Caring for others, although rewarding, can be an extremely strenuous experience with caregiver fatigue being a rather common occurrence. Caregivers may not just be physically worn-out, but they may also be emotionally drained or psychologically depleted.
Making sacrifices for the benefit of others is noble, but to continue in a sustainable way, you also need to make sure than you take care of yourself and your own health and well being. So here is a list of telltale warning signs of caregiver fatigue that can help you realize when fatigue is setting in, so that you can do what is necessary to recharge your batteries, rest, and recuperate.
Warning Signs of Caregiver Fatigue
- You have less energy to do the things you typically enjoy, or you are losing interest in the activities you normally enjoy.
- You are more susceptible to getting sick, coming down with colds and flu, or you feel achy and grouchy all the time.
- Even if you take some “me” time and rest or have a nap, you still feel tired-out and exhausted.
- Your schedule is so hectic that you have to skip things that are really meaningful to you – or you feel like you are constantly in a state of emergency and chaos.
- Although you are devoted to caring for others, you are not feeling rewarded and satisfied from that endeavor.
- You overreact to situations and lose your cool, or those you are trying to care for make you feel irritated and upset.
- You are eating, drinking, or otherwise overindulging in ways that are unhealthy and not like your normal behavior.
- You toss and turn at night or have frequent nightmares.
- Your appetite is not healthy enough and you are skipping meals and losing more weight than is healthy – for example, more than two pounds per week.
- Resentment or jealousy or anger are emotions that you feel more and more, despite having many things for which you actually feel grateful.
If you notice that you are starting to register any warning signs of caregiver fatigue – or multiple symptoms on this list – seek the support and help of others. Talk to your doctor, for example, and set aside time to heal and refresh yourself so that you can continue to serve as a caregiver without neglecting your own important care. For more information, check out this great resource on HelpGuide.org.