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Caregiver Burnout

Updated: Mar 22




A caregiver is someone who cares for others. It doesn't matter if you are caring for a sick relative, a family elder, patients on your unit, or your own kids. You are a caregiver, and this post is for you.

 

Caring for others in need is important, but you can’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Just like they instruct you when you get on a plane..."put on your own oxygen mask before helping others." It isn’t because you are selfish. It’s the opposite. You can’t adequately care for another if you don’t take care of yourself, too.


Self Care

It works the same way in life—you must take the time to take care of yourself to be a good caregiver to others. If your metaphorical tank is empty, you can only run on fumes for so long before burnout and resentment sets in.

Take an hour for yourself. Do it on a regular basis. Whether you set aside some time for that longed-for soak in the tub, or to go to a yoga class, or spend it in your cozy corner with a book, journaling, mediating, or spend it getting some Reiki, that time is necessary for YOU. You need it to recharge and reset. Don't put it off any longer. You need to take care of yourself.


Boundaries

A big part of self care that seems to get swept under the rug is setting and enforcing boundaries.


I’m not saying it will be easy… in fact, setting boundaries can be a really hard part of your self care. There may be pushback from the people in your life that are used to you doing for them without question, the ones who are used to being put first, without regard for your needs. You’ll need to be strong, and do what you can to stick to those boundaries.


For example:  Do you want to meditate every evening at 8:00? Put it in your calendar. Make sure those around you know not to disturb you for XX number of minutes, so you can do this thing that’s just for you. Close the door and meditate.


Are they knocking on the door? Asking questions and demanding attention? Remind them that this time is for you, and you’ll need to start over again after every interruption. Stick to it. Eventually they will understand that you are not to be interrupted during this time. You have just enforced a boundary.


What’s your next boundary? Decide what’s important to you, and set that boundary. Again, you’ll need to expect some pushback. But you’ve already done this once. You know how it works. You can do this!


In Conclusion

You need to take care of yourself. Keep in mind that self care doesn’t have to mean “me first.” Self care means “me too.” Don’t forget about your own needs, what you need to feel good, to be healthy. Set those boundaries, and be good to yourself.


Remind those around you that you are a human who needs care, too. You’re not a machine, not an automaton who can run indefinitely without care. You need to provide that care for yourself so you’ll be in good shape to help take care of the others in your life.


You need to take care of you.

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