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7 Tips to Help Massachusetts Caregivers Prevent Holiday Burnout

Caregiving is an emotionally and physically exhausting role any time of year. The demands on your time often make for long days with not enough rest. As we head into the holidays, we know the stress and strain of caregiving only increases. It can lead to a worn out caregiver long before Hanukah or Christmas actually arrives. To help you avoid a health crisis of your own, it is important to know the warning signs that signal you have crossed the line from weary caregiver to caregiver burnout.

Nine Warning Signs of Caregiver Burnout

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Are you constantly exhausted?
  2. Do you wake up feeling overwhelmed no matter how much sleep you get?
  3. Are you losing your temper faster than is normal for you?
  4. Have you let your exercise routine lapse?
  5. Are you relying on caffeine, alcohol, or cigarettes to help you get through the day?
  6. Do you have new health problems you didn’t have before caregiving such as headaches, insomnia, or irritable bowel syndrome?
  7. Have you lost touch with close friends you’ve always enjoyed or let outside interests go?
  8. Does your diet consist of fast foods and convenience items?
  9. Are you feeling resentful of the senior loved one for whom you are providing care?

If this list of warning signs is all too familiar, you are likely suffering from burnout.

Coping Strategies for Overwhelmed Caregivers

Here are a few ways to help you take a break and get back on track:

  • Find a respite care provider for your aging loved one. For example, a senior living community where they can stay for a few days can help you rest and recover.
  • If you have difficulty paying for respite care, talk with your local Agency on Aging. If you live in Massachusetts, the Agency on Aging in your area can be found here.
  • Schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. They can make sure the demands of caregiving haven’t created a health problem, such as hypertension.
  • Join a caregiver support group so you can talk with others who can empathize with and understand your struggle.
  • Try doing 15 minutes of daily meditation or chair yoga to help you beat stress.

To learn more about the resources that are available to help support caregivers, visit the Family Caregiver Alliance at the National Center on Caregiving.

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