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Taking Care of Yourself

Caregivers often become exhausted and feel like they’ve lost control over their life – and it’s common to neglect looking after yourself properly while trying to handle both caregiving and your regular daily responsibilities. It’s important to remember that a caregiver cannot possibly be at their best if they’re physically or emotionally drained. When exhausted, you’re more likely to make bad decisions and take your frustrations out on your loved one. In the long run, caregivers who neglect looking after themselves are at a higher risk of experiencing burnout and other health issues.

Your health and well-being is a priority. Not taking care of yourself can result in long-term health problems, depression and anxiety. Be sure to take time for yourself and do the things you enjoy. Try to prioritize what is most important, and put aside what is not in terms of caregiving and your well-being.

Rather than thinking about what lies ahead, one of the most important things you can do for your mental health is to try and live in the moment and take things one day at a time. If you need a break from caregiving, arrange for a professional to come into your home, or consider getting respite care (eg, short stay in a facility) for your loved one.

Recognizing When You’re Burnt Out

The line between “working hard” and “burnt out” varies from person to person. That said, here are some signs that may help you differentiate between the two.

State of Mind 

How it May Express Itself


You refuse to consider the seriousness of the disease: “I know my loved one will get better.”


You’re annoyed by everyone’s questions: “If I have to explain myeloma one more time, I’ll scream.”


You worry constantly about what the future holds and whether you can manage it.


You don’t have the energy to complete daily tasks and constantly fight the urge to lie down.

Lack of Concentration

You are more forgetful than usual, resulting in missed tasks, deadlines and appointments.


You don’t care about engaging in activities that once brought you pleasure and don’t take steps to get together with other people.

General “Bad Feeling”

You can’t remember the last time you felt energetic and positive.