professional.