Care for the Caregiver—The Personal Side

I have a friend whose mother-in-law—let’s call her Maureen–has taken care of her mother around the clock for several years. Maureen takes turns with one of her siblings to care for their mother in the home. This arrangement has been going on for years. And this is not uncommon.

I once had a client who cared for his father in the home for more than a decade. A friend in my neighborhood whose daughter has Down Syndrome always talks about how her sweet daughter who is now 8 years old “will always be with them at home.” Caregiving is not uncommon and yet, to me, it is almost indescribably selfless, hard, exhausting and beautiful. I cannot imagine providing the time and level of care for another person the way I have witnessed my clients and friends doing over the years. Caregiving is sacrificial. And it does have a cost. The irony is that those who give care must also take time to care for themselves so that their service and devotion is sustainable.

In the practical blog on this topic, I listed some ways to prevent caregiver burnout. It is also helpful to know some of the potential signs of burnout so you can be aware of when you need support. Some signs of caregiver burnout include:

  1. Isolating yourself from family and friends
  2. Eating more or eating less/sleeping more or sleeping less
  3. Feeling sad or anxious or exhausted
  4. Using drugs or alcohol to cope
  5. Feelings of wanting to harm the person you are caring for

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, you may be on the path to burnout. Learning how to care for yourself will not only help you in your caregiving role, it will also empower you to more fully enjoy each and every life role you find yourself in.

Our seasoned mental health counselors would be honored to support your healing process and can help you identify your needs and implement habits and behaviors to support these needs. The old cliché about taking care of yourself before you help others is very true. Helping yourself will help you be a more centered and fulfilled person to all of those around you. If you are experiencing burnout, or are in need of extra support, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.


Yolanda Brailey