Caregiver helping to manage stress.

Managing Stress And Burnout As A Caregiver

13 Jan 2023

Being a caregiver is a rewarding job. Knowing that you’re making a massive and positive impact on someone’s quality of life is beyond fulfilling. You’ll interact with your clients by supporting them so they can keep their independence, this enables them to live in the comfort of their own homes. Creating a special bond and relationship with your clients is also a truly rewarding experience. 

However, working within the care industry can produce all manner of challenges. It can be difficult to manage stress and you can easily become overworked and in turn suffer from burnout. Over the past few years, it has not been easy on caregivers due to COVID-19. According to sources, 41% of employees surveyed found themselves burned out from the stress of managing work amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Have you noticed the following signs? If you have, you might be experiencing high levels of stress or burnout.

Signs Of Stress

  • Loss of appetite
  • Frequent headaches
  • Anxiety, depression or increased irritability 
  • Tense muscles
  • High blood pressure
  • Excessive use of alcohol and drugs

Signs of Burnout

  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Loss of motivation or energy
  • Neglecting your own needs
  • Feeling helpless and hopeless

How To Manage Stress or Burnout?

While caring for others will never be stress-free, there are ways to help manage stress and avoid burnout. If you’re a caregiver or work in the care industry and you feel stressed or burned out, consider taking the following steps: 

1) Talk To Someone

The first step is to talk to a family member, a friend or a colleague. Telling someone how you are feeling can make the biggest difference. Keeping your feelings bottled up can gradually become worse. You might be surprised to learn that a colleague has the same feelings as you.

Feeling overwhelmed with work can cause stress so it’s important to have a close support group to lean on. Try making plans with family, friends or colleagues outside of work. Not only will this ease stress, it will also take your mind off the stress of work and give you something to look forward to doing.

2) Get Plenty of Exercise

Physical exercise is a simple way to get your body moving and relieve tension. Even a 10 minute walk can help reduce your stress levels after a long day of work. Alternatively, you could take up a new hobby such as swimming, pilates and join a gym or club. Yoga is a particularly great activity to destress, as it relaxes the body muscles and meditation helps clear your mind.

3) Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle

Stick to a healthy and balanced diet by choosing food high in unsaturated fats such as vegetables and avoid high calorie snack foods. Many people are guilty of skipping breakfast before heading to work. This is unadvised. Having breakfast is a simple but effective way to set you up for your day. 

Cut down on drinking or smoking. Alcohol and tobacco have harmful effects on your physical health, as well as your mental health. Too much caffeine in your diet can have similar side effects on your body as stress has, so lower your caffeine intake or switch to a decaf blend.

4) Seek Further Help

Taking on all the responsibilities of caregiving without regular breaks or assistance overtime can be a recipe for burnout. In other cases, some caregivers may need further help including:

Join a Support Group – A support group can provide you with validation and encouragement, as well as problem-solving solutions to stressful situations. They can be in-person or online.

Respite Care – It might sound difficult to leave your client in the hands of someone else, but taking a well-deserved break can be one of the best things you ever do for your own wellbeing. After taking a small break, you can return with a better headspace and work to your highest potential for the sake of your client.

Speak to Your GP – It’s easy to forget about your own health when you’re fully focused on caring for your client. Don’t put off check-ups or appointments. You need to be healthy for the sake of your client.

You’re Not Alone, Contact Us Today

As a caregiver, you may find it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance. In order to take care of someone else, it’s important to take care of yourself as well. However, many carers in the industry tend to put their needs last.

At Hands On Care, we understand the reality of working as a caregiver. We provide top quality social care and personal care services across Shropshire and surrounding areas. If you’re still looking for help in terms of managing stress and burnout, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Hands on Care Homecare Services Limited
United House,
Tern Hill,
Market Drayton,
TF9 3PX,
01952 743490