Caregiver burnout is a very real phenomenon that often affects parents and other caregivers of children and adults with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD). We don’t always want to acknowledge it, as it can come with feelings of guilt. But if it becomes an issue, it’s important to recognize it, understand that you’re only human and that it’s entirely normal, and then take the key steps for recovering from caregiver burnout.
If you suspect you might be suffering from this condition, take a look at the common signs of caregiver burnout. If not, remember that it’s important to be vigilant about preventing caregiver burnout. Once it sets in, though, it will take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and it can also negatively affect the person you care for, other loved ones, your friendships, your job, your hobbies, and other aspects of your daily life. That’s why it’s crucial that you focus on recovering from caregiver burnout.
Strategies for Recovering from Caregiver Burnout
- Remind yourself regularly about your motivation for providing care.
- Practice gratitude. Spend some time each evening reflecting on things you’re grateful for. Many people find it helpful to jot something down each day in a gratitude journal.
- Also devote a minute or two each day to think about all your achievements—particularly as they pertain to the person you care for.
- Learn to accept the things you cannot change. And focus on changing the things you have a hard time accepting.
- Be honest with yourself about the things you can and cannot do. Remember that there is no shame in not being able to do everything all the time, or in asking for help.
- Ask for help. Turn to family and friends in you support network to lighten your load. Some people have a hard time with this, but it’s essential to recovering from caregiver burnout and moving forward in a healthy way.
- Take a break. When asking for help, arrange for a few days off when you can be released from your responsibilities and focus on resting and recuperating.
- Make self-care a priority. Whatever it takes, find regular you time. Use it to pamper yourself, do activities you enjoy, spend time with other loved ones who you don’t get to see enough, etc.
- Talk with other caregivers. There are plenty of in-person and online support groups for caregivers, and they’re a great source of strength, comfort, advice, and other help.