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Navigating the stress of caring for a loved one during a pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for all of us, but it can be especially difficult for caregivers.
Published: Jul. 27, 2020 at 8:23 AM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging for all of us, but it can be especially difficult for caregivers.

Whether you’re a medical hero or supporting older or sick family members, caregivers might be feeling added stress right now. Experts at Brynn Marr Hospital say this can lead to burnout or compassion fatigue.

“It’s when people experience an excessive amount of physical or emotional fatigue, or they start to feel burnt out as a result of caring for somebody who might have a physical or mental health injury or illness,” said Admissions Manager at Brynn Marr Hospital Anna Simmermon.

Signs and symptoms include depression and anxiety, changes in sleep and appetite, getting sick more often and lack of interest in things they were once interested in. Simmermon says if you are feeling any of these symptoms, listen to your body.

“One of the most important things we can do is be aware of when we’re starting to feel excessively tired or burnt out. Being aware of those changes in our bodies can help us to make some lifestyle changes so we can recharge our minds and our bodies,” said Simmermon.

She says a healthy diet, exercise, getting enough sleep and trying to focus on the positive are all ways to cope with caregiver burnout.

If you are struggling to the point where you can no longer feel compassion or empathy, you should reach out to your healthcare provider or therapist.

There are also resources available through NAMI or through Brynn Marr Hospital.

Copyright 2020 WITN. All rights reserved.

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