Burn-out Syndrome: When caring for others wears you out

  • Why caregiving is a cause for a burn-out

    Updated on 31/05/2019
    Anyone who has had to care for another, professionally or not, can recognize in themselves certain symptoms and changes that have materialised over the time that they have dedicated to the patient they are caring for. Caring is difficult, according to experts, because of the physical and emotional wear and tear that in the long run can mean that we also get sick ourselves.

    Caregiver Syndrome, or "burn-out", appears when stress, fatigue, and emotional and physical overload make a dent in the person who plays the role of the caregiver. If caregiver and patient coexist, the wear is even greater, because there is no time for disconnection.

    In many occasions, the caregiver neglects or ignores own feelings and needs, and that is where the problem appears: the pressure increases, the feeling of overwhelm and irritability, feelings of rejection and negativity to the dependent arise ... The situation does not improve with time, because as the caregiver tries to combine their routine duties with the care of the patient, the situation becomes more complicated. In addition, the responsibility tends to increase as dependency grows, and the caregiver assumes completely the patient's care (visits to the doctor, medication and food, hygiene ...).

  • Tips to not reach a burn-out in caregiving

    If you are in this situation or you know someone who has a patient in their care, you can follow these tips to improve the above symptoms:

    Accept that you cannot take care of everything and ask for help from other relatives or close people. Don’t be the only caregiver.

    Dedicated individual time. Find a moment of the day and of the week for your leisure and personal enjoyment, either making plans alone or in company.

    Take care of your diet and do some kind of physical exercise, even if it is walking for 20 minutes a day. The time you dedicate will help you make a disconnection of your dedication.

    Encourage the patient as much as possible. If you do everything for them, you will be perpetuating their dependency relationship.

    Learn to say no. Sometimes, the patient’s don’t take into account certain limits and their demands can become excessive or unjustified.

    Join a support group, because they understand what you are going through and it is good support for the caregivers. Probably at a local level you can find specialized groups.

    Remember that the first step to take care of someone is to take care of yourself. Your health is just as important.


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