Burnout is more than stress. And it isn't just undesirable. It's a risky condition.
The consequences of burnout include
- emotional depletion, often leading to depression;
- reduced resistance to common illnesses, such as colds and flu;
- increased likelihood of a chronic disease, such as heart disease or diabetes;
- lack of energy to do what is necessary for your relative.
Some stress is inevitable when caring for a loved one. But unrelenting stress is bad for everyone. Think of a candle. If you leave it lit 24/7, it will quickly burn through. But if you let it rest between periods of use, it will last a long time. You are like that candle.
Use these strategies to avoid reaching the burnout zone:
- Accept the realities. Sometimes life is cruel and unfair. Acknowledge your grief. Acknowledge any frustration or resentment. At the same time, value the ways you are skillfully addressing life's challenges.