Lake Regional Health System | Thrive | Winter 2021

4 | Winter 2021 CAREGIVERS T he new year always brings along the opportunity for a fresh start. Many people capitalize on the optimism of the new year by creating goals. Busy caregivers also should set achievable goals to ensure they take care of themselves throughout the year. “Being a caregiver can be very rewarding — but it is also often stressful work, and it can be easy for caregivers to for- get to take care of themselves, too,” says Crystal Bennett, R.N., Lake Regional Palliative Care nurse. “Chronic stress can wear anyone down. You might begin to experience a sense of exhaustion and hopelessness that experts call care- giver burnout . And at that point, you can’t properly take care of your own health, much less tend to anyone else’s health and needs.” Am I burned out? The symptoms of caregiver burnout can include: • Eating too much or too little • Drinking or smoking more than usual • Feeling tired or run down a lot • Having trouble concentrating • Feeling irritable or resentful toward the care recipient • Neglecting your own needs Caregiver stress and burnout also can contribute to mental CAREGIVER BURNOUT How to reduce your risk of