Navigating the busy holidays can be challenging for the best of us, but for caregivers it can be particularly arduous. Dr. Wayne Creelman, Medical Director at UF Health Center for Psychiatry and Addiction in Vero Beach, who treats patients suffering from depression with talk therapy and medication (when appropriate), including a few caregivers, warns against holiday fatigue. “Caregiving is exhausting and demanding,” he says. “You need to get support any time you give care,” and notes that people who reside in assisted living facilities have three separate shifts of caregivers attending to their needs.
“No one is 24/7, and if you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel for yourself, you’ll melt down,” he says. “So, if you have brothers or sisters, build some kind of schedule (because) you’ve got to have time away for yourself…or you will burn out.”
FOR CAREGIVERS: HOW TO PREVENT BURNOUT:
- Take time for yourself. Make sure to schedule a few hours a week doing something you genuinely enjoy doing.
- Maintain healthy eating and sleeping habits.
- Caregiving can often feel solitary, it’s important to stay connected to others in the ‘outside world.’
- Let family and friends help you out, no one should bear all the responsibility for another human being. It’s not self-sustaining.
- If you’re feeling depressed or overwhelmed constantly, seek professional help.
- Be realistic: Many caregivers often feel guilty, like they’re not doing enough. Recognize that you’re not superhuman, do the best you can, and make peace with that.
- Many organizations offer caregiver support groups free of charge. Seek one out in your community.