If your caregiver for a loved one, it’s easy to find yourself strapped for time. You may be tempted to nix resolutions this year. After all, your plate is already pretty full.

But, hang on just one second.

Family caregivers face a series of health risks including chronic stress and depression. It’s important to remember that in order to help someone else, you need to take care of yourself first – just like in an airplane. A new year is not only a time to establish goals but to partake in habits that will make you a happier, healthier person.

Our team here at McCortney Hospice has gathered 9 caregiver resolutions to consider. Some are easy to complete whereas others may take some time. The real goal is taking that first step that leads to an amazing year of improvement.

Start Delegating

What are some caregiving activities could you use some help with? You may have a superhero mindset, but you simply can’t do it all. We encourage you to write down a list of duties that would be greatly beneficial. That way, whenever someone offers to help, you have that handy list to refer to. If you’re needing help in multiple areas, it might be wise to map our your tasks, assigning to specific people.

Create a Circle of Support

As a caregiver, it can be taxing putting all your energy towards others. While this isn’t a bad thing, you still need to be poured into. Whether it’s family pitching it with meals or McCortney’s monthly Caregiver Brunch, surround yourself with supportive people. You’ll feel your spirits rise in no time.

Remember to Rest

There might not seem like enough hours in the day, but it’s important for you as a caregiver to recharge. Get into a routine where you get 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. It can be difficult switching up sleep cycles so we suggest going to bed 15 minutes earlier, 30 minutes the next night, and so on. You’ll experience more energy, focus and overall well-being.

Take a Visit to the Doctor

As we mentioned earlier, it’s difficult taking care of someone when you’re not feeling well yourself. Make a doctor’s appointment and see if you need to catch up on any shots or screenings. Caregivers often devote themselves to others, sometimes at the expense of their own health. This is why it’s important to make a plan to look after your own physical and mental health.

Use Positive Affirmations

If you’re feeling any guilt or self-doubt in the caregiving service you’re providing, it’s time for positive affirmations. Caregivers can fall into the trap of feeling like they’re not doing enough. Just remember, you’re doing a kind-hearted, selfless service and are doing the best you can.

Engage in a Hobby

Choose one thing you enjoy doing like reading, walking, or listening to music and commit to it for 15 minutes each day. Carving out some time for yourself is essential and provides a refresher for your brain.

Spend Quality Time

It can be easy falling into a routine when you’re a family giver. You’re so busy crossing off tasks that need to be done, that you sometimes miss out on quality time with a loved one. Make appoint of creating lasting memories with them with a weekly activity. It’s a great opportunity to connect and it’s something you (and them) have to look forward to each week. If you need help getting started, here are 25 great questions you can be asking them.

Organize Important Documents

Make sure all papers are in order and discuss how your loved one would like to receive medical treatment. Additionally, document their wishes using an advance care directive and establish a healthcare proxy.

Make Long-Term Care Plans

It’s not a positive topic to think about, but there might come a day when you’re not able to care for your loved one. Whether it’s physical limitations or their symptoms worsen, it can be difficult to handle on your own. Planning ahead allows you to research at your own pace, finding the best solution that fits your loved one’s wishes and needs.

Have you made a new year’s resolution or two? Share yours with us below, we’d love to support you in your goals for 2017.