Dealing with burnout during a pandemic can be hard on caregivers, individuals and their family members. Isolation, fatigue, fear and stress can all contribute to that burnout. Many are feeling lonely with communities requiring self-distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic and are not sure how to deal with the constant mental exhaustion. Here are some suggestions to help coping with burnout during a pandemic.
Take Mental Breaks
Working from home, being home more often and having more duties because employment hours have changed can exhaust people. An easy way to get a little relief is to take mental breaks. Caregivers can turn on music that individuals love since music has been proven to help relieve stress. Some apps and websites play the sounds of rain, the ocean or a fireplace that might calm you down.
Does the individual you assist enjoy word or mind puzzles? A word search or a game of chess can take their mind off of things. Even just sitting outside to look at the clouds can be an activity for individuals and their caregivers to take a mental break.
Have A Support System
Everyone is feeling isolated from their friends and family. An excellent way to beat that isolation is to schedule a special date and time for everyone to gather together online. It might be on Zoom conference or a group text. A fun way to make it memorable is to plan similar appetizers or have a meal together online to make you feel closer.
You can also write cards to people you know. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion or a holiday. Getting something happy in a mailbox makes everyone feel good. You don’t have to write a long letter. Just letting people know you’re thinking about them and miss them can make a difference.
If you feel there isn’t anyone in your circle to connect with, you can write letters to the elderly through LoveYourElders.org. The non-profit’s goal is to help bring joy to the elderly through letters. These days, it’s even more important since many older adults stay home to stay healthy and might be isolated from others.
Caregivers will often give their all to the individuals they assist. During a pandemic, providing mental and physical support can take a toll on Direct Support Professionals and the individual’s family members. Anyone who is providing care to others must remember to give themselves self-care. That could be getting a manicure, taking a long bath, stopping for your favorite holiday coffee, sleeping in on your day off or anything that you enjoy doing and will help you decompress. Self-care can bring balance to your life, which translates positively when you’re supporting others.
Get Enough Sleep
Sometimes if you’re under a lot of stress, it can affect your sleep pattern. You might notice that you’re having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or are staying up later than usual. Ensuring you get the proper amount of sleep for your body helps with your physical and mental help. It also can be a safety issue if you’re working while have sleep deprivation. Some tips to help with better sleep:
- Turn off your computers, tablets and phones at least an hour before going to bed. The blue light that comes off of them can make it harder to sleep.
- Try to go to bed and wake up around the same times every day, even on days off.
- Take a warm bath or shower before you go to bed. It can help relax your body and help you get to sleep.
Eat Well & Exercise
Eating well and making sure to get some exercise will help caregivers and individuals deal with burnout. Eating a well-balanced meal that includes a variety of vegetables and whole grains will help your body deal with the stresses of the day. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a few treats, as long as it’s in moderation. Try to get some exercise in too. The movement doesn’t have to be strenuous. Dancing in your living room, taking a short walk every day around your block, joining Silver Sneakers or doing stretch exercises will help. With many gyms or community centers closed, look online for exercise programs you can follow.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
The most important thing for caregivers and their individuals to remember is not to be afraid to ask for help if they need it. Speaking with physicians, medical advocates, mental health professionals or even letting someone close to you know you’re struggling might help.
Life during a pandemic is stressful. But using tips for dealing with burnout during a pandemic will help caregivers and individuals make it through. Casmir Care Services encourages caregivers and individuals not to let their guard down, even while practicing these tips. Remember to wear a mask, social distance 6′ between others and wash your hands regularly with soap and hot water.
Casmir Care Services is here for their Direct Support Professionals, the individuals they work with and their families. If you have any questions or need assistance from Casmir Care Services during this difficult time, visit our Contact Us page to send us a message on how we can help.