5 self-care tips for caregivers

By Walgreens Sep 23, 2022 • 6 min

When you’re a caregiver for someone you love, it’s easy to prioritize your loved one’s needs above your own. But that approach can be harmful, to your loved one as well as yourself. As the saying goes, you can’t draw water from an empty well. It’s vitally important that as a caregiver, you take time to fill your own well by taking care of yourself, so you can have the energy to care for your loved one. Here are a few quick self-care tips to help you ease the stress of caregiving.

1. Seek a support system

Caregiving for a loved one is a major life change that your family and friends might not fully understand, which can make you feel isolated. But you’re not alone. Finding a community to support you is a great self-care strategy. To find one, look for both local caregiver communities and communities with experience in your loved one’s particular needs. Talking with a member of your loved one’s healthcare team is a great place to get started.

2. Focus on your sleep

Caregiving is stressful, and when your stress levels are high, your sleep can suffer. You may feel burned out, overwhelmed or worried about your loved one, all of which can make it harder to get a good night’s rest. Without good quality sleep, the next day’s caretaking can feel that much harder.

To help you get to sleep and stay asleep, practice mindfulness and relaxation before bed with soothing podcasts, meditation or yoga. If rest is still out of reach, try a supplement with melatonin. As you get more comfortable in your caregiving role, you may find sleep comes more easily.

Find out more about melatonin.

3. Nourish yourself

The stress and time pressure of caregiving can make it tempting to reach for junk food, but fueling your body with healthy, nutritious meals will give you the stamina you need to care for your loved one. Eat balanced meals with protein, fruits and veggies to make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need.

4. Take care of your skin

When you’re caring for someone else, you will likely be washing your hands more often. However, frequent hand washing can take a toll on your skin, making it dry, irritated and uncomfortable. Use a moisturizing lotion after you wash your hands to help maintain your skin's moisture barrier.

Try Olay Complete.

5. Give yourself an energy boost

If you already have an exercise routine, do your best to maintain it while caregiving. If you didn’t exercise often before, this is a great time to pick up the habit. Exercise can lower stress, improve mood and boost energy, all of which can help you cope with caring for your loved one. Daily exercise is also the perfect time to take a “time out” from caregiving. Listen to your favorite podcast during a run, catch up on your show on the treadmill or lose yourself to your playlist while lifting weights. 

As a caregiver, it can feel like the last thing you have time for is self-care. But taking care of yourself is not just another item on your to-do list. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or burned out, you won’t be able to provide the best care to your loved one. That’s why it’s not only a good idea to take care of yourself, it’s crucial that you do so. Make time every day to practice intentional self-care. You and your loved one deserve it.

Published September 2022.