Burned out Taking Care of Asthma?

Caregiver burnout is pretty common. It can affect you emotionally, mentally, and physically.

WebMd says:

“Burnout can occur when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are able — either physically or financially.”

“Caregivers who are “burned out” may experience fatigue, stress, anxiety, and depression. Many caregivers also feel guilty if they spend time on themselves rather than on their ill or elderly loved ones.”

I have asthma, as do all three of my college aged kids, so I know how hard it can be.

I tell young moms that it does get better! My kids were hospitalized a lot when they were young (mostly due to pneumonia, or smoke from forest fires.) So, it can really consume your day (and night.) It seems like the kids would always get worse at night.

Constant checks

I was constantly checking on my kids when they were sick. They had a habit of going from bad to worse VERY quickly. I kept a close eye on the clock to see if it was time for the next dose of their controller inhaler, nebulizer treatment, antibiotic or oral steroid.

I would carefully wash out the nebulizer kit and making sure I had enough vials of Albuterol. I would check their controller inhalers to make sure they had enough doses.

In our house, it wasn’t usually just one kid that was sick. No matter how carefully I cleaned doorknobs, remotes, and nagged everyone to carefully wash their hands, the sickness would spread through the family.

Caregiving when sick

It’s also hard to be the caregiver when you are sick too! Like most moms, I powered through it. A dragged myself through the day after a sleepless nights of staying awake to give breathing treatments and watch the kids for any signs that they needed to go to the hospital.

I somehow stumbled through piles of laundry and found something to make for dinner – even if I didn’t have time to go to the grocery store. And loading the kids up in the car to head to the drive through was out of the question. They were usually too sick for a car ride.

On top of that, we are part of the “sandwich generation’.  Not only are we caring for kids, but also elderly parents. Many times, we would get a call and have to quickly drive 4 hours to be at a parent’s bedside after they had a heart attack, stroke, or fall that caused broken bones.

Asking for help

I learned that you can’t do it all, and it’s okay to ask for help. And it’s okay to say no.

I also learned that as a mom, I have to take care of myself first, or I couldn’t function. I learned that skipped meals and too little sleep led to migraines. Or I was so run down that I couldn’t fight off a cold and would end up with pneumonia too.

I learned that yoga (as bad as I am) seemed to calm me down and help me feel more peaceful.

I learned that keeping a gratitude journal helped me see the good in life, and to look for the small victories.

I learned that talking to friends (especially friends that have kids with chronic illnesses too) helped me. Because they “get it.”

I learned that watching funny videos seemed to lift our spirits.

What have you learned? And what do you do to take care of yourself?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (2)
  • Shellzoo
    2 weeks ago

    On airplanes they say to put your mask on first before helping someone else because once you are out cold, you can’t help anyone. Caregivers need to take care of themselves too. Also many asthma patients are their own caregiver and all the burdens fall upon themselves. I am in that position myself plus I work full time in healthcare. It is easy to get fatigued but I also like to empower myself by reading evidence based articles so I can learn more about helping myself and others.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Hi Shellzoo and thanks for this post. The suggestion (by the commercial airlines) is a good one. One must take care of themselves first. Then, and only then, can one think of helping others. Glad that you understand the concept and have posted here. We appreciate your input. Leon (site moderator)

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