Being a caregiver bears huge responsibility and can be extremely trying, both physically and emotionally. More often than not, caregivers are so busy taking care of their patients that they forget to take care of themselves. Caregiving doesn't cause depression, however, the struggles involved can strain even the most qualified caregiver.
Signs and symptoms of caregiver depression:
● Feelings of hopelessness and emptiness
● Frustration and bursts of anger over small issues
● Reduced appetite or extreme weight loss
● Loss of interest in thing previously enjoyed
● Anxiety or panic attacks
● Unexplained aches and pains
● Suicide thoughts
Ways to combat depression as a caregiver
The first step is to admit that you are struggling. You aren't doing anyone any favours by suppressing your feelings and emotions. If you can be honest about the state of your mental health, you are taking a step in the right direction.
2. Take care of yourself first
Ever heard the saying: "You can't pour from an empty cup"? When you are a caregiver, this statement is true more than ever. Caregiving can quickly drain you physically and emotionally so it's crucial to take enough time to recharge. Make sure you drink enough water, get plenty exercise and follow a healthy diet.
3. Establish a routine
Being unorganised can quickly make you feel overwhelmed. By establishing a routine, you won't only benefit your patient but it will make your own life much less complicated. If you have a challenging patient, make sure you set boundaries. Ensure that they are aware of these boundaries and don't allow them to overstep.
4. Get professional help
Being a caregiver is one of the most rewarding yet challenging professions a person can choose. To be the best caregiver you possibly can, it's important to look after yourself. Don't be ashamed to admit that you are struggling and get professional help as quickly as possible. You don't have to do this alone!