The Importance of Self Care

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Talk to caring people for practical caregiving information and help finding local resources/services.

Contact your local Family Caregiver Support Program.

There is a tendency of many caregivers to put the needs of everyone else before their own.  This may work in the short-term, but in the long haul it can lead to illness, frustration, resentment, depression, and/or burnout.

You have to take care of yourself.  Good self care means you continually need to replenish yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  If you won’t do it for yourself (and we hope you will), then do it for your loved one.  You have to take care of yourself if you want to continue giving good care. 

It is important to carve out some time for yourself each day for self care. If you wait until all of your chores are done before doing something for yourself, it may not ever happen.  Learn more about tips for carving out time for self care.

Positive Steps for Self Care

  • Schedule time away on a regular basis. To maintain your own emotional and physical health it is absolutely necessary to get relief from your caregiving role. Get respite care if it is needed for you to be able to take some time for yourself.
  • Keep yourself physically and mentally healthy.  Learn more about taking the next step to becoming physically active.  Learn more about staying mentally healthy.
  • Your health counts!  To learn more about healthy aging programs in Washington State visit the Living Well website https://livingwell.doh.wa.gov/AboutUs to find events, workshops, trainings, programs, and resources.
  • Make sure you eat a healthy diet and get some form of exercise as often as possible. A brisk walk is a sure way to relieve stress.  Learn more about making healthy food choices.
  • Protect your health.  Make sure to make and keep medical and dental appointments for yourself.   Learn more about healthy check-ups.
  • Be kind to yourself.  Give yourself credit for the things you do well. Treat yourself to a small present when you’re feeling low. Take time for a long, hot bath.  Learn more about getting support to handle the emotional aspects of caregiving (PDF Format)
  • Stay socially connected and involved with activities and people that bring you pleasure.  Learn more about staying socially connected.
  • Talk to someone who can help you look at things more objectively, perhaps a friend, a fellow caregiver, or a professional counselor.
  • Be honest with friends and family about your needs.
  • Recognize and deal with signs of stress or depression.
  • Hire some in-home help a few hours a week to assist with housekeeping or caregiving.