Somatus Patient Blog

Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Caregivers

Put yourself first, so you can better serve your loved one.   

We’ve all heard those pre-flight safety messages, right? The ones when the flight attendant says, “put your oxygen mask on first before helping others.” Why? Because if you run out of oxygen yourself, you can’t help anyone else with theirs. In a nutshell: you can only help others if you first help yourself. 

That’s especially true for caregivers! 

For National Caregivers Day, we want to give a huge shout-out to the dedicated caregivers in our members’ lives and provide you with some tips and tricks for putting yourself first! Whether it’s shopping and paying the bills or managing medicines and driving to and from appointments, we know you’re out there, and we recognize your passion and commitment. So, let’s focus on YOU! 

Caregiver burnout is real. Here are 10 steps you can take to avoid it. 

  • Stay active with regular exercise.

    Regular physical activity — even in small increments — can boost your energy level and reduce stress, which can be high for caregivers. If you’re not in the market to buy a new elliptical, even doing household chores like cleaning and gardening can help boost your energy for yourself and others!

  • Rest when you can and prioritize sleep.

    As a caregiver, you’re always “on,” but you need to recharge to be at your best. If you’re having trouble falling asleep, try using relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises to decompress.

  • Maintain a healthy diet.

    When you’re feeling stressed or in a rush, it’s easy to just make a run for the drive-through, but when we eat healthy foods for our body, that’s when it functions at its best. If you have to eat on the run, pack some nutritious snacks (like carrots and hummus or rice cakes and nut butter) so that you don’t deplete your energy instead of increasing it.

  • Make time for your own medical appointments.

    Remember, to be an effective caregiver, you have to care for yourself too! If you’re sick, you won’t be able to care for your loved one. Ask for help when you need it so you can get away for your own appointments and take care of yourself.

  • Watch for signs of depression, anxiety, and stress.

    The demands of caregiving can lead to physical, emotional, psychological, and financial strain. If you are experiencing signs of depression, anxiety, or stress, talk to your health care professional for advice or interventions.

  • Take time to engage in a hobby or activity you enjoy.

    Whether it’s reading, walking, crafts, cooking, or listening to music, do whatever makes you happy and relaxes you. It will make such a difference in how you show up every day for your loved one and yourself!

  • Let others help when they offer.

    It’s ok to ask for and accept help! Take advantage of when friends or family offer to take over for an hour or two.

  • Stay connected with others.

    Don’t allow yourself to become isolated. Stay connected with family and friends, even if it’s just by phone or online.

  • Stay positive and give yourself credit.

    Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back for the job you’re doing. It’s a big one and you’re serving an invaluable role. But recognize your limitations and make peace with them. If you’re feeling guilty or angry, take a break to refresh your mind.

  • Find resources in your community.

    According to the CDC, almost one-third of caregivers provide care at least 20 hours a week. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are some resources available to support caregivers:

If you have a special caregiver in your life, here are some ideas for how you can support them on National Caregivers Day (or any day for that matter): 

  • Help them with errands, chores, or other tasks. 
  • Schedule times to check in on them and offer emotional support. 
  • Make sure they are managing their own health care and needs (this is a big one that is often overlooked). 
  • Help them create a care plan for the person they care for, which will give them some structure and possibly alleviate unexpected expectations.
  • Celebrate them on social media with hashtags like #NationalCaregiversDay and #CelebrateCaregivers. 

Want more information about the Somatus healthy living program?

Contact us anytime! (855) 851-8354 (TTY: 711) or [email protected].