You work tirelessly without complaining, providing care to a loved one who for one reason or another is unable to take care of themselves. This is a tiring job, which takes its toll on you. This in spite of the fact you have to smile and offer a selfless service in sometimes very difficult situations.
This is the world of caregivers.
Those seemingly untiring human beings who have seen it all. They have seen the pain in the faces of their loved ones, and sometimes they have held back their tears with a smile that camouflages the pain of watching their subjects in distress.
However, behind the fixed smiles, the boundless energy and enthusiasm with which they approach their work are tired souls on the verge of burnout. If you are a caregiver, I am sure you can relate. You have been at the place of burnout; a place where your system almost shut down with exhaustion and fatigue.
Burnout is a stealth creeper. It sneaks on you slowly, gradually, and steadily before ultimately overwhelming and threatening to shut you down. Sometimes you may not know you are suffering from burnout. However, there are telltale signs that burnout has caught up with you; and it’s time to slow down and recharge. Below are a few of these signs.
1. Disinterest in Friends and Family Members
If you have of late been feeling too tired to socialize, you are probably burned out and it’s time to take a break. Go somewhere quiet and recharge your batteries then come back invigorated and fired up enough to work and socialize.
2. Disinterest in Hobbies You Once Loved Engaging In
Another sign you are suffering from burnout is disinterest in hobbies, such as reading, you were once so keen on. This is an indication that stress has caught up with you, sapping your energy to the point where you are no longer interested in hobbies and activities you once loved.
3. Thoughts of Committing Suicide
If death appears to be the most attractive route for your tired body, burnout has eaten into the very core of your soul. This is the time to not only take a step back and relax but also to seek professional counselling to avoid tipping over.
4. Poor Eating Habits
Binging on food or starving yourself is another sign all is not well in your life. This could be your body’s mechanism of responding to excess stress and fatigue. If you find yourself making frequent trips to the fridge in the middle of the night, or perhaps you have no appetite at all, chances are you are stressed and need a break.
5. Unhealthy Sleeping Patterns
For your body and mind to function optimally, getting enough sleep is important. If you are not getting enough sleep or you are sleeping too many hours in a day, something is bothering you.
6. Persistent Illness
Burnout could compromise your body’s defence mechanism. If your body is too weak to fight, it will struggle to defend itself when attacked by colds and other illnesses. This is a clear sign you need to take a break to get your system working again.
If you experience any of the above burnout signs, consider enrolling your loved one in a retirement home so they can receive long-term professional care. You will still get a chance to visit them at the retirement home just so they know you have not cut them off from your life. Besides receiving professional care, they will enjoy programs and participate in special events at a retirement home facility. They also get a chance to interact with age mates and people with whom they share common interests.