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Caring for a loved one with dementia is an act of love and commitment, but have you paused to check on your own well-being lately? It's crucial to recognize the early signs of burnout and take proactive steps to manage your health and emotions. 

"Taking care of yourself is essential for taking care of others. This quick caregiver burnout quiz can help you identify areas of concern and find resources to manage stress."

This episode explores some often overlooked aspects of stages of caregiver burnout, offering insights and strategies to help you stay healthy and effective in your caregiving role.

Listeners can connect with Michelle Gordon through her podcast "Finding Bliss After Burnout" or by following her on Instagram at @MichelleGordon_coach.

Talking About Caregiver Burnout With Michelle Gordon

12:32 The 12 Stages of Burnout: Unveiling the Progression
15:02 Recognizing Burnout Symptoms: Signs to Watch for
16:59 Reflections on Burnout Journey: Personal Experiences Shared
28:12 Aligning with Values: Reconnecting with What Matters
34:11 Embracing Feelings: The Importance of Emotional Awareness
40:21 Setting Yourself Up for Success: Morning Rituals for Well-being
42:28 Journaling for Self-reflection: Uncovering Thoughts and Emotions
44:18 Recognizing Red Flags: Signs of Burnout to Address
49:53 Conclusion and Encouragement: Taking Steps Towards your Well-being

Recognizing Burnout Early

Burnout can creep up unnoticed, manifesting through gradual changes in your mood and behavior. You might start feeling more cynical, irritable, or impatient—a significant departure from your usual demeanor.

These changes are early indicators that you're on the path to burnout. Ignoring these signs can lead to more severe consequences, including complete emotional and physical exhaustion.

Strategies for Prevention and Recovery

Setting Boundaries: Establishing clear boundaries is essential to maintain your health and relationships. Determine what you are willing and able to do, and communicate these limits to others involved in your loved one’s care. This helps prevent resentment and fatigue.

Mindset Shifts:

Adjusting your mindset about caregiving can significantly affect how you cope with caregiver stress. Viewing your caregiving role through a lens of love and duty, while important, should also include an element of self-care and personal well-being.

Physical and Mental Breaks:

Regular breaks are crucial. Engage in activities that rejuvenate your spirit and body, whether it’s a walk in the park, reading a book, or practicing meditation. These breaks are not just a respite from your duties but are essential for maintaining your health.

Seek Professional Help:

Don’t hesitate to seek support from professionals or support groups. Therapy, counseling, and caregiver coaching can provide strategies to manage stress and avoid burnout.

Acknowledge Your Feelings: Recognize and express your emotions. Keeping a journal can be a therapeutic way to reflect on your feelings and the challenges you face daily.

Embracing Support

Remember, it’s not selfish to take care of yourself—it’s necessary. You can’t provide the best care for your loved one if you are not at your best. Utilize resources like free workshops, support groups, and professional advice. These resources offer practical advice and support from people who understand exactly what you're going through.

In conclusion, while caregiving is a challenging role, particularly for those looking after loved ones with dementia, understanding and addressing the signs of burnout early can make a significant difference. You are not alone in this journey; help and support are available, and taking the time to care for yourself is just as important as caring for your loved one.

Read More:

Dementia Caregiver Tips: What You Need to Know About Ethical Decision Making in Dementia Care

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[0:01] Have you ever really wondered or thought about it? What does it mean to have burnout? In today's episode of Dementia Caregiving for Families, we are going to talk to an expert on the 12 stages. Yes, I did say 12. The 12 stages of burnout. And it was a fascinating conversation for me because I learned so much from my guest, Michelle Gordon, because I never, first of all, knew that there were 12 stages of burnout. But then what was more insightful was that I actually have gotten all the way up to a level six, which was cynical and irritated with no patience on these 12 stages of burnout. And I wanted to bring her episode to you this week because I recognize that so many family caregivers of people living with dementia.

[1:13] Do fall somewhere on this continuum of the stages of burnout. And our hope by bringing you this episode is that you will recognize that you are important, too, because when you start to address these stages of burnout and by acknowledging that you are in these stages of burnout, you tell yourself that you're actually important, too. Uh so if you are struggling if you feel like you're getting close to burnout i invite you to my next free ask the dementia coach um session where i will coach you for free all i ask is that you register and the link is in the show notes below for you to register for a a free Ask the Dementia Coach session. And without further ado, let's listen to my interview with Michelle Gordon.

Understanding Caregiver Burnout: Definition and Stages

[2:23] Have you recently found out someone you love has dementia? Struggling to wrap your head around how to be a Christian caregiver? Searching for answers by joining countless Facebook groups, but find them toxic? Learning how to cope with dementia feels difficult, but learning a Christian caregiving worldview can be easy. Hey, brother and sister in Christ, I'm Lizette, occupational therapist, pastor's wife, turned dementia coach, and a daughter of dementia.

In this podcast, you will learn the truth that the way to make dementia care easy is your faith. Knowing that a loving God has decreed this hard providence in your life makes all the difference. Here you will gain skills. You will be challenged by what God says in his word about caregiving, and you will learn exactly what dementia is and is not. Find clarity and certainty from God's word so you have perseverance for this journey. Use science-backed solutions and biblical principles to redeem your time. Praying this blesses you as we dive into dementia from a Christian perspective. Let's glorify God despite dementia.

Interview with Michelle Gordon: Journey and Expertise

[3:51] Well, welcome to today's episode of Dementia Caregiving for Families. I am very, very excited with my guest today. Her name is Michelle Gordon. And yes, when she starts to speak, she has a little bit of an accent. She is very, very gracious. We got up extremely early in the morning for us to do this interview. view. She lives in Australia and she is a nurse who specializes in burnout, which is one of the reasons I wanted to bring her on this episode of Dementia Caregiving for Families because I know how much of a challenge that is for so many caregivers that they end up burning out. So Michelle, welcome to today's episode.

[4:44] Thank you, Lizette. Thank you for having me. It is nice and early here in Australia, but I'm an early bird anyway. Well, that's what happens when you're a nurse, right? You have to work these awful hours, which is why I'm not a nurse. I'm a therapist, even though when I started working, we were always at work at seven. so it wasn't that much of a difference. So I know that your specialty is working with nurses who are experiencing burnout. My understanding is that you have a little bit of a story related to how you started to work with nurses related to burnout. Do you want to share with people how you've become the guru in burnout? Yeah, absolutely. So I've been nursing for 26 years this year and back in 2016 between 2016 and 2018 I found myself in a really really dark place and I wasn't actually sure what was happening at the time because I hadn't, experienced I guess it just felt really dark and gray and heavy and I essentially.

[6:02] Burnt out and I hit end-stage burnout, so stage 12 burnout, which I'll share with you about the different stages of burnout a bit later on. And I, yeah, essentially hit that physical, mental, emotional collapse. And the help that I was looking for wasn't available. I had seen i had seen psychologists i had seen counselors and therapists and i wasn't able i was just cycling deeper and deeper and deeper into burnout and eventually i sort of took matters into my own hands or there was a few things that were happening my health deteriorated mentally and emotionally and physically and i ended up uh working with and finding a coach and.

[7:01] From coach from the coaching space i had a huge change and was able to really move forward and untangle what was driving my burnout and then get my health back on track and really put in some boundaries and different ways that I was working and really create different beliefs about the way that I thought I had to sort of show up and work as a nurse. So that was my journey and that really sparked the, I guess, the...

[7:38] The desire then was, wow, if I wasn't able to find any change or resolution from those traditional practices and saw, you know, huge change and transformation in coaching.

[7:55] There's a gap here. And I know that nurses are burnt out and that it's a thing. Um and especially after COVID that that burnout rates were getting higher and higher yeah so I went okay this is something that I should really look into and that then took me on a journey to become a coach myself and specifically work with nurses to help them overcome burnout and create a life that they love. I love that story on so many different levels. The first thing that really resonated with me is the fact that you are a professional caregiver, even though family members are going to be thinking, well, you know, I'm a family caregiver. There's a big difference between being a family caregiver and professional caregiver. And yes, to an extent there is. However, However, there is a lot of overlap as well, and I actually think being a family caregiver can be more stressful if you're on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you have no way to get away or no strategies or no systems in place to actually participate.

[9:15] Do the things you need to do to help you make it through and not actually burn out. So, you know, that was the first thing. And then something that's really, really close to my heart is you mentioned the belief shifts, you know, your mindset, what you have to think about that. That's one of the things I strongly talk to people about.

[9:39] Caregiving, in my opinion, in is mostly your thought process about your caregiving. And so burnout related, because most of the people I've seen or worked with that have not been successful have that mindset of either it's terrible or doom and gloom, and there's nothing I can do about it. I just have to do it. And so shifting people's mindset is something that I work on when I work on dementia coaching with people. And then boundaries, like that word boundaries is so vitally important. And caregivers, family caregivers do not put up healthy boundaries in order for them to make it through this process for the long term. And then as a therapist, as an OT, I never knew that there were 12 stages of burnout. Like, to me, that is like, okay, tell me more. Yeah, yeah, it's really interesting. And I didn't know about burnout. I didn't, you know.

[10:51] I just thought something was wrong with me. You know, something's wrong with me. Why can't I continue this? This is my job. You know, this is my livelihood. What is going on? There's something wrong with me. And the more, you know, once I started to see and implement those things, like you said, mindset is huge. I did a whole, I guess, I did a whole lot of work on my mindset, first of all, with my coach but then I even went deeper than that after I finished working with my coach and went wow this is so big and then the beliefs and all of that plays a big part in in helping to overcome burnout so it that's really important but yes the more that I dived in and really sort of, untangled burnout was when I I discovered these 12 stages and this was I think burnout was a term coined by a psychologist, Herbert Freudenberg, back in the 70s.

[11:56] So what he discovered was this was, I guess, a condition that was happening or something that was happening to caregivers, to doctors and nurses in particular, way back in the 70s. And what he noticed was there was a very familiar sort of pattern and stages so he really sort of uncovered these stages and the first stage is all about proving yourself and and.

The 12 Stages of Caregiver Burnout: Unveiling the Progression

[12:33] I guess, being excessive in, I'm going to get through this. I'm going to make this work. Okay, let's go, let's go, let's go. So, really, that excessive ambition and needing to, I guess, conquer whatever's in front. Does that make sense? Oh, for sure. Yeah. The second stage is pushing through. It's like, okay, wow, this is big. I'm going to just push through. Maybe if I work, I guess, work a bit harder here, I'll get through this. Third stage is neglecting your own needs. So things like sleep, eating well, any exercise, things that you used to do to look after yourself, go. The fourth stage is you feel a little bit disconnected and a little bit frustrated, and you're kind of not sure what's happening, but some of those real symptoms come through that you know that there's something happening here, that you're not, something's feeling off. So that's sort of stage four. Stage five is where you actually disconnect with your values.

[13:55] And your self-worth is really based on the job that you're doing. So this is in particular for nurses especially, that your values system is gone and you, I guess, embrace the values of the system in which you're working in or the organization you're working in. Um stage six is you become really cynical really irritated really frustrated and you don't have i guess the the patience with other people or anyone around you so that's stage six stage seven You start to withdraw from social interactions, withdraw from any of the things that you used to do. You don't go out or do anything for yourself anymore. So that will withdrawing from social interactions. Stage eight, other people notice that you've changed. Yes.

Recognizing Burnout Symptoms: Signs to Watch for

[15:03] Stage nine. Yeah, stage nine is complete detachment from self. So it's almost like that you're dissociated. You're walking around in your physical body, but mentally you're somewhere else.

[15:18] I am very excited to announce this next part of our journey together.

[15:26] Once a month, on a Thursday evening, I'm going to do a segment called Ask the Dementia Coach.

[15:35] Where you can actually come into a coaching session with me and other people if they register for the same time, so you can feel what it feels like to actually have dementia coaching. The reason I'm doing this is because I know so many of you guys are struggling on your own and may feel like you're at the end of your rope. And in order to help serve you better, I wanted to open up this opportunity once a month for you to register for a free Ask the Dementia Coach segment. Segment like I said it will be Thursday evenings once a month six o'clock eastern time in the evening and the segment is called ask the dementia coach so if you're interested in signing up for that the link will be in the show notes below and I look forward to seeing you on one of these special sessions stage 10 in emptiness stage 11 is uh depression and stage 12 is the complete mental physical and emotional collapse.

Reflections on Burnout Journey: Personal Experiences Shared

[16:59] Wow.

[17:03] Hmm. And not everyone will travel through all those stages and get to stage 12. And I remember I very much went right from stage one. And I can remember thinking, well, maybe if I just push through, maybe if I just get up earlier and do more, then I'll conquer everything that's in in front of me for the day. And then I remember feeling that cynical, irritated, frustrated. I was just totally not myself right through to stage 12 was where I hit rock bottom and had that exhaustion and complete collapse. I'm so sorry you actually had to go through all the way through stage 12. But as you were talking, I was thinking about people I've known throughout my life, you know, both professional caregivers who have been at a various stage of burnout and family caregivers that I've worked with and kind of like, oh, that was what was going on. Yeah.

[18:15] You know, because it's one thing, and this was one of the reasons I really enjoyed.

[18:21] Learning about and finding a tool that I could use with family caregivers to track stress, like caregiver burden, because I'm like, it's one thing, you know, when you're learning about starting a business, you learn all about marketing and sales and all of these different skills that I've never had. And a lot of what people say is, oh, I'm going to help you decrease your stress, or I'm going to help you reduce burnout. And I'm like, show me the money. Like, how can you say that? You can't, you know, where's a benchmark or, you know, a way of saying we've actually decreased somebody's stress, you know? It's kind of like saying to somebody, oh, you're going to lose weight, but the scale never changes, right? If you don't have something to measure stress with, or if you don't have something to measure burnout with, how do you know it's been decreased, right? Just saying to somebody, oh, I'm going to help you decrease your stress isn't helpful unless we could measure it. So I was really excited when I heard you on the podcast that I heard you on, because I'm like, this is a way for us to actually see where somebody's burnout level is, and then build things in place to actually improve it.

[19:49] So when you work with people who have burnout and there are these 12 stages, are there certain things people have to do at each stage to.

[20:01] Say you start working with somebody and they're disconnected from their values. A good example for me from a family caregiver perspective is going to be you are doing everything you need to do to take care of the person you're taking care of, but it's maybe your parent and you're ascribing and doing everything for their preferences.

[20:25] Not for yours. Right yes it's like everything's related to well mom wants to stay at home well maybe that's not the best decision for the whole you know ecosystem the whole family maybe it's what mom wants but it doesn't mean it's what's best if you're the primary caregiver so disconnecting from your values like from an organization to me could be disconnecting from your values because you're you're doing everything for this other person who is your parent um but it's not your value system and it's their value system their value yes what you're taking into account is all of their values what they value and what they desire and and that is yeah you can definitely map that across as a caregiver disconnecting with what you truly value right so if you have somebody that comes in there.

[21:21] Like how do you work on getting them what kind of things do people need to do like if you get to stage 12 like how do we backtrack it how do we make it better like i have no idea about any of this stuff so i'm like super curious yeah so look there's various i mean various things that i put put in place with my clients if someone's at stage 12 um which i have had before generally they've already have seen their doctor or their their um gp and or some sort of psychological intervention um and you know i make sure that where they're at at that point particularly if If they're at stage 11 and 12 and, you know, moving backwards.

[22:17] I, what I really try and get them to do is, is decreasing their mental load and their physical load. That's.

[22:27] One of the first things is, okay, what are you holding here in terms of the physical capacity?

[22:35] In what areas do you have children? And particularly for the people that you help, what are all those other physical stresses where you're taking the load? Then what is the mental load that you're carrying? And how do we break that down? What can we do here to ease some of those the load that you're carrying then beyond that it's.

[23:03] I guess the very the next thing that I do is get them to really accept and acknowledge where they're at oh what yes absolutely and that can probably sometimes be the hardest thing yeah because most people come to me they're in a state of resistance and they're they're trying to fight against the burnout it's like i'm fighting against this i'm not i'm not do this yes and so they're continuing to try and push themselves through um not realizing that that's you know essentially they're just traveling deeper and deeper into burnout so So the very, I guess, first thing is to say, hey, I am actually not coping and I don't feel great and mentally I'm having some dark thoughts and I feel lost or I feel empty, I feel stuck.

[24:06] I haven't felt happiness or joy for a long time. Yeah it's getting to to really verbalize that and and deeply acknowledge that because that's from that space is where you can really springboard forward because they've stopped fighting against it they've just got on and said okay i am here and i i need to just now what next yeah, I love that what next, the being proactive about, you know, accepting, like accepting where you are is definitely something that you have to be able to do in order to move forward. You know, when I work with my clients too, with my family caregivers that are in that, I like use like a stoplight system or in South Africa, we would call them robots. I don't know of what you call them in Australia, do you call them traffic lights or stoplights? Traffic lights. Yeah, traffic lights.

[25:08] So in South Africa, they're robots. I don't know why a robot, but in the United States, they're traffic lights or stoplight systems, right? Yeah. You know, people who are already in the red, getting them to even acknowledge sometimes that, oh, it's as bad as, like they feel it, they can feel it, but they cannot necessarily acknowledge that that is what they're feeling. It's like, well, this is my wife or this is my mom. I just have to do this. Well, when I work, you know, when I work with people, I always try to get them to look at the future in the sense of at some point or another, the family member that they are caring for is not going to be there any longer. And they still have a life. Like I'm 53, I'll be 54 in September. I help my parents if they live another 10 years, which they could. They'd be 88 and 86. I'd be 64 and I'm still going to have a life. And I have my children. Hopefully by then I'll have some grandkids. You know, what do I want my life to look like? What do I want my relationship with my spouse to look like? And so getting people to just stop and speak these things out loud can really make such a difference in, you know.

[26:37] Nobody says this to people. Like, you know, when you're in a, you know, nursing, you're a nurse, I'm a therapist, my daughter's a nurse. Nursing is a hard profession. People don't realize, you know, how difficult a profession being in a helping profession is because you're constantly pouring out of yourself to take care of someone else. So after they accept where they are and you've decreased the mental load and the physical load what other things you mentioned earlier on boundaries like what other things can people put in place if listening to you know the list of the different 12 different stages if they recognize themselves in some of these stages what are some easy things that people can do for themselves to maybe try to start to step back from burning out all the way.

[27:34] Yeah. And the next thing would be really looking at their values and reconnecting with their values because at one point, one of the stages here, there's that disconnect because they're too busy taking on the values of, for you it would be their loved one. And for nurses in particular, it's the hospital system. So take on their system. So it's getting them back to really align with their values and what are they.

Aligning with Values: Reconnecting with What Matters

[28:13] And I guess reinforcing the importance that your values are your values. And what I talk about is living in alignment. And when you're in alignment you're fully honoring your values and your goals and dreams, so we spend i spend a lot of time with my clients in that values alignment part and then really saying well what do you want out of life this year what do you want to see happen sort of very similar to what you were talking about there is a life for you beyond work or beyond your your caregiving role here. So what do you want to see happen? And where can we put this in on the map right now, given the situation or what's happening? What can you work on? And what would one goal be that you would like to work on right now? And that's really important because when you're burning or, you know, when you're burning out or during the stages of burnout, out, you lose yourself. You forget who you are. You forget your values. You forget what lights you up. So it's really important to...

[29:32] To know that that that is you and it's you like you matter you really matter and i know that right now you're caring for your loved one and they're your main priority but it's you have to come back to hang on i'm a human being and i have values too and my goals and dreams still matter so So, yeah, I like to do a big session on that to get them really firmly grounded back into their own value system again.

[30:09] Did you know that caring for a person with dementia doesn't have to be this hard? If you are struggling and you would like to join our next free workshop, the topic of the workshop is three tips how to avoid challenging dementia behaviors without stress, anxiety, or burnout. I invite you to walk away with science-backed dementia caregiving skills that many professionals don't even know after attending this free workshop on Saturday. If you'd like to register, message me the word workshop on Instagram or check out the link in the show notes below.

[31:08] You know, this is remarkable. You know, for people listening, Michelle and I only met today. We haven't had a conversation before today. We've emailed back and forth, and I listened to a podcast where she was talking about caregiver burnout stages. But what I find really remarkable is how much overlap there is between what Michelle does with her people and what I do with my people, even though I haven't termed it as in reference to burnout. out. But when I work with family caregivers, because part of my process that I take people through is I sit with them at the beginning and I clarify where that person is related to burn, you know, just caregiver burden.

[31:53] Not burn out, but burden, stress levels, what, you know, where their loved person is that they're helping to kind of get an idea of where they're functioning. So it gives me an idea of what we're going to be contending with. And then Then I teach them how to manage the skills of actually taking care of somebody. And then I actually focus just on the caregiver. And I focus on caregiver well-being and mindset and preparing them for all of those kinds of things. But the last piece of it is actually developing a plan. And in that plan that I work with people, a huge component of it is what you just talked about is the values. I don't call it values. I call it what are your roles and responsibilities, right? What are the things that you need to do? What are the things that you like to do? What are the things that are important for you to be able to continue to do? You know, I'm a mom, I'm a wife, I'm a daughter, I'm a church member, all of these different roles and responsibilities that is a part of my life.

[33:05] Not everything is just being a caregiver, a family caregiver. What are these other things? What are the things I like to do? What are the things they like to do? What are the things they don't want to ever do from a caregiving perspective? And then we plan it out. And so I find it remarkable to see how much overlap there is between burnout and what you're talking about, aligning with your values and putting, you know, the stuff that I've done on my own with no background in burnout. I'm like, oh, this is kind of cool. It is. Yeah. And it is. It's so, they overlap for sure. Yeah. Absolutely. And it is so important to really come back to you as a human being, because at the end of the day, what happens is we try to just go into robot mode and go, I'm going to get through this, and I'll just disconnect from my feelings. I'll disconnect from what's important to me, and I'll just get through this for however long I need to.

Embracing Feelings: The Importance of Emotional Awareness

[34:11] And that just is what happens. And so the next thing that I would be taking my clients through is to start to feel their feelings again.

[34:23] Start to know that your feelings matter. And the more that you're dissociated and detached from your feelings, the less joy, happiness, you know, that you're going to have in your life. It's important for you to feel your feelings. feelings and for the for nurses say we can't do that on shift and I guess the caregivers they're the same like they can't be sitting in that space of feeling big deep feelings while they're well they're in that caregiving role when can and I guess the question is well when can you make space for your feelings and what does that look like and how can you sit with those and work through them. When you help people to sit with their feelings and work through them, what does that look like? Because a person's feelings are 100% valid and you feel what you feel for sure, but I also don't want people to then just sit in the wallowing side of it. How How do we get people to take the active step through that? Did that make sense? Yeah, absolutely. And for my clients, it's a lot of slowing down, grounding back into that.

[35:47] Their body so not living in their head a lot of my clients think about their feelings they think about a lot of things they overthink in fact and i relate to that yeah so it's trying to you know constantly be one step ahead of the game and one step ahead of what do i need to have next what do i need to get ready next what you know being always in that analytical brain so it's coming Coming back into their body, a lot of like moving your body, for example, walking, being out in nature, grounding, just standing outside with your feet on the grass.

[36:25] Lots of my clients start to do that. And what they start to notice when they are doing this mindfulness, essentially, is that they're seeing the colors of the trees. They can now hear the birds singing. And that in itself can bring up a lot of emotions because they're now in their body again. They're not dissociated. So I just encourage them to explore that. And we talk about that on our calls together and just allow the tears to come. We do journaling as well. Journaling is another great tool for them to download their thoughts, feelings. Yeah. And it's, yeah, allowing yourself that space, but yeah, again, not wallowing in it. Don't, don't be staying there and, and yeah.

[37:22] Moving them through to okay where are you where are you going next and that's just taking that time out for them I guess before they go back into work or back into their caregiving role and taking some moments from from them which is yeah probably what they once found really hard to do oh for sure like mine is chicken therapy oh beautiful we have 11 chickens and when i need to find some yes space yep i go sit outside and i watch my chickens perfect it makes me reconnect and when when i don't have that opportunity to watch my chickens i don't know if you know anything about chickens but chickens are are awesome they are they are the world's most fun things to watch and i'm a hundred percent convinced they're still dinosaurs oh well there you go i didn't know don't know much about chickens but but that's perfect and it's such a great way for you to disconnect from where you what you've been doing and focusing on to go out there and kind of re-center yourself and and that's amazing lots of my yeah my clients do beautiful nature walks or sit outside in their garden and anything.

[38:48] To re-center and ground is really perfect to to come back into your body so.

[38:54] Aligning with their values and then living in alignment feeling their feelings, slowing down, reconnecting with nature, journaling. I love the journaling. I think that's something that...

[39:10] We don't tend to do when we feel busy. One of the big things, and I'm sure you get this from your clients too, is I don't have time. I don't have time. But we have to make the time. We have time for the things that are our priorities. Everybody does. is. But we live when we're in that moment, when we're in that season. We think we don't have the time, but we really do have the time. We just have to stop ourselves and say, you can make the time for this. You are important. You're just as important as the person you're caring for. Yeah so what other what other things that i don't know to ask the questions what other what other strategies or things are there that people could try to help themselves if they're not ready for a coach related to burnout yeah and i think like you just talked about making time for yourself and making time for things like journaling.

Setting Yourself Up for Success: Morning Rituals for Well-being

[40:22] I like to help my clients really set them up for success in the morning. It will create some space for themselves in the morning. I think that's really important. I know it's really important. It's been a game changer for me. And I've passed this on.

[40:38] Especially to the nurses that I work with, is how can you set yourself up today before going into a full day of nursing? Like, what does that look like? And the key is to fill yourself up, fill up your tank before you go and deplete it by nursing and caring for everyone else. So that's huge. Like, you can't be caring for anyone else when your tank's, you know, depleting. And in those, you know, red stages, it's like the car when the petrol's running out, the fuel is running out is like, yeah, the light goes on. Hello, there's not enough in here. You know, fill me up, fill me up.

[41:23] And we just don't do that. We just want to keep going. And it's like, again, you know, those stages of burnout, I'll push through, I'll push through, I'll just, I'll come back to that. And we never do, you know, so we're running on these empty tanks. So setting yourself up for success in the morning and what that gets to look like is completely up to you. What do you want to do? Moving your body, exercising, journaling. Is it sitting outside like regrounding or chicken therapy like you enjoy? Enjoy just really taking an hour or you know 30 minutes to an hour for yourself to just check in and and give yourself some time and space before you go into your your caregiving role or your nursing role so yeah that's a big one and my clients we play play around with what works for them and journaling is a really big one that I get my clients to do and I think for your for caregivers this is particularly important is can you just spend some time.

Journaling for Self-reflection: Uncovering Thoughts and Emotions

[42:29] At the end of the day, just downloading how you felt, what happened, you know, just really recognizing those thoughts and feelings. It's so important. Absolutely. I am, I'm so excited about this. This, this was, this, this is like, makes me so happy. You have no idea. Because as I was looking through the list, I wrote them down for myself because I was super curious, but as I was looking through here, there's so many of these overlap with the caregiver burden inventory. One of the things is withdrawing socially. Caregivers withdraw themselves socially and their relationships suffer. Other people noticing that things are not right. Depression, that's a big thing for family caregivers is, you know, depression. So there's so much overlap here related to this, even though, you know, and I'm going to have to go look up this Dr. Herbert, what?

[43:39] Freudenberger. Freudenberger. I'm going to have to look him up. So this has been fascinating. This has been absolutely fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Is there any last minute, you know, tips, anything that I didn't know I needed to ask you that you could share with people or, you know, have we kind of touched on everything related to the process of burnout and how people can start to walk back away from that? Yeah, I think recognizing the signs and symptoms is really important and awareness is key. It's.

Recognizing Red Flags: Signs of Burnout to Address

[44:19] Of I'm not feeling great. I wake up in the morning with thoughts of dread and feelings of dread, frustration, tiredness, like that constant tiredness and exhaustion.

[44:36] And, you know, one big sign for me was coming home at the end of the day from my nursing shift and walking in the door and dreading my husband and children because I knew that they would want some of me as well and that and I would be resentful so that's another big sign is those feelings of resent I would I would be really resentful if they wanted a piece of me because I was like I've got nothing left don't ask yeah don't ask anything of me so that's huge noticing you know for particularly for caregivers if they're feeling like that with with their you know other loved ones or particularly their own children or their parents, their partner. That's a big red flag.

[45:22] Big red flag. So if you can notice that that's happening, notice that that's not normal, that hasn't been you in the past, and then reaching out for help and getting help is so important. And just having someone like yourself to really just bounce off and just spend that time with, that tells your unconscious mind that you're important to and you're valuable yeah oh that's so valuable yesterday or the day before yesterday I actually did a I do interviews and I do prior you know solo ones and and one of the ones that I just recorded was fear fatigue and frustration.

[46:09] As a caregiver. And those three things are all three things on this list. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. For burnout. Well, wonderful. Michelle, thank you so much for being here. I know you have a podcast yourself, if people are specifically related to burnout. How do people listen to your podcast? I wrote it down somewhere and now I can't find it. Okay. My podcast is Finding Bliss After Burnout. Finding Bliss After Burnout. And it's not specific to nurses. It's specific to burnout. Absolutely. People should go listen. I'm going to go listen to this as well. Finding Bliss After Burnout. And then we are going to have all of your connection information in the show notes. But But if there's a specific place you want people to connect with you, you want them to go to?

[47:08] So, yeah, please, if anyone wants to reach out, I love chatting on Instagram. I'm on Instagram and my handle is at Michelle Gordon underscore coach. So underscore coach. And, you know, even though I know you primarily work with nurses, it sounds like what you what you have to offer is broader than just a nurse. So if somebody truly, truly is a family caregiver and they're burning out, if they're really getting towards that, mental and physical point. My ask for people is to not do the ostrich maneuver, you know, stick your head in the sand and hope it goes away. It's not going to go away. Reach out to Michelle. I'm 100% sure she'll be willing to help you, even if it's just a short, you know, one soft type of a conversation. Don't live in burnout. There are resources available. It does mean you have to do things differently. You can't keep doing things the same way.

[48:19] You know, that old saying, what's the definition of insanity?

[48:22] Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So as a family caregiver, if you are listening and you are getting close to burnout, that means your body is telling you you have to do something differently. And so there are resources available. You do not have to feel this way. It is not guaranteed that just because you're a family caregiver that you are going to burn out. I know plenty of family caregivers who don't burn out. So burnout is not normal is what I want people to hear. You know means we have to do something differently yeah absolutely yeah i am so excited to have made a new friend in australia thank you me too this has been great yeah it's a little different than what you normally do isn't it yeah and it look at all it it's all relevant right you know like Like it's so important and I'm just so glad that it, you know, this will resonate with your audience and the people that you help too.

[49:36] Yeah, it's like my brain went like, Michelle, I need to get a hold of Michelle. We need to talk. All this is perfect. So, yeah, thank you for having me. You are very welcome. Well, thank you for being here today. Thank you.

Take a free caregiver burnout quiz

Caregiving for a loved one is a rewarding but demanding experience. It's important to be aware of the signs of caregiver burnout, which can impact your physical and mental health. Taking a caregiver burnout quiz can help you identify if you're at risk and what steps you might need to take.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by caregiving responsibilities? Take a free caregiver burnout quiz to see if you might be experiencing burnout. Early detection can help you get the support you need.

Conclusion and Encouragement: Taking Steps Towards Well-being

[49:53] Thanks for joining me today success seeker i pour my heart and soul into this program to serve you you can serve me by leaving a review on apple podcasts and join our free Facebook group dementia caregiving for families it's a positive and proactive space to navigate dementia caregiving together. Get practical tools and find support, but without the verbal vomit. Be a part of our community where we seek to find peace of mind and ease, despite the dementia diagnosis. So join today and see you next time as our flight takes off.

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About the author

“Think Different” Dementia’s owner, Lizette Cloete, OTR/L graduated as an Occupational Therapist from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1992. Lizette has almost 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist in a variety of settings, the latest being in the home health environment. She enjoys teaching on the topic of dementia, most recently presenting at a national conference on the topic “Dementia Made Simple”.

Disclaimer: These blogs, videos and any work done by Lizette Cloete OT, as a Member of Think Different Dementia, LLC, is given only as educational content and consulting work. This does not create an Occupational Therapist-Patient Relationship. The educational content and consulting work performed should not be considered medical treatment as an Occupational Therapist. The consulting work does not take the place of medical work normally performed by a licensed Occupational Therapist. Please consult a licensed Occupational Therapist for medical advice.

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