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Caregiver: how do you know if you have reached your limit?

Between stressful situations, never-ending days, and difficult patients, your daily life as a caregiver really puts your body to the test. Joining the medical profession is often a response to a desire to give of yourself, to help other people, and to relieve sickpeople of their symptoms. But how are you feeling yourself? How do you know if you have reached your limit and need help? Learn to know the signs of burn-out, and how to get back on top of things.
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Why does the job of a caregiver feel like a rollercoaster ride?

Coming to the aid of others brings a feeling of accomplishment and the satisfaction of being useful. You love your job and give the best of yourself every single day. You also get a lot out of it on a human level, through encounters and highly educational discussions.

That said, physically and psychologically, exhaustion can set in, without you even being aware of it:

  • You take on an increasing number of tasks, and never hesitate to come to the aid of your colleagues
  • You often find yourself working in a hurry
  • You occasionally have to make crucial and quick decisions, while making sure you have the approval of medical personnel
  • You work for hours on end, with no clue as to when you last took a break
  • Some patients give you a hard time and can show disrespect or aggressive behaviour

The added physical fatigue caused by stress and a lack of recognition exhausts you, but how do you know if you have reached your limit? Identify the signs that indicate that you are at breaking point.

As a caregiver, what signs should serve as a warning that you are about to burn out?

You tend to be more tired than your friends who do not work within the medical field. Complaining a little about your everyday life during a family lunch may not seem to be an indication that something is really wrong.

However, little by little, warning signs that start to rack up definitely indicate that you can no longer keep going the way you are:

  • Insomnia, in spite of feeling a level of fatigue that borders on exhaustion
  • Irritability when faced with everyday situations, even outside of the professional context
  • The need to be alone, even though you love seeing your friends and relatives
  • A lack of interest in the activities you usually enjoy
  • A knot in your stomach that won't go away
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • The impression that you are no longer able to manage your tasks, even the most simple

These signs pose a threat to your physical and mental equilibrium.

They also contribute to placing your patients in danger. A mistake in the medical field can have serious repercussions on patients.

Should you fail to perform your duties correctly, you will bitterly regret it if you have not taken note of the signals your body has been sending you for weeks.

How do you manage the exhaustion of medical staff?

Even if your days at work are demanding, do not forget to separate work and leisure. When the doors to the hospital close behind you, change your mindset.

If you feel a real sense of weariness when faced with new tasks for which you feel ill-equipped, be sure to speak to your superior, who will be able to arrange some specific training for you. Once you feel more at ease, your everyday will run much more smoothly.

In any event, do not suffer alone when faced with a situation that is too much for you. Talk to your spouse, to your children, to your parents, or to your friends who are most concerned for your wellbeing.

Your GP is also an ideal person to talk to. He or she will begin by prescribing you some rest. If the situation persists, your GP may refer you to a psychologist who will be more than familiar with the difficulties faced by caregivers.

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