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Maintaining your health and wellbeing provides the energy and capacity to endure the challenges that you may face in your role of caring for others. Good health and wellbeing mean that you can provide the best care to yourself, your family and your clients. Carers need to maintain their health and wellbeing to provide the best frame of mind to care for another individual or group.
To ensure caregiver burnout does not occur, you must practice emotional care with the same diligence you take when caring for others.
Emotional care refers to the practice of being mindful of our psychological health and adopting short but frequent daily habits to monitor and address psychological wounds when we sustain them. In your care-giver role – whether that is as counsellor, psychologist, coach, nurse or any other role where your main function is to care for another - burnout can manifest itself in a variety of ways. A few common signs to look out for include: anxiety, depression, irritability, new or worsening health problems, difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating, drinking, smoking or eating more, or neglecting your self-care, health, and wellness.
Some of the most important tips for carers include:
The cumulative effects of stress can build over time and not be noticed until problems emerge. Apart from the above, there are plenty of useful strategies for managing stress, including:
Guilt, anger, resentment, fear, stress, anxiety, depression and grief are some of the emotions that will be encountered in your role. It is normal to feel as if you are going crazy at times, and it does not help to try to suppress or deny what you are feeling. The best way to deal with your feelings is to accept them, but make sure you can talk about your feelings with someone who understands, whether it is a family member, friend, counsellor or support group.
Depression is always a potential concern, and you should seek professional help if it becomes a serious issue.
Maintain an identity of your own separate from your role and keep your links to the world outside your job and role.
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Credit: psychologytoday.com; synapse.org; blog.careacademy.com; caregiver.org; nih.gov
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