Prioritizing mental health as a caregiver

Learn more about balancing the demands of caregiving with personal health and wellness.

At Evernorth Care Group, we know that providing the best care and support for patients means supporting their caregivers as well. Often, caregivers put their own health and wellness aside to focus on the patient, but this can quickly lead to burnout. 

Burnout is a feeling of emotional or physical exhaustion that can arise from significant demands on your time, energy and resources—and caregiving is no small task. One study found that caregivers of elderly family members devote 253 hours per month to providing care, the equivalent of nearly two full-time jobs.

If you are a caregiver for an aging loved one, for a person with a disability or for someone diagnosed with a chronic illness, know that your health is just as important as supporting the health of others. Here are some ways you can avoid burnout as a caregiver.

Stay involved in things you love

Don’t feel guilty for making time to do the things you enjoy. Seeing friends, maintaining hobbies and staying active are all beneficial to your mental health, even if only for a small amount of time. If there is someone you can share caregiving tasks with, don’t be afraid to ask for support so you can take time away.

Sleep well

Research has shown that 76% of caregivers struggle to get a good night’s rest—often because of stress and anxiety over the needs of the patient. However, not getting enough rest can make it difficult to sustain enough energy to provide care, increasing your risk of physical and emotional exhaustion. It’s recommended that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. If you’re caring for a loved one who needs round-the-clock care, lean on your available support network to give you a break.

Talk to a behavioral health professional

If you’re experiencing severe stress, depression or anxiety due to the demands of being a caregiver, it may be time to seek additional support. A licensed behavioral health clinician can help you navigate the emotional challenges of caregiving, which can often be overlooked. They will work with you to develop strategies to recognize and address signs of burnout, and even collaborate with your primary care physician to address physical health concerns alongside mental health. 

Caregiver Behavioral Health Services at Evernorth Care Group

If you and the patient you care for are established patients at Evernorth Care Group, support is available for both patients and caregivers at tandem appointments.

For additional questions about how to prepare for an upcoming appointment as a caregiver, give us a call at 800.233.3264.