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Being a caregiver, whether at home or in an assisted living or rehabilitation center, can be stressful anytime. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it only becomes that much more stressful, which increases the danger of serious caregiver fatigue or “burnout” occurring.

There’s no doubt that caring for others, be it for a family member or other loved one or as a chosen profession, is eminently rewarding. But let’s face it – it can be fatiguing as well!

Here are 5 key ways to combat caregiver fatigue so you can take better care of both your patients and yourself:

1. Set Realistic Goals

As a caregiver, you may feel the need to become a “superhero” to the person or persons to whom you devote your time and energies, but you really have to set realistic expectations to avoid unnecessary disappointments and frustrations.

Maybe you are a skilled nursing assistant or a physical therapist. You have skills. You don’t have magic powers to control everything.

Focus on doing what you can and completing your job faithfully and not on trying to do someone else’s job or things that are outside of your control. That’s the first step to de-stressing.

2. Avoid Excessive Isolation

Caregiver fatigue and burnout often occur when the caregiver is routinely isolated from everyone except his or her patients day in and day out.

It’s important to maintain relationships outside of your workplace or caregiving location. Find a way to schedule in time with friends and family. When you have a chance, spend some time calling, texting, or interacting with others on social media.

Joining a caregiver support group is an additional way to talk to others and will connect you with people just like you who understand what you’re going through.

3. Take A Break When You Need It

Everyone has their limits. Going non-stop for weeks and months on end is sure to make anyone burnout eventually.

It may be necessary to ask someone else to take your place once a week or once or twice a month so you can get away from it all. You shouldn’t feel “guilty” about taking a break – it’s the only way you can recharge and recoup before getting back to your caregiving activities.

4. Take Care of Yourself Physically

It’s easy to focus so much on taking care of others that you forget to take care of yourself physically. Caregivers often neglect their own bodies and health to an alarming degree.

Many caregivers come down with severe headaches and stomach aches. Many times they lose sleep, eat irregularly, and fail to get medications and medical care in a timely manner when they feel ill.

Ultimately, you need to be strong to be an effective caregiver – strong for the long haul. That means taking care of your body so you can better care for others!

5. Beware of “Compassion Fatigue”

You may have been excited to be a caregiver in the beginning and felt a deep compassion for those you would care for. Deep down, that compassion is still there no doubt, but the daily grind can wear one’s compassion and one’s patience thin.

In turn, caregivers often feel depressed because they are losing some of their original zeal and energy. But what needs to happen is to step back and remember why you became a caregiver in the first place and to think about how thankful you would be to have a caring helper if the tables were turned.

To connect with the professional, highly skilled caregivers, and experience care like you and your loved ones deserve, contact Park Central in Amarillo, TX today!