Editor’s note: This article was published on May 8, 2020. COVID-19 information and recommendations are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or view our most recent COVID-19 blog posts.
During the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, individuals throughout the country continue to care for their loved ones. Whether they are caring for someone who has the virus or a different illness, this unprecedented time can lead to caregivers feeling added stress and pressure.
“When caregivers are so busy caring for others, they often neglect their own self-care,” said Marshfield Clinic Health System clinical psychologist Dr. Julie Kaprelian. “Caregivers need to take care of themselves, physically and emotionally, and that may be hard to do right now.”
Kaprelian has been in touch with caregivers during this time and noted that some common concerns include:
- Changes to daily routines.
- Loss of additional support that was relied on.
- Ensuring their loved ones stay healthy, especially if they are immunocompromised.
These concerns can pile up and cause caregiver burnout, which can leads to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, stress, guilt and exhaustion.
How can you avoid caregiver burnout?
Thankfully, there are a variety of things caregivers can do to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Kaprelian recommends:
- Talking to others about your feelings
While this may be tough at first, being open and honest with loved ones helps make sure everyone is on the same page and coming from a place of understanding.
- Asking for help
“Help these days may look different from before,” said Kaprelian, “but if someone can do something from afar or a friend can drop off groceries that can really help.”
- Taking care of your mind and body
Taking some time for yourself is OK. Focusing on things such as eating well, exercising, hydrating and getting enough sleep can all have a positive impact on your well-being.
- Looking for additional resources?
For more information regarding caregiving during COVID-19, you can contact Marshfield Clinic Health System’s 24/7 COVID-19 Helpline at 877-998-0880.
“Our world looks a lot different right now, but it’s important to be patient with yourself,” Kaprelian said. “Try creating a new routine that includes the most important tasks for yourself and your loved one and make sure to add activities that bring you joy or feel rejuvenating.”