Avoid Caregiver Burnout

Being a caregiver requires us to recognize and take care of our own needs. We cannot effectively respond to others when our own unmet needs leave us exhausted. While being a caregiver to someone with a serious illness can be emotionally and physically draining, it is also very rewarding. Here are some tips to help you avoid caregiver burnout and be ready for the task of caregiving.


Know yourself. It is only by understanding our own needs, vulnerabilities and limits that we can anticipate and counteract caregiver stress. Recognize when you need help, and do not be afraid to ask for it. Know the limits and fluctuations of your physical energy. Learn to say, “I can’t” to additional responsibilities during times of lower physical energy. Identify the limits of those situations you cannot handle emotionally alone. Find time for yourself and pay attention to early warning signs of excessive stress. If you ignore these signs, you can invite serious physical and emotional illness. Expressing emotions helps resolve accumulated grief. Understand when, where and with whom you may safely share feelings derived from caregiver stress. It becomes easier with practice.

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