This article on Self neglect and Depression in Caregivers was submitted by Mel Gaynor…
It is not uncommon for carers to feel extremely guilty when they do something purely for themselves – or even when they enjoy something without involving those for whom they are caring. This feeling of guilt may lead carers to cease looking after their own needs quite as well as they should. In the long-term, this does no good to anyone – least of all the person for whom the carer is caring. Carer burnout is a major issue, and even the most patient and loving carer needs to learn to recognise the signs and deal with them.
We are only human, and when humans are stressed they don’t usually react very well. In a caring situation, this could prove extremely volatile. A carer who does not afford enough time and regard to their own wellbeing is likely to become tired and stressed to the point of burnout. When they reach this state, they are more likely to start snapping and snarling at the person or people in their charge. This is an understandable reaction from a human point of view, but it is not very pleasant and it is certainly not desirable behavior from a carer. Furthermore, it may add to the carer’s burden of guilt – which only exacerbates the situation further.
Every carer should learn to recognise when they’re reaching burnout, and devise their own ways to avoid it. Recognition of your triggers and an understanding of how you operate as a person will help enormously. In general, carers should take the time to ensure that they themselves are rested, stress-free, healthy, and happy. They are then more likely to promote the same state in their charges. For more on caring for yourself as a carer, read this article.
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