What is caregiver burnout? - Deepstash

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What is caregiver burnout?

What is caregiver burnout?

Caregiver burnout is categorised as a state of total physical, emotional and mental exhaustion.

This happens due to multiple demands, lack of resources, less energy and/ or lack of support.

There are many factors that may contribute to caregivers experiencing burnout.

Taking care of own health and wellbeing reduces the burden and facilitates better care to receivers.

Ways to manage caregiver burnout (cont.)

Ways to manage caregiver burnout (cont.)

Physical movement: 

  • Despite the fatigue and weariness, it is essential to move your body and give it exercise.
  • This helps in flexing the muscles, releasing the pain and aches.
  • Some ways to get enough movements are climbing stairs, exercising, dance, stretching, etc.

Signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout

Signs and symptoms of caregiver burnout

Physical exhaustion: Constant body aches, fatigue, frequent headaches

Weak immune system: Falling constantly ill

Changes in appetite: Eating too much or very little

Sleep concerns: Disturbed sleep patterns

Isolation from others: Avoiding family members, friends, or coworkers

Loss of interest: Lack of motivation to resume hobbies or even day-to-day activities

Anxiety & depression: Constantly worrying about the patient, overthinking

Emotional changes: Feeling irritated, frustrated, worthless, hopeless and helpless

Neglect of your own health & priorities: Not following basic self-care

Stages of caregiver burnout

Stages of caregiver burnout

Stage one: Caregiver stress

Stress arises due to a sudden shift in the role of a caregiver. Handling the news, understanding treatment, gathering resources can lead to extreme stress and worry along with frustration.

Stage two: Caregiver burnout

As overwhelming feelings continue, prolonged stress leads to a state of breakdown. Neglecting of self in the process of caregiving and isolation may increase. 

Stage three: Compassion Fatigue

A state of emotional and physical collapse where the caregiver has reduced ability to empathize towards the receiver and causes severe emotional distress. 

Ways to manage caregiver burnout (cont.)

Ways to manage caregiver burnout (cont.)

Emotional Regulation:

  • As a caregiver, you undergo different emotions.
  • It’s important to recognize, accept, and work through these emotions.
  • Some common emotions are guilt, frustration, disappointment, resentment etc.
  • Healthy ways of an outlet like art, journaling, meditation etc. can help in channelizing.

Ways to manage caregiver burnout (cont.)

Ways to manage caregiver burnout (cont.)

Seek Support:

  • Caregiving is not an easy job that can be handled alone.
  • Reach out to others for help.
  • During pandemics this can look like having virtual emotional support, financial support, reducing the number of commitments at home and/or office.

Ways to manage caregiver burnout (cont.)

Ways to manage caregiver burnout (cont.)

Professional help:

  • The therapist helps you express and manage emotional changes you may experience as a caregiver.
  • They can help you in finding ways to reduce burnout, start self-care and make small helpful changes in your life.

Factors contributing to burnout

Factors contributing to burnout

First factor is the ambiguity regarding your role and how to best support the person.

Second factor is the lack of or limited resources such as money, professional support, skills, time, hospitals, etc.

Third factor is the nature of the illness. Terminal, long-lasting illness and disability can lead to putting in more hours and resources.

Fourth factor is the workload that you may experience. It can get tiring to juggle between caretaking along managing your own life.

Ways to manage caregiver burnout

Ways to manage caregiver burnout


  • It is important to prioritize your health along with taking care of other(s).
  • You cannot pour from an empty cup.
  • Your health and wellbeing are equally important.
  • Some self-care strategies can look like eating healthy food, following a routine as much as possible, regulating, and getting enough sleep.

Ways to manage caregiver burnout (cont.)

Ways to manage caregiver burnout (cont.)

Support groups:

  • Support groups are a great way to connect with individuals going through similar experiences.
  • This allows you to vent and share your experiences, learn or improve on your caregiving skills and strategies, and make you feel less lonely.

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