10 Signs of Burnout

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10 Signs of Burnout and Self-Care Practices For Alzheimer’s



We all reach our breaking point. It’s that moment when the thin thread we’ve been clinging on to for stability snaps, and consequently, we go spiraling downhill, and out of control; lost to our innermost fears, uncertainties, and doubts. If your caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you know the uneasy feelings described here. Read the 10 Signs of Burnout and Self-Care Tips for Alzheimer’s Caregivers and see if you recognize any of them in yourself.


Stress is your body’s response to something that makes you feel threatened. It may be real or imagined. When this happens, your nervous system releases stress hormones. These hormones prepare your body for “fight-or-flight” or emergency action.


A little stress isn’t bad for you. It can even help you perform well under pressure. The dangerous effects of stress come when stress is constant or chronic. Under chronic stress, your body remains in high gear – off and on – for days or weeks on end.


Continuous and long-term stress may lead to serious health problems. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and learning how to manage it may help you stay one step ahead of an overload. Additionally, you need to learn how to manage your stress level not only for yourself but also for the loved one you’re caring for.


You owe it your loved one to be in a relaxed and even-tempered frame of mind. You owe it yourself to care about your emotional and physical wellbeing. If you go day-in and day-out caring for a loved one with complex memory problems, without paying attention to your health, family needs, and priorities – at some point, (sooner or later), you’ll reach the end of your rope. You will be too depressed or exhausted to care for yourself, much less your loved one!

10 Signs of Burnout and Self-Care Practices for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

  1. Denial when everyone around you is trying to convince you that your loved one with Alzheimer’s is progressively getting worse, but you continue to take on more responsibility related to his/her care.


  1. Anger towards your loved one because you resent the fact that he/she is unable to care for himself/herself the same way as before.


  1. Social withdrawal from people and places that used to make you happy. You would rather be alone than interacting with friends.


  1. Anxiety about how to meet the increasing demands of your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Worry about medical bills and financial strain.


  1. Depression that affects your ability to cope. You find yourself crying or upset for no reason.


  1. Exhaustion that makes it challenging to accomplish work and family commitments – you’d instead go back to bed.


  1. Insomnia caused by an endless list of concerns that make getting a restful night’s sleep nearly impossible.


  1. Irritability towards family members that leads to misunderstandings and conflict


  1. Lack of concentration that makes you absent-minded, clumsy and forgetful


  1. Health problems that impact your emotional and physical well-being. You begin feeling unwell, run-down and are more prone to illnesses.

Tips to Manage Caregiver Stress

Recognize any of the burnout signs in your own life? Here’s what you can do about it:

  • Know what community resources are available. Adult day programs, in-home assistance, visiting nurses and meal delivery are just some of the services that can help you manage daily tasks. Get involved in a local support group for help managing stress and finding comforts.


  • Use relaxation techniques. Take breaks during the day and practice a short meditation or mindfulness exercise. Try to separate yourself from noise and activity for 5 minutes to regroup, relax and recharge.


  • Get moving. Resist the urge to retreat to the sofa and put on your sneakers for a brisk stroll or casual walk around the neighborhood. Exercise is a natural antidepressant and will reap excellent benefits for your emotional wellbeing.


  • Make time for yourself. Hire an in-home elder-care sitter for a few hours so that you can relax and take a long overdue break. Many agencies provide affordable senior care to Alzheimer’s patients so that caregivers get a much-needed respite.


  • Become an educated caregiver. As the disease progresses, you may need to consider a senior living facility that specializes in Alzheimer’s care. The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center, Community Resource Finder, and ALZConnected are a few of the many online resources dedicated to helping you provide quality and compassionate care to your loved one.


  • Take care of yourself. Stop postponing the doctor’s appointment with your primary care doctor that is overdue. Eat a balanced diet, exercise when you can, avoid excessive alcohol, and get plenty of rest. By taking care of yourself, you’re the most equipped mentally and physically to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.


  • Make legal and financial plans. Involve your loved one in legal and financial planning early on and before the disease progresses to later stages. Help your loved one complete a living will or advance directive so that you understand wants and needs during every phase of his/her illness.

10 Easy Steps to Relaxation for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

  1. Recognize the signs of your personal stress response. Is your heart rate elevated? Are your fists clenched? Is your blood pressure through the roof? Pay attention to how your body responds to increasing levels of stress. Just becoming aware will help you redirect and channel your anxieties into more positive outlets.


  1. Take one or more deep breaths. You’ve heard it a million time before, “just take a deep breath,” but the restorative power of the breath cannot be quantified or measured. Pay attention to your breathing. Is it labored with long inspirations and short expirations? Focus on equal parts breathing in AND breathing out.


  1. Describe your feelings. “Stressed.” “Anxious.” “Furious.” By articulating your feelings, you’re able to put into words all the emotional angst that goes into caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Verbalizing your feelings serves to validate your inner wants and needs that may have been minimized or neglected due to caring for a sick parent.


  1. Meditate with open or closed eyes. You don’t have to close your eyes in order to find that “zenful” place. In fact, you can meditate sitting, standing or lying down. The most important takeaway from balanced, mindful people is that they understand that the only real rule of meditation is that you need to practice it every day. Your environment and the physical aspects related to posture and pose are secondary.


  1. Choose one activity to do with mindful attention. When was the last time you took a drink of water and noticed how refreshing it was? The next time you pick up a glass, notice how the cool water hydrates your throat and hydrates your body. Mindfulness of ordinary, routine or simple things often leads to profound moments of self-awareness and the ability to enjoy life in the moment.


  1. Be kind to yourself. Are you your own worst critic? Do you berate yourself and find fault in everything you do? Remember that the compassion you give to your loved one with Alzheimer’s should also be extended to yourself. When negative thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge them and allow them to pass.
  2. Accept your thoughts as “just thoughts.” You’ve probably heard the saying, “Just because you think it, doesn’t make it real.” Thoughts are just thoughts, although they do have the uncanny ability to make us believe they are more than that. The next time you catch yourself creating unlikely scenarios out of runaway thoughts, remind yourself to practice a few of these exercises in order to regain your sense of calm.


  1. Smile. You may feel more like frowning but talk yourself into holding a peaceful and pleasant facial expression. Although it feels counterintuitive when you smile in spite of feeling tired, upset or anxious, you’re opening yourself up to more pleasant and meaningful experiences.


  1. Recite a calming motto, mantra, or prayer. Is there a spiritual leader or devotional scripture that brings you hope, insight, and clarity? Write it down, plug it into into you iPhone, and jot it down on a post-it note and tape it to your refrigerator. Put your faith into something greater than yourself in order to persevere through grim and disheartening situations.


  1. Be grateful. Someone always has it worse. What can you be grateful for today? Who is in your life right now that you can lean on for additional support and encouragement? Take notice of the people in your life that offer unconditional love, and reflect on the blessings of good health and friendship the next time you feel emotionally drained or exhausted.


Have you recognized any of the signs of burnout in yourself? What are they and how have you been coping up to now? If your loved one was newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease remember to educate yourself on tools and community resources designed to ease the burden of caring for him/her alone.



Ryan Jackson is a 23 year old Marketing Director for Landmark Recovery. Ryan brings 5 years of expertise in freelance, emerging search engine optimization tactics, inbound marketing, and lead generation. He graduated from Arizona State University where he found his passion for helping people and his love for marketing. Ryan also enjoys playing golf, reading blogs, and anything that has to do with marketing.

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One thought on “10 Signs of Burnout
  • Justyna says:

    This does raise some questions. For instance – is it viable to test Alzheimer”s treatments in mice? All the false positives we”ve had with treatments so far might have been caused by mice regenerating their hippocampus. The way they create murine models of AD is they inject amyloid beta in their brains – and indeed, the peptides kill neurons in their brains just like they do in human brains. Once the treatments are tested large quantities of the amyloids are removed. And mice can regenerate their hippocampus freely at that point as it seems and regain memory function. It also points to the conclusion we might need to clear accumulated toxic material and hipppocampal neurons the brain to get a positive clinical outcome in a human – if that is the case I doubt an effective Alzheimer”s therapy will be available to the public in the next 20 to 30 years – not with the current moods towards stem cell therapies.

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