Caregivers Need More (Self) Care Than The Average Bear

Are you a Caregiver?

Do you take care of someone else?  Maybe it’s your job, maybe it’s someone you love, maybe it’s a family member?

Do you ever give so much of yourself that you find it hard to take care of yourself?

Unfortunately this is widespread amongst caregivers, but it doesn’t have to be.

Let me first give you some clarity around who a caregiver really is because you may automatically include some but not all of my list.

I’m sure that Nurses came to mind for you, maybe even Doctors.

You could think Nurse’s Aides, Orderlies and maybe a whole bunch of other hospital staffers.

What about Teachers?  Did those come to mind?

Child-care workers for sure.  “Care” is in their name.

What about Clergy members?





Are any of these on your list as well?

My point being this: most of us in some way take care of someone else, but we tend to not take enough care of ourselves.

I could exhaust the list of caregivers, but I won’t.  You already know if you are on the list.

If you are burnt out, exhausted and find you spend so much time taking care of other people that your own body is suffering, then chances are, you are a caregiver.

So what can you do about it?

It’s too simple to just say that you’ll start taking better care of yourself.  That’s just not the way it works.

It’s like saying that you won’t scratch your nose if it itches.  You’ll start out with the best of intentions, but eventually, you’ll give in.

You can’t help it.  If it itches, you’ve just got to scratch it, right?

If someone needs help, then you just have to help them, right?


There’s a very noble trait around a lot of caregivers that centers around love, caring and genuine desire to help other people.

But the problem comes down to those times when you go above and beyond ALL the time.

When you’re always giving, giving, giving and giving some more, eventually you’re going to either run out of steam or you’re going to get yourself sick.

This is exactly the reason why you need to take better care of yourself.

If your job or your role is that of caregiver and you end up sick, injured or just plain old wiped out, then how useful are you going to be?

What kind of care are you going to be able to give anyone?

Worse off, what kind of example are you presenting to those people around you?

You’re saying, in essence, that it’s okay to be a doormat.  It’s okay to be a martyr.  It’s okay to take better care of others than you do yourself.  In fact, it’s better if you do.  See, look at me, I’ve done it and look how much good I’ve done.

Okay, no.  Try again.

Once your body breaks down, you help no one.

Once you get sick, you help no one.

Once you work so hard that you end up burnt out, exhausted and overwhelmed, you help no one.

Your role as a caregiver begins with yourself.

It has to.

Because if it doesn’t, then you end up not doing the thing that you want to do.

So take a step back and really look at what’s going on.

Are you sleeping enough?

Are you eating well?

Do you have time to spend on your personal hygiene?  Did you have enough time to shower?

Have you done anything purely for yourself lately?

If these questions sound funny to you, then ask yourself why.

What did I mean, did you have enough time to shower?

That should be an automatic, of course.

But it’s not always that way.

Step away from your work and step into the type of care that you give others for yourself.

Take time to sleep.  Take time to feed yourself healthy and delicious food.  Take time to get some fresh air, exercise or some type of movement.

Whatever you do, just take time for yourself.

You’ll be a better person, a better caregiver and you’ll be much happier in the long run.

Let me give you a picture to keep in mind.

Imagine that you are a tea cup.

Inside that tea cup is everything that is you.  All of your love, strength, laughter, skills, etc are inside that cup.

When you give out of that cup to others, then you start to deplete what is inside.

If you don’t do anything to refill that cup and you keep giving, then eventually there will be nothing left to give and most importantly, nothing for yourself.

Instead, do things that help you fill your tea cup to the brim and then to overflowing into the saucer below.

And then keep doing things that overfill that tea cup.

When you give to others, give out of the saucer.  Keep giving out of the saucer until there isn’t anything left.

But when you keep doing things that fill you up, things that help you stay happy, healthy and vibrant, that saucer never empties.

Live your life so that you can give to others, but so that you are always full yourself.

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