How Well Do You Take Care of Yourself?

It is critical that caregivers take care of themselves. The person you care for benefits from your care only if you are available in a nurturing, loving, supportive manner. You can offer this only if you provide yourself with nurturing and support. In the words of James Miller (1993), "The healthiest way to care for another is to care for yourself."

A personal assessment often helps caregivers recognize how well they are currently taking care of themselves. At the same time, caregivers can identify areas of their lives that need some attention. Take a few minutes to assess how well you take care of yourself.

According to your score, how well do you take care of yourself? In what ways are you taking care of yourself? For example, are you eating properly, exercising, or taking care of personal health needs? Can you identify some areas in which you could do a better job of taking care of yourself? What are the consequences if you’re not doing things that contribute to self-care and good health (e.g., physical illness, poor relationships, mental fatigue, boredom, depression, and feelings of emptiness, despair or doubt)?

Use the self-care assessment as a tool to take care of yourself and prevent or recover from burnout. To use this tool:

  • Identify the factors and events over which you have control and can manage.
  • Identify the category in which you would like to do more to take care of yourself, and set specific goals for improvement.
  • Examine your goals. Be realistic.
  • Don't take more responsibility than you need to in the caregiving situation.