I don’t think it matters how capable, committed, loving or self-sacrificing your are, if you’re a caregiver, you will need to make self-care a priority. If you don’t pay attention to your own needs, you will burn out.
I’d like for you to take a quick self-assessment today. This will help give you a sense of where you are physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually right now. Don’t over-think your answers. If the statement resonates with you, make a check mark on a piece of paper.
_____ It’s hard for me to find time to do things I like to do. I have given up a lot of activities I used to enjoy.
_____ I have trouble sleeping, and I frequently wake up feeling tired and dreading the day ahead.
_____ I feel like I’ve lost touch with a lot of my friends.
_____ I have dropped out of clubs, organizations, and social circles because I just can’t find the time to stay involved.
_____ I have some alarming and/or annoying physical symptoms that I should probably discuss with my doctor.
_____ There are days when I feel very trapped.
_____ I know exercise is good for me, but I just don’t have time to go to a gym or a regularly scheduled class.
_____ I frequently feel angry, frightened, and/or sad. I suspect I may be a little depressed.
_____ I hesitate to ask family or friends to help because I don’t want to be a burden.
_____ I feel guilty because I get impatient or angry, and sometimes I’ve even wished his/her suffering would just end.
_____ Most days I don’t have the time or energy to take care of myself.
Total the number of statements you checked on this page: _______
If you checked 4 or more statements, it is likely that you are suffering from caregiver burnout. For the next several days I’ll be sharing some strategies for developing a personalized caregiver survival plan.