Marilyn Lopes
Extension Specialist, Family Life Education
Cape Cod Extension
University of Massachusetts

Copyright/Access Information

What do you need to help you be physically and emotionally prepared to meet the challenges of each day? A good night's sleep, a massage, a new hair style, to read a novel, or relax in a bubble bath? Do you usually ignore these needs?

Caregivers often put everyone else's needs first, leaving little time for themselves. This pattern can lead to feelings of exhaustion, frustration, and resentment.

Including yourself on the list of people you care for so well benefits everyone. When you're in a positive frame of mind, it is easier to give to those around you. Researchers have found that when mothers feel good about themselves, their children are more satisfied with life.

Most of our needs can be met with a small investment of time and a few lifestyle changes. Start with a daily self-diagnosis. Ask yourself “How do I feel?” “What do I need?” If you're feeling too numb to know what you need, you might want to try the following:

  • To not hurry
  • To feel attractive
  • To feel competent
  • To take a break from caregiving
  • To relax
  • To catch up with world events
  • To feel loved
  • To feel rested

Ask yourself “What can I do today to please myself?”

  • Get up a few minutes earlier to have a quiet breakfast
  • Start an exercise routine
  • Wear a color that makes you look good
  • Visit the cosmetic counter of a local store
  • Surround yourself with positive people
  • Play a game you enjoy
  • Plant some flowers
  • Ask for a hug when you need one
  • Call a friend
  • Visit a neighbor
  • Read the newspaper
  • Have a nutritious snack
  • Take a walk
  • Listen to a favorite tape
  • Make a list of the things you accomplished today

Starting today, include pleasurable activities in your life. You'll see a positive difference in your ability to deal with the stresses of being a caregiver.

National Network for Child Care – NNCC. Part of CYFERNET, the National Extension Service
Children Youth and Family Educational Research Network. Permission is granted to reproduce
these materials in whole or in part for educational purposes only (not for profit beyond the cost of
reproduction) provided that the author and Network receive acknowledgment and this notice is

Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care – NNCC.
(1993). Take good care of yourself! In M. Lopes (Ed.) CareGiver News
(July, p.4). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Cooperative

Any additions or changes to these materials must be preapproved by the author .

Gretchen May
Tillson House
University of Massachusetts
Box 37605
Amherst, MA 01003-7605
PHONE:: (413) 549-8800
FAX:: (413) 549-6337
E-MAIL:: gmay@coopext.umass.edu

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