How Caregivers for Stroke Survivors Can Avoid Burnout

Taking care of a stroke survivor is hard work. As such, caregivers are at risk of burnout from performing that role. Knowing the signs of burnout is crucial, so that you can take care of yourself and continue to be effective in taking care of the stroke survivor.

Be Aware Of Burnout

In order to be able to implement your self-care strategies, you need to know when it’s time to do so. Ideally,this will happen every day, but that’s not realistic for many caregivers. At the very least, monitor yourself for signs of burnout so that you will be aware that you need to engage in self-care. A few of the most common burnout signs include:

  • Irritability
  • Apathy
  • Sadness or depression
  • Impatience
  • Feelings of overwhelm and helplessness

If you start to notice any of these warning signs in yourself, it’s definitely time to implement your self-care plan.

Self-care Tools And Tips

Self-care techniques will look different for different people. These are just a few suggestions:

  • Take care of your own physical health: Eat as well as possible and exercise when your schedule allows. It can be helpful to have a few ideas for quick and simple healthy meals that you can make regularly. Even 10-minute bursts of exercises can go a long way if you spread them throughout your day.
  • Build a support system. Consider joining a group specifically designed for caregivers or enlist a few friends who you can vent to. Working with a professional therapist may also be helpful.
  • Journaling can help you process your feelings about being a caregiver and better manage associated stress.
  • Coordinate respite care, such as a friend or family member or a professional who can take care of the stroke survivor for an afternoon or a week or more and give you the time you need to recharge.
  • Practice self-compassion. You are human, and you will experience normal human emotions which are totally reasonable responses to your circumstances even though they are unpleasant. Remember that you’re doing the best that you can in a difficult situation.

Just like they tell you on the airplane, you need to put on your own oxygen mask first. Be sure that you’re taking care of yourself and reducing your risk of burnout so that you can continue to take care of your loved one.