The information from this blog post was derived from the Family Caregiver Alliance article entitled “Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregiver.” For more in-depth information please refer to the following article: Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers. This MFLN-Military Caregiving concentration blog post was published on March 3, 2017. I’m too busy…I don’t have enough time for…If I don’t do it, no one will… Are you guilty of having these or similar thoughts? Often times family caregivers get lost in the caregiving role and forget to care for themselves, however caring for yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver.Caregivers often report problems attending to their own health and well-being such as:Poor eating habitsFailure to exerciseSleep deprivationFailure to make medical appointments for themselvesFailure to stay in bed when illHow can you keep from losing yourself in the caregiving role?First, you need to identify what is in your way.Do you think it is selfish to put your needs first?Do you struggle with asking for what you need, or do you feel inadequate if you ask for help?Do you feel frightened thinking of your own needs? If so, what is the fear about?Do you feel the need to prove you are worthy of your care recipient’s affection? Does this cause you to do too much, as a result?Once you have established where you stand, you can then begin to move forward and change your behavior and thoughts about caregiving. How can you move forward?Reduce and Manage Personal StressStress reducers can be simple activities such as taking a walk, gardening, coffee with a friend, exercise.Set GoalsSet realistic goals that you would like to accomplish, then work towards them.Seek SolutionsOnce you have identified a problem, take steps toward solving it,Communicate ConstructivelyBeing able to communicate effectively and constructively is very important for caregivers. We have a course entitled “Communication ‘In the Crunch’” that might be of some assistance.Ask for and Accept HelpBe prepared with a mental or physical list of how others can help you, and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are many community resources, professionals, friends and family ready to help.Talk to a PhysicianSpeaking to a physician about your care recipient’s needs is extremely important for caregivers, but speaking to the physician about YOUR needs is equally as important.Begin ExercisingExercise improves endurance, strength, flexibility as well as promotes better sleep, reduces tension and depression and increases energy.Learn from your EmotionsLearn to listen to your emotions and take appropriate action.