Self-Care Assessment for Caregivers: How Are You Doing?

Last week, I introduced the topic of self-care in the post on stress overload. I believe maintaining self-care is vital to providing quality care for your loved one over a long period of time. Too often, self-care falls to the bottom of the list when it really should be at the top.

So, what is self-care?

Self-care is personal health maintenance. In other words, it’s the steps you take to provide your whole body the care it needs to stay healthy. It’s a healthy focus on your self.

Good self-care can be broken down into four categories:

  1. Physical
  2. Emotional
  3. Spiritual
  4. Relational

When these four areas are maintained you’re able to provide quality care for your loved one without the fear of burning out.

Why should I implement self-care?

Many family caregivers often struggle with the concept of self-care because it seems selfish. Guilt creeps in the moment you leave your loved one’s side because you could have done more. The idea of going for a walk or catching up with a friend seems like a luxury that cannot be afforded when your loved one needs attention.

Yet, it is those few moments set aside for yourself that allow you to continue to provide quality care. Self-care is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.

How do I begin?

Stay tuned to this blog. (You can subscribe in the box below this post.) Over the next four weeks I’ll be breaking down each category with ideas on how to practically implement self-care into your busy life as a family caregiver.

To prepare for this series, start by jotting down how you’re currently caring for your health and what are the areas you think you need to improve. Honestly assess your health in the four categories. Use the following self-care assessment to evaluate how well you implement self-care into your life.


Self-Care Assessment

Please complete the following questionnaire* according to the following:

5= Frequently

4= Occasionally

3= Rarely

2= Never

1= It never occurred to me


Physical Self-Care

____ Eat regularly (e.g. breakfast, lunch and dinner)

____ Eat heathfully

____ Exercise

____ Get regular medical care for prevention

____ Get medical care when needed

____ Take time off when sick

____ Dance, swim, walk, run, play sports, sing, or do some other physical activity that’s fun

____ Get enough sleep

____ Wear clothes you like

____ Take vacations

____ Make time away from telephones


Emotional Self-Care

____ Allow yourself to cry

____ Find things that make you laugh

____ Express your outrage in social action—letters, marches or protests

____ Make time for self-reflection

____ Write in a journal 

____ Read materials unrelated to work

____ Notice your inner experience—listen to your thoughts, judgments, beliefs, attitudes and feelings


Spiritual Self-Care

____ Make time for reflection

____ Spend time with nature

____ Be open to inspiration

____ Be open to not knowing

____ Identify what’s meaningful to you and notice its place in your life

____ Meditate

____ Pray

____ Sing

____ Read the Bible or inspirational literature


Relational Self-Care

____ Spend time with others whose company you enjoy

____ Stay in contact with other important people in your life

____ Practice receiving from others

____ Play with children for personal enjoyment and fulfillment


*Assessment is not exhaustive and has been adapted from Transforming the Pain: A Workbook on Vicarious Traumatization, Saakvitne, Pearlman, & Staff of the TSI/CAAP (Norton, 1996).

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