Caregiving is a selfless act of service and love, but also sacrifice. The majority of caregivers — 61% — also work a full- or part-time job unrelated to caregiving, and 43% have children younger than 18 living at home. Despite their own responsibilities, caregivers often provide daily care, for an average of 7 years, and they are influential in making medical decisions on their loved ones’ behalf.1

Because so much of their time and attention is focused on others, caregivers often neglect to take care of themselves, which can lead to caregiver burnout. If you are a caregiver or are close to someone who is, take a moment to read this article and jot down a few “take care of yourself first” tips.

Help for Caregivers

  • Talk to someone (e.g., a therapist or friend). Caregivers can end up withdrawing from family and friends and feeling isolated, but you are not alone. Build and lean on your support network for understanding, connection and help.
  • Have “me” time. Think about the activities you enjoy unrelated to work or caring for others. Maybe these include having lunch or coffee with friends, seeing a movie, or reading a good book. Having hobbies is important to mental well-being, so schedule “me” time regularly.
  • Set new goals. As you help your loved one prepare for the future, don’t forget to plan for your own. What do you want to accomplish in the next 3-6 months? These can be small goals like trying a new restaurant or bigger goals like learning to paint or taking a much-needed trip.
  • Attend a fitness class. Research shows exercise benefits your body and mind almost instantly. Taking a fitness class at your local gym or community center not only allows you to reap these benefits, but also meet and interact with new people.
  • Spend the day at the spa. Massage is a great way to relax and reduce caregiver stress and anxiety. Additionally, massage can help relieve joint and muscle pain caregivers may experience from being on their feet all day.

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1 Market Strategies International Caregivers Research Report