You might know or be a family member, friend, or neighbor who actively cares for someone with physical, cognitive, or mental needs. A great deal of time, patience, and costs are associated with being a caregiver for someone. Many are often unaware of the long-term commitment it takes to care for or supervise someone with new or long-standing challenges.
Burnout is a term that is frequently associated with employment, defined as “physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress”. Considering that caregiving is more often than not equivalent to taking on a part or even a full time job, burnout can also occur within this context.
Imagine your attention being tugged in multiple directions - helping to manage new medications; driving to and from different physicians and therapists; having to monitor a new diet; supervising for safety; encouraging engagement in activities; practicing therapy exercises at home. Before you know it, the day has passed you by and there may still be personal matters that you have yet to attend to.
Even as a caregiver, you have to take care of YOU as well. The saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” has never been more true. You must reclaim your time and “fill your cup” as well, which may mean carving out time daily to address your needs.
So, what does taking time for yourself look like? Depending on your needs, each outcome can be different. Consider if some of the following options can work for you.
Are you a caregiver who has dealt with burnout? How are you overcoming it? Leave a comment below, and contact Cognition, Speech & Language if you need guidance navigating your needs as a caregiver.
Devon Brunson, MS, CCC-SLP
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